Most film festivals in Toronto (outside of TIFF) are catered specifically towards groups, fans, cultures, and topics that people already know they would be interested in before buying their tickets. What makes the Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival so special, is that most people might not even know how much they could benefit or learn from going to it.
Since 1993, Workman Arts has produced a showcase of feature films, shorts, talks, seminars, and symposiums designed to spark a bigger dialogue surrounding mental illness, awareness, empathy, compassion, and education. While many attend the festival (kicking off tonight with opening night gala and heavily buzzed about title Short Term 12 and running through Saturday, November 16th) because they have felt compelled by profession, the knowledge of a loved one’s struggles with mental illness, or their own brain chemistry, it’s one of the few festivals ever year that could ever really be described as being invaluable to the community. Given the recent strides made by various organizations and individuals to break down the stigmas that still largely surround numerous mental illnesses, the festival’s line-up does a fine job every year trying to push the conversation further towards a greater understanding.
Joining the team assembled under Artistic Director and Founder Lisa Brown this year, is new Programming Manager Jeff Wright, who locals might know best as a programmer for Canadian Music Week and the founder of the ReFocus series.
“This year’s line-up has something for just about everyone.” Wright said during a recent chat. “We have dramas, comedies, documentaries, short films, a silent film, a period piece, and even a podcast recording. The diversity in the programming is proof that mental health issues affect people from every walk of life.”
And that’s where we come in. Here’s a look at our thoughts on seven of the films playing this year’s diverse line-up. For more information, a full list of films, showtimes, and other events, please head on over to the festival website.
Rendezvous With Madness 2013
InRealLife (closing night gala)
Short Term 12 (opening night gala)