Rendezvous for Madness hits Toronto

by | Nov 8, 2012 | News

By: Victoria Brown

A scene of King’s Curling, a Norwegian film by Ole Endresen, about a man who must go back into the world of curling to save his mentor.

The  twentieth Rendezvous for Madness film festival hits Toronto Friday with a focus  mental illness and addiction.

“It is an incredible exploration of documentary filmmakers, who have followed the world of mental illness over the last few decades,” said Matthew Hogue, program manager.

The annual event, which  traditionally covers mental illness via a spectrum of documentary and fictional vehicles, will highlight the changing landscape of “madness” in a documentary symposium Sunday.

At its core, the symposium will highlight the connection between film makers, patients and and medical professionals  “and how that relationship has continued to involve and change,” Hogue said.

Hogue, who is in his fifth year with Rendezvous for Madness, said he’s seen the stigma of mental illness begin to fade in Canada.

“Issues on mental illness are prevalent everywhere now, in sport, in school, in the workplace, mental health is now being discussed.”

Donica Brown, membership and training manager of Workman Arts, the Toronto-based mental health company that created Rendezvous for Madness 20 years ago , said feedback from those who have attended past festivals has been bitter sweet .

“Everyone who comes out and is exposed to these films in a panel discussion, they’re all affected in a positive way,” said Brown. “But the bitter side is that I feel we don’t reach as many people as we could all the time.”

Brown said by creating more partnerships the festival would be able to reach more people.

The symposium will include discussions with filmmakers such as Charles Kiselyak, whose film Completely Cuckoo draws connections between his 2010 documentary Asylum  and director Miloš Forman’s  iconic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975).  Both works deal with life in psychiatric hospitals.

The festival runs until Nov.17, with the Documentary Symposium opening from 10a.m.-4p.m. on Sunday, Nov.11 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

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LISTEN: Matthew Hogue talks about film Curling king