The 25th Anniversary edition of Rendezvous with Madness, the first and largest mental health film festival in the world, kicks off on Friday. Running from November 3 – 11, 2017, the nine-day festival showcases 16 features and 34 short films from across the globe, including a series of curated short film programs, vital discussions and enlightening exhibitions. This important and provocative festival uses art to investigate and to illuminate the realities and mythologies surrounding mental illness and addiction. 2017 festival venues include the Workman Arts theatre, St. Anne’s Church, and CAMH, and as always screening events will be followed by dynamic talks with filmmakers and experts.

Here are the feature films screening at Rendezvous with Madness:

Mad To Be Normal

Mad to be Normal Robert Mullan, UK, 2017 Opening Night Film
Canadian Premiere
The radical Scottish ‘anti-psychiatrist’ Ronald David Laing, the subject of this compelling dramatic portrait, believed madness was “a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world,” and encouraged those drawn to his treatment – which shunned medication but embraced LSD – to be themselves no matter what mental turbulence might ensue.

Ballad of the Return Gustavo Rosa de Moura, Brazil, 2016
Canadian Premiere
An intimate portrait of the toll taken on a marriage by mental illness. Is it ever possible that only the diagnosed experience it, what about the spouses and family members who must learn to live with it?

The Blood is at the Doorstep Eric Ljung, USA, 2017
International Premiere
In 2014, a 31-year-old schizophrenic black man named Dontre Hamilton was shot fourteen times by Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney. Everyone gets to speak their position in this urgently pertinent documentary about race, mental health and societal sanity.

Dr. Feelgood Eve Marson, USA, 2016
International Premiere
A documentary about Dr. William Hurwitz, who was convicted of over 50 counts of narcotics distribution and was handed a 25-year prison sentence.


Godless Ralitza Petrova, Bulgaria/Denmark/France, 2016
Gana (Irena Ivanova in an award-winning performance) is a public health care worker charged with providing assistance the elderly. But Gana seems to need more help than she can provide, and subsidizes her own pharmaceutical habit by stealing from those dependent on her care. Gana badly wants out. But how? And why is digging a hole for ourselves so much easier than crawling out of it?

I Am Another You Nanfu Wang, USA, 2017
Filmmaker Nanfu Wang meets a charismatic young homeless man named Dylan in Florida. Fascinated by the Mormon-raised drifter’s decision to live on the street, Wang follows Dylan as he hitchhikes, scrounges, begs and maintains a state of perpetual motion.

I Am Not Afraid Fadi Hindash, Netherlands, 2016
North American Premiere
At once intensely intimate and universal, this is the powerful story of a doctor’s intricately complicated relationship with his troubled patient who has struggled with mental illness her entire life, and his decision to assist in her suicide.

Inflame Ceylan Özgün Özçelik, Turkey, 2017
Canadian Premiere
An employee at a TV news station, Hasret has long believed that her parents were killed twenty years ago in a car accident. But then the dreams begin, and with them a gradual unravelling of Hasret’s sense of reality. From the outside, it looks like paranoia, but from the inside, it’s truth assuming a new form.

Nobody Dies Here

Nobody Dies Here Hossein Kondori, Iran, 2016
North American Premiere
A powerful and cinematically suggestive study in the effects of prolonged solitude on the vulnerable mind, Nobody Dies Here speaks to anyone who has ever been left for too long in their own company.

Pushback Matthew Hayes, Canada, 2017
World Premiere
Set during those six months of the year when the warming room shelter isn’t open and refuge is scarce, the film provides an intimate, urgent and unblinking glimpse into the experience – sadly, a universal one – of facing each morning as yet another test of sanity and survival.

Starless Dreams Mehrdad Oskouei, Iran, 2016
At once inextricably rooted in specific cultural circumstances yet speaking to the universal experience of state institutionalization, Starless Dreams is a deeply revealing humane study of the limits of the permissible.

The Girl, the Mother and the Demons Suzanne Osten, Sweden, 2016
Canadian Premiere
Inspired by filmmaker Suzanne Osten’s own childhood experience, The Girl, the Mother and the Demons may seem to cover terrain many films on the family impact of mental illness have already crossed, but with a very significant and illuminating difference: it focuses on the enduring love of a prematurely grownup young girl for the only mother she knows, and the unconditional nature of that bond.

The Light of the Moon

The Light of the Moon Jessica M. Thompson, USA, 2017
Toronto Premiere
For all this culture talk about rape, how often does it really measure its impact? This riveting and illuminating film describes what’s it like to live as a victim, and the turmoil that goes on inside the minds and hearts of those who must live with the experience.

Manic Kalina Bertin, Canada/USA, 2017
Bertin’s father left a legacy of disorder that the filmmaker is determined to confront, understand and account for. Culled significantly from a wealth of home-made archival imagery. True to his ego, Bertin’s father was an inveterate documenter of his own mission. Manic doesn’t make order of chaos, but it does root the chaos firmly in the soil of a long unspoken-of family secret.

The Transfiguration Michael O’Shea, USA, 2016
A fascinating, disturbing and sometimes heartbreaking portrait of an inner city lost boy trying to make his way – via an encounter with an equally dissociated teenage girl – back to ‘normality’.

Holden On Tamlin Hall, USA, 2017, Closing Night Film
International Premiere
With his first feature, filmmaker Tamlin Hall makes a moving dramatic account of a young man living secretly with mental illness. His film is at once a tribute, a study in unchecked mental disorder and a cry for understanding.

A complete list of short films screening with features is available HERE.

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