This is one of my favourite film festivals in Toronto. I've been attending for 15 years and never once have I been disappointed. It's most definitely worth attending and supporting this amazing endeavour. I'm going to really miss the theatre at CAMH, but looking forward to seeing the new digs over at 651 Dufferin Street. Enjoy!
About the festival
MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION are fundamental parts of our human experience and they have always been difficult to present and discuss in the public arena. Fear and stigma routinely make accurate representations and presentations next to impossible.
The vehicle through which mental illness and addiction are most often presented publicly is mainstream film. Through these films the public can, in most instances, sit back and watch from a safe distance. Audiences are secure in the belief that they are watching the experiences of others and remain divorced from the realities of society.
Film can also enable new and established artists to visually explore ideas and express stories of mental illness and addiction in ways that are nearly impossible in other artistic media. The technical freedom of film allows for these artists to challenge perceptions of reality and to express the truth of mental illness and addiction.
RWM explores these cinematic representations and hosts panel discussions after each screening. The films are the art, the discussion gives them perspective.
Opening Night - Thursday November 5th
Celebrate the premiere of the 17th Annual Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival. The classical theme of Canadian premiere Clara is accompanied by performances from pianist Yuval Fichman and continued with an evening of intimate conversation between him and Dr. David Goldbloom, senior medical advisor, education and public affairs, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Afterwards, everyone is invited to view the inSANITY installation; a hot topic of conversation featured at this year’s Nuit Blanche, and enjoy music provided by one of Workman Arts’ own musicians, Faeghan. This event is the first of many planned at Workman Arts’ new home, 651 Dufferin St.
Fichman will perform the last two etudes of Schumann’s piano landmark, Symphonic Etudes, in addition to the famous Traumerei from Scenes from Childhood to celebrate the festival opening. He has performed as a soloist with most of the major orchestras in Canada and the United States, and travelled internationally as a guest soloist with the Montreal and Vancouver symphonies. Fichman has also performed for several movie soundtracks including Don McKeller’s Last Night, Francois Girard’s 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould and Larry Weinstein’s Beethoven’s Hair.
Helma Sanders-Brahms, director of Clara, is the most critically acclaimed and highly awarded female voice of New German Cinema. She presents a tale of passion, betrayal and redemption in her astounding biopic of Clara Schumann. A brilliant musician and composer in her own right, Clara is content to stay in the background and support the delicate genius of her husband Robert Schumann; that is until the younger and equally brilliant Johannes Brahms enters their lives as his protégé.
Faeghan, a member of Workman Arts for more than four years, is a multi-disciplinary artist who enjoys music, visual arts, expressive movement and performance. She is happy to return to her first love – the piano – in celebration of 2009’s Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival.
Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival (RWM) presents award-winning comedian Mike MacDonald on Saturday November 7, 2009 at 8 p.m. at Workman Hall, 651 Dufferin St. Tickets are priced at $10 for show only and $15 for the Crazy Comedy package for show plus “Laugh a Little” screening at 6 p.m., and are available by calling 416.583.4339 ext.7. MacDonald will be replacing “Big Daddy” Tazz and all tickets will be honoured.
Comedian Mike MacDonald, considered one of the top funny men in all of Canada, understands the power of laughter. In addition to his successful and well-received live performances all over North America, Mike has appeared on numerous TV shows including Late Night with David Letterman, The Arsenio Hall Show, Just For Laughs, Showtime’s Comedy Club All-Star Show, A&E’s An Evening at the Improv and Comedy Central’s The A List.
Mike has hosted both the Gemini Awards and the Just For Laughs 10th Anniversary Special for CBC, and starred in the sitcom Mosquito Lake. He has also starred in three well-received and critically acclaimed specials for CBC and for Showtime. His first special, Mike MacDonald: On Target was the first one-hour prime-time special by a stand-up comic in the history of the CBC. His next special, My House! My Rules!!, was nominated for two Gemini Awards and two Ace Awards. His third Showtime special, Happy as I can be, achieved a number-one rating when it aired on prime time on CBC.
“God’s favourite humour is irony, and what a more perfect mental health issue for a Canadian than bi-polar,” says MacDonald of his performance at this year’s festival.
“What is the relationship between madness and comedy?”, “Why do comedians venerate the mentally ill?”, “Is laughter an effective therapy?”, “What about the high suicide rate among comics?”, “If comedians were ‘well-adjusted’ would they be funny?”, “How does comedy in pop culture appropriate the language of madness and does it trivialize it?”
In a conversation between Mark Breslin, founder of Yuk Yuk’s and Dr. Joel Jeffries, these topics and more will be examined in an intimate and exciting discussion, followed by a performance by Mike MacDonald. Afterwards, all three will join to continue the discussion on health and humour, welcoming questions and comments from the audience.
About the Presenter
Workman Arts (WA) is a not-for-profit multidisciplinary arts organization that supports individuals who receive mental health and addictions services in their artistic pursuits and promotes a greater understanding of mental health and addiction issues through various artistic media.
Since its incorporation in 1991, WA has produced more than 38 original new Canadian plays, 16 Rendezvous with Madness Film Festivals, 9 Annual Being Scene Art Exhibitions, 4 multi-disciplinary festivals and 1 international festival. WA has formed partnerships with well over 100 organizations within Toronto, across the country and around the world.
The company has a current membership base of approximately 250 member artists to whom it offers year round arts training opportunities. WA members have presented their work in a variety of venues such as the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Second City, the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario Suites, Harbourfront Centre, the Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, and the Pumphouse Theatre in Muenster, Germany.
Workman Arts / Rendezvous with Madness
651 Dufferin St.
Toronto, On, Canada
Phone: (416) 583-4339
Box Office: (416) 583-4606