Workman Arts Presents





October 15 – 25, 2020

At a time when mental health issues are at the forefront as the world faces unprecedented anxiety and isolation, today Workman Arts announced the full programming line-up and schedule for the 28th edition of the RENDEZVOUS WITH MADNESS FESTIVAL the largest and longest-running arts festival in the world dedicated to the intersection of mental health and artistic expression.

The 2020 festival will run from October 15 – 25, 2020 showcasing 14 feature films and 4 short programs (for a total of 48 films from 24 countries) in a hybrid format of online and in-person screenings.  As always, the robust film program will be complemented by the thought-provoking post-screening Q&As and panel discussions that have come to define the Rendezvous With Madness experience.

The visual art installation this year, RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE, will be presented at Workman Arts’ long-time home at 651 Dufferin Street with 25 pieces animating the historic space – the largest in the festival’s history.  The live performance work added to the festival three years ago has been integrated into the building-wide activation and will largely be presented virtually this year.

Using art as the entry point to illuminate and investigate the realities and mythologies surrounding mental illness and addiction, Rendezvous With Madness’ 2020 programming equally spotlights the human capacity for endurance in the face a great challenges and isolation. “With the emergence of the global pandemic as well as growing awareness of profound racial and structural inequity, discussions around mental health have been critical as we seek ways to cope, process, and reckon with the changing world around us,” says Workman Arts Executive Director Kelly Straughan. “For almost three decades now, Rendezvous With Madness has offered a window into lived experiences of mental health and addiction as well as an access point into conversation and understanding.  In a year that will be defined by great isolation and divisiveness, we hope audiences will continue to come to the festival to find challenging and inspiring pieces of art, as well as understanding and community.”

Managing Director Scott Miller Berry adds, “Many of the films and pieces of art this year serve as vital reminders of the human capacity to endure, to overcome, and to persevere. There were also a staggering number of films this year connected to the theme of environmental impacts to mental health — whether via relocation, resource extraction or the ongoing harm inflicted on the world’s first peoples and original caretakers. Cinema is the perfect medium to explore these important and challenging issues; we hope the 2020 edition serves as a reminder that we can still connect while apart and continue to find light in these moments.”

The 2020 festival kicks off on October 15th – on the heels of World Mental Health Day – with a limited-capacity in-person screening at Workman Arts (also available online) of JUDY VERSUS CAPITALISM, a reverent and experimental portrait of iconic Canadian feminist activist Judy Rebick by award-winning filmmaker Mike Hoolboom.  A seminal feminist figure known best for her work in the pro-choice movement dating back to the 70’s, Rebick is one of the defining social justice activists in the country.  In 2018, Rebick published the memoir Heroes in my Head, revealing that she had been living with dissociative identity disorder as a result of childhood sexual abuse. Director Mike Hoolboom presents a poignant portrait of Rebick using her own words layered with striking Super-8 footage, contextualized within a stream of consciousness that chronicles Judy’s iconic moments in Canadian history with a lens on her own personal histories and internal landscape. The film will be available online for 48 hours from the 15th – 17thand a post-screening in-person Q&A with director Mike Hoolboom and Judy Rebick will also be live streamed.

Other film highlights in 2020 include NASIR, the sophomore narrative-feature from filmmaker Arun Karthick based on a short story by Dilip Kumar and following a Muslim family man in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, as he navigates the dangerous uprising of Hindu nationalism; the docu-thriller feature documentary THE WORLD IS BRIGHT from Vancouver Director Ying Wang follows the real-life journey of an elderly Chinese couple searching for the truth behind their son’s sudden death in Canada; the North American premiere of the fourth documentary from internationally-acclaimed multidisciplinary artist Hiroshi Sunairi48 YEARS – SILENT DICTATOR, follows former professional boxer Iwao Hakamada who, sentenced to death in 1968 for mass murder was held on death row for 48 years only to be exonerated; SHADOW FLOWERS, is a surprising documentary by Academy Award-winner Seung-jun Yi, following a North Korean woman who unwittingly ended up in South Korea in 2011 and has agonized for the past eight years in seeking permission to return to her beloved homeland and family; from South African filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, comes THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION, a haunted and unsentimental eulogy to land and its containment of community and ancestry set in the stunning landscape of the Lesotho mountains; and the Canadian premiere of the narrative feature VEINS OF THE WORLD (Die Adern der Welt) from Mongolian filmmaker Byambasuren Davaa (director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Story of the Weeping Camel), is a wondrous coming of age tale that describes living in harmony with nature and the financial instabilities of maintaining the traditions of nomadic people.

Closing out the festival is the rare and powerful documentary from Iran, THE UNSEEN. In preparation for visits from foreign dignitaries, authorities in Tehran clear the streets of homeless people, sex workers and drug users, and take them to special detention centers. When the outside world’s eyes are directed elsewhere the men are released to go back out onto the streets, but the women become official state prisoners for life. In Iran, homeless street people are known as “the cardboard box sleepers” and in THE UNSEEN graphic artist and documaker Behzad Nalbandi uses cardboard and stop-motion animation as his medium to tell the stories of five women living in detention.

Short films will screen alongside many features this year and for the fourth consecutive year, IF YOU ASK ME (IYAM) has supported emerging filmmakers with mental health and/or addiction experiences to create new work. This year’s program features eight shorts by filmmakers across Canada: Malaika Athar, Hanna Donato, Manvinder Gill, Kitoko Kasiama, Jae Lew, Claudia Liz, Samyuktha Movva and Shubhi Sahni.

Three other shorts programs run through the festival: MADWOMXN, featuring films the explore the confluence of mental illness and femme identities; QUARANTINE BLUES is a program of short films by Workman Arts’ members that demonstrate the endless bounds of filmmaking as creative outlet; and HINDSIGHT is a special retrospective of National Film Board of Canada shorts that traverse the topic of mental health and addiction within the NFB’s extensive archive.


This year’s visual arts exhibit, RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE, will be staged at Workman Arts’ long-time home at 651 Dufferin Street, in the festival’s last year there before moving into a brand-new facility at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Featuring 25 installations that examine all facets of mental health issues, this legacy exhibit will animate all 11,000 square feet of 651 Dufferin with performance art, installations, theatre, dance, film and media art.  Entry to the physical exhibit will be timed in respect of maintaining social distancing, and virtual tours will also be available.

Exhibit performance project highlights include Michael ‘Piecez’ Prosserman’s Breathe, a filmed dance performance that highlights Breakin’ as an art form with depth, character and history while opening a window into the artist’s experience of anxiety; and Rochelle Richardson’s Queen Latifah Give Me Strength, centered around a woman’s struggle with her identity and the frustration, isolation and raving madness that comes with being a Black woman who must rely on medical professionals to stay alive.

Visual art Installation highlights include Post-Part (Longernin Collective), a room within a room installation that takes inspiration from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” and re-imagines a 19th century-style brocade wallpaper pattern incorporating “hidden” illustrations, collage elements and sensor-triggered audio, to bring to life the experience of postpartum mood disorders; The Anatomy of A Home (Saba Akhtar) is a multi-media installation exploring a person’s relationship to home that invites audiences to walk through a blueprint of a house etched into the floor and to observe the artifacts placed within; and Kara Stone’s Medication Meditation is a single player game about the daily experience of living with mental illness.

Interactive virtual workshops within RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE include Hanan Hazime’s  The Mad Poetry Apothecary where participants will be prescribed writing prompts that encourage mental wellness, create mixed-media poetry postcards and virtually showcase their work. Paul Butler’s The Collage Party serves as a platform for people of all backgrounds and artistic levels to come together in a virtual setting and experience the benefits of exercising their creativity through collage making.

2020’s online format allows for an even more robust schedule of panels and post-screening Q&As. Most film screenings will be followed by a panel discussion or post-screening filmmaker Q&A, the full schedule of which can be found online.

Special panel discussions relating to the RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE exhibition include Literary Balms: the Healing Properties of Art and Text (October 19), a discussion about the restorative power of words, art and performance with artists Hanan Hazime, Alexandra Caprara, Raechel Kula and Moncef Mounir and moderator Andrea Thompson; Spectral Spaces: Re-animating Historical Environs through Current Feminist Discourse (October 20), a discussion about 19th century women who contributed to literature, psychic performances, and notions of maternity with artists Catherine Mellinger, Pazit Cahlon and Megan Moore speaking with moderator Paula John; and Resistant Bodies: The Intersections of Self and Health (October 21), a discussion examining cultural and clinical standardizations of health and its impact on trans, queer, Black and/or disabled bodies, with artists Rochelle Richardson, Vanden Boomen, Ivetta Sunyoung Kang and Sophie Dow.  The master class Too Close For Comfort – Creating an Environment of Care in the Theatre (October 17) features playwright Lorene Stanwick sharing strategies for theatre artists, audiences and performers when dealing with sensitive material.

The RENDEZVOUS WITH MADNESS FESTIVAL is committed to values of inclusivity and accessibility for all guests, staff, volunteers and artists. In line with a commitment to being trauma-informed, each program will offer an active listener to help provide self-care and emotional support. This year’s Virtual Held Spaces are staffed by active listeners who will be available by text, phone and video chat during and after programs, to debrief the programs, offer resources or just talk about your day. Information for accessing virtual support will be available on the website.

ASL translation is being offered for select programs, open captioning is available for all film programs, and live captioning is available for all online Q&As and panels.  Learn more about accessibility initiatives at Rendezvous at

Tickets for RENDEZVOUS WITH MADNESS FESTIVAL events will be available to book beginning September 21st online at or by phone (416-583-4339 Mon-Fri 10 am-4 pm). All tickets for 2020 programming are Pay-What-You-Can and must be booked online in advance.


For complete listings including short films screening with features and post-screening panels and Q&As visit

JUDY VERSUS CAPITALISM (2020) D: Mike Hoolboom / Canada / 63 min
Available to watch online: October 15, 8 PM – October 17, 8 PM
Live screening at 651 Dufferin: October 15, 8 PM

Judy Rebick is a seminal, local Toronto feminist figure on the forefront of the Pro-choice movement in Canada since the 1970s, who went on to head the biggest women’s organization in Canada in the 1990s while wrestling with her own personal triumphs and tragedies. This reverent, experimental portrait of an iconic Toronto figure touches on her struggles with mental health and childhood traumas as she becomes a pivotal figure in Canada’s progressive movements. Director Mike Hoolboom presents a poignant portrait of Rebick using her own words layered with striking Super-8 footage, contextualized within a stream of consciousness that chronicles Judy’s iconic moments in Canadian history with a  lens on her own personal histories and internal landscape. The rhythm of this portrait mimics the ebbs and flows of the effects of mental illness on life while capturing the strength and resilience of an incomparable human in unprecedented times.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Evening with Judy (Live & virtual October 15 following screening)
Join us for our first panel discussion with Judy Versus Capitalism’s director Mike Hoolboom and iconic Canadian feminist, writer, journalist and radical activist Judy Rebick as they discuss Judy Rebick’s lifelong fight for social justice, her own experience with mental health and childhood trauma and Mike Hoolboom’s unconventional approach to documenting his friend’s extraordinary life.

THE SILHOUETTES (2019) D: Afsaneh Salari/ Farsi with English subtitles / Iran / Philippines / 80 min / North American Premiere
Available to watch online: October 14, 6 PM – October 16, 6 PM
Virtual panel: October 16, 6 PM

In 1982, 1.5 million Afghan refugees fled the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan. Leaving behind the war of their home, starting their new lives in Iran, The Silhouettes witnesses a family attempting to make sense of their new reality, which presents its own unique sets of challenges. Touching on the effects of war, trauma, displacement and isolation, we go on a journey with Taghi, one of the younger members of the family. Caught between the confining reality of his people’s place in Iranian society and his desire to return to his continually war-ravaged home in Afghanistan, Taghi begins to explore his future, navigating the familial responsibilities in this increasingly precarious situation. Trapped between his suffocating existence in Iran that is rife with discrimination and stigma, while having to face returning to his homeland, still in the midst of war. What future awaits him in each land?

THE MARRIAGE PROJECT (2020) D: Atieh Attarzadeh, Hesam Eslami/ Farsi with English subtitles / Iran / France / Qatar / 80 min / Ontario Premiere
Available to watch online: October 15,  2:30 PM – October 17, 2:30 PM
Virtual panel: October 17, 2:30 PM

What happens when inpatients of a psychiatric institution are being encouraged to get married to each other and build lives together within the hospital grounds? The Marriage Project, a thematically unique and intriguing Iranian documentary, tells you just that. The film is set almost entirely in Ehsan’s House, a psychiatric facility in southern Tehran housing around 500 patients. With unprecedented access to the hospital’s communal spaces and events, Directors Atieh Attarzadeh and Hesam Eslami chronicle a bold project conducted by the hospital’s director, Dr. Farhad Ramezanejad. Historically, the hospital has always segregated men and women. But Ramezanejad proposes a social experiment – he advocates for patients to form relationships, get married and live as a family within Ehsan’s House. Facing scrutiny from his colleagues and a variety of responses from the patients, Ramezanejad is determined to get the project off the ground. But are Ehsan’s House’s patients ready to get married? And who exactly should decide that?

IYAM (2020) D: Malaika Athar, Hanna Donato, Manvinder Gill, Kitoko Kasiama, Jae Lew, Claudia Liz, Samyuktha Movva, Shubhi Sahni / Films: 90 min / Panel Discussion: 60 min
Available to watch online: October 16,  5 PM – October 18, 5 PM
Virtual panel: October 18, 5 PM

For the fourth consecutive year, If You Ask Me (IYAM) has supported emerging filmmakers with mental health and/or addiction experiences to create new work. This year’s program features eight shorts by filmmakers across Canada: Malaika Athar, Hanna Donato, Manvinder Gill, Kitoko Kasiama, Jae Lew, Claudia Liz, Samyuktha Movva and Shubhi Sahni.

These new films were developed in summer 2020 under the guidance of Gillian Muller and IYAM alumni and mentors Saba Akhtar, Erum Khan and James Knott. Over three months, filmmakers deepened their knowledge of film in the company of peers and industry guests. Rendezvous is excited to screen these distinctly personal works created during an unprecedented time.

NASIR (2020) D: Arun Karthick / Tamil with English subtitles / India / Netherlands / Singapore / 78 min / Toronto Premiere
Available to watch online: October 16, 9 –  11 AM
Available to watch online: October 16, 7 – 9 PM
Virtual panel/Q&A: October 16, 1030 AM; replayed October 16, after 7 PM screening

This gentle portrait from sophomore feature filmmaker Arun Karthick is based on a short story by Dilip Kumar. It follows Nasir, a Muslim family man in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, where Hindu nationalism has taken on more dangerous forms in recent years.  Propaganda constantly booms from loudspeakers everywhere in public spaces. The owner at the textile store where he works makes little effort to hide his contempt for Muslims while customers treat Nasir as a doormat. In the meantime, Nasir starts worrying about his wife and wonders whether he would be better off as a migrant labourer in Abu Dhabi. With equanimous, stunning images of everyday life, Director Karthick brings us fully into Nasir’s prosaic world  Still, off-screen news reports and casual conversations remind us of the violence that hangs in the peripheries.

48 YEARS – SILENT DICTATOR (2018) D: Hiroshi Sunairi / Japanese with English subtitles / Japan/USA / 76 min / North American Premiere
Available to watch online: October 16, 830 PM – October 18, 830 PM
Virtual Q&A: October 18, 8:30 PM

Iwao Hakamada, a former professional boxer was sentenced to death in 1968 for mass murder and held on death row for 48 years, the longest solitary confinement in history. In 2014, Hakamada was granted immediate release after Shizuoka district court found that the evidence against him had been fabricated. One year later, now 79 years old, Mr. Hakamada suffers from prison psychosis. While adjusting to his newfound freedoms, he navigates a labyrinth of delusions within his life’s predicaments. This phenomenal documentary is a sensitive and intimate portrait with a dazzling score by Arto Lindsay (DNA, The Lounge Lizards, Ambitious Lovers) capturing Hakamada’s victorious will against the immeasurable consequences of spending nearly half a century in complete solitude.

WINTER’S YEARNING (2019) D: Sidse Torstholm Larsen, Sturla Pilskog / 2019 / Greenlandic, English, Danish with English Subtitles / Greenland / Denmark / Norway / 75 min / Toronto Premiere
Available to watch online: October 17,  7 PM – October 19, 7 PM
Virtual panel/Q&A: October 19, 7 PM

Winter’s Yearning is an eye-opening portrait documentary of the small fishing town of Maniitsoq, Greenland, which has been selected as the next plant location for US aluminium giant ALCOA. An aluminium plant could provide a useful step towards Greenlandic independence. However, visions of the anticipated windfall fade into a waiting game. Directors Sidse Torstholm Larsen and Sturla Pilskog intertwine the lives of three Maniitsoq residents: a social worker, a young woman and the town’s ‘aluminium coordinator’. Through attentively layering their stories, situations and personal efforts towards self-sufficiency, the atmosphere of a small-town yearning for progression and change is beautifully portrayed.

SHADOW FLOWERS (2019) D: Seung-Jun Yi / Korean with English subtitles / South Korea / 109 min
Available to watch online: October 18,  7 PM – October 20, 7 PM
Virtual panel: October 20, 7 PM

A North Korean housewife, Ryun-hee Kim went to China to receive healthcare only to end up in South Korea trying to pay off her medical debts. Once she was discovered by South Korean authorities, she was alleged of being a North Korean spy and forced to become a South Korean citizen. Separated from her family with no hope of seeing them again, Ryun-hee starts her extensive and harrowing fight to return home. She tries to smuggle herself out of South Korea, first by seeking political asylum and then organizes protests to raise awareness about North Korean citizens trapped in South Korea against their will. Her far-reaching attempts to reunite with her family don’t stand a chance against aggressive propaganda tactics and ongoing complex politics between two countries. After seven years of continuous struggle, Ryun-hee dreads the growing distance between her and her family as their reunion seems far away and improbable.

LES HEURES HEUREUSES (2019) D: Martine Deyres / French with English subtitles / France / Switzerland / Belgium / 77 min / North American Premiere
Available to watch online: October 19,  9 PM – October 21, 9 PM
Live screening followed by live and virtual Q&A: October 21, 7 PM (Panel at 8:45 PM)

In the Saint-Alban psychiatric clinic in France’s Lozère region, they didn’t use straightjackets, solitary confinement or other forms of coercion. Patients moved freely, received ergonomic therapy, worked at a nearby farm and even went on trips with supervisors. During World War II, the institute also housed refugees, including many Jews.

Weaving recently discovered archival materials with current interviews, this captivating documentary presents the instigators of such unconventional approaches between 1936 and the mid-1970s: Spanish Dr. Tosquelles, a communist persecuted by Franco, and his colleague Lucien Bonaffé, both pioneers of ‘institutional psychology’. They emphasized social and cultural activities that supported patients in different ways – a fruitful approach that has since fallen out of favour, but which was also a source of inspiration for surrealists like Paul Éluard, Art Brut pioneer Jean Dubuffet and trailblazer of de-colonisation theories, Frantz Fanon. Although over 45,000 psychiatric patients died in French hospitals between 1939-1945; Les heures heureuses is a testament and urgent appeal to apply courageousness and inventiveness in today’s mental health healing spaces.

MADWOMXN | Shorts Program presented in collaboration with Pleasure Dome
Available to watch online: October 20,  6 PM – October 22,  6 PM
Virtual panel/Q&A: October 22, 6 PM

Women-identified people’s relationship with madness has always been distinct; from the archetypal ‘madwoman in the attic,’ to individual experiences of womxn consumers / survivors / ex-inmates, to the ‘mad’ cultural expectations of femininity in everyday life. Throughout Western history women have been viewed as irrational, their bodies designated as aberrant and posited as the cause of mental disturbances, e.g. hysteria. At the intersections of racialization and transphobia, the confluence of mental illness and femme becomes even more fraught and perilous.

NOCTURNE (2019) D: Gwanjo Jeong / Korean with English subtitles / South Korea / 95 min / Canadian Premiere
Available to watch online: October 20,  9 PM – October 22, 9 PM
Virtual panel/Q&A: October 22, 830 PM

Nocturne is the story of a family. The documentary follows Seong-ho, a young piano virtuoso living with autism. With an extraordinary talent in music, his mother and primary caretaker dedicates her whole life building a career for her son as a professional musician. In contrast, Seong-ho’s younger brother, Gun-ki is relegated to a world of video games and television. Gun-ki’s resentment slowly begins to grow when he is forced to give up his own interest in music to maintain Seong-ho’s spotlight. Moreover, Gun-ki feels like he has been neglected by his mother, who spends most of her time taking care of Seong-ho and trying to advance his career. When the two brothers embark on an independent European trip, the already contentious brotherly relationship crashes into chaos. It also poses some difficult questions: what will happen to Seong-ho if his mother is no longer there? Will Gun-ki have his back, or will his music legacy crumble?

VEINS OF THE WORLD (DIE ADERN DER WELT) (2020) D: Byambasuren Davaa / Mongolian with English subtitles / Germany / Mongolia / 96 min / Canadian Premiere
Available to watch online: October 21,  6 PM – October 23, 6 PM
Virtual panel/Q&A: October 23, 6 PM

Veins of the World is a wondrous coming of age tale that describes living in harmony with nature and the financial instabilities of maintaining the traditions of nomadic people. Amra is 11 years old — and suffers from an eye condition that will blind him in the near future. Growing up in the Mongolian steppe (itself a co-star of this gorgeous landscape film), Amra’s father Erdene is the local leader opposing global companies’ mining and gold extraction. Without intervention, his father’s workshop will soon close, yet despite these challenges Amra still dreams of someday singing on television in Mongolia’s Got Talent. However, the fight against resource exploitation in an unstable environment quickly challenges the young boy’s electric talents. Director Byambasuren Davaa’s (The Story of the Weeping Camel) first fiction feature premiered at the Berlin Film Festival then screened at the Marché du Film Online in Cannes and is a captivating story about family and community challenging the constant march of capitalism and environmental exploitation.

THE FEVER (A FEBRE) (2019) D:Maya Da-Rin / Portuguese / Tukano with English subtitles / Brazil / France / Germany / 98 min
Available to watch online: October 21,  9 PM – October 23, 9 PM
Virtual panel/Q&A: October 23, 8:30 PM

Desana Justino lives in Manaus, a port city in the Amazon rainforest, having left behind his home in the wilderness many years ago. As an Indigenous man, he tries to navigate between the disappearing natural landscape and his own life. His daughter has to decide if she will pursue medical school in Brazil and the potential separation weighs heavy in the air as she worries about her father’s health. Working as a security guard to support his family as seemingly supernatural forces manifest, Da-Rin’s camera intimately captures a man still intensely connected to the land. Justino is a quiet man caught between the old ways of his people and the industrialized ways quickly taking over; juxtaposing images of confining industrial cityscapes over the simple and quiet way of life more in tune with nature. A languid, hypnotic story that both makes his yearning for a simpler and sturdier time palatable and makes us question our place in it.

THE WORLD IS BRIGHT (2019) D:Ying Wang / English and Mandarin with English Subtitles / Canada / 116 min
Available to watch online: October 22,  2 PM – October 24, 2 PM
Virtual panel/Q&A: October 24, 2 PM

The World is Bright follows the real-life journey of an elderly Chinese couple searching for the truth behind their son Shi-Ming’s sudden death in Canada. Shi-Ming was buried before his parents living in Beijing were notified. Over ten years, director Ying Wang documents Shi-Ming’s parents as they enter a long and arduous legal battle to understand how their son – a young Canadian immigrant – could have died. Shi-Ming’s parents are resilient in their search for truth despite language barriers and overly bureaucratic and complex processes they have to endure. The film uses re-enactments and interviews with Shi-Ming’s friends and family to thoroughly examine the intersection of immigration, family expectations and mental health. While attentively portraying the emotional and physical pains Shi-Ming’s parents go through to try and solve this case, The World is Bright exposes some ugly truths about the Canadian immigration system and its treatment of newcomers living with mental health issues.

THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION (2019) D:Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese / Sesotho with English subtitles / Lesotho / South Africa / Italy / 119 min / Ontario Premiere
Available to watch online: October 22,  9 PM – October 24, 9 PM
Live screening following by live and virtual Q&A: October 24, 7 PM

Set in the stunning landscape of the Lesotho mountains, this unique film follows the story of an 80-year-old widow, Mantoa. Mantoa eagerly awaits her son’s return from work in the mines; instead, she learns of his death. Her immense grief is framed within the Provincial decree to relocate her village in order for development of a dam and reservoir, threatening to flood and erase everything that she holds dear. Mantoa takes up a spiritual mantle and fights for the land, community and her desire to bury her child on the land they were raised on. A colourful, heartfelt and personal story full of the strength, history and the power of this lone matriarch in the face of great change. Taking her last stand, Mantoa asserts her way of life, where the living and the dead stand together to bear witness to the changing landscape, making us question the price of progress.

THE UNSEEN / KAGHAZ-PAREH HA (2019) D: Behzad Nalbandi / Farsi with English subtitles / Iran / 62 min / North American Premiere
Available to watch online: October 23,  7 PM – October 25, 7 PM
Virtual panel/Q&A: October 25, 7 PM

In preparation for visits from foreign dignitaries, the authorities in Tehran clear the streets of homeless people, sex workers and drug users. Those who get picked up are taken to special detention centers outside the city. Stripped of their rights, dignity and freedom, the authorities hold them there until the outside world’s eyes are directed elsewhere. Then the men are released to go back out onto the streets. But the women are not: instead, they become official state prisoners for life. First time feature film Director Behzad Nalbandi found ways around the official channels and gained access to one of the women’s prisons, where he used a sound recorder to document the harrowing stories of its inmates. Utilizing original stop-motion animation to illustrate the accounts of violence, humiliation, poverty and addiction, as well as the Director’s own impressions of the bleak detention center. Such inventive animation allows Nalbandi to offer these “invisible” women a platform without exposing their identity. What this powerful five-years-in-the-making documentary does reveal is the grim reality concerning the position of women in Iranian society—and these women in particular.

HINDSIGHT: A National Film Board of Canada Retrospective
Streaming for free on VUCAVU ( from October 13-27, 2020
Virtual panel – This panel is pre-recorded and available for free on the same webpage as the films

A short film retrospective that traverses the topic of mental health and addiction within the National Film Board’s extensive archive. This co-presented program looks back almost seventy years to dynamically highlight a spectrum of stories and filmmaking techniques. Films sampled from the archive include Breakdown (1951), a fictitious film about a seemingly well-adjusted young woman who’s schizophrenic episode has landed her in a modern mental hospital. The Agony of Jimmy Quinlan (1978), a portrait documentary depicting the life of Jimmy Quinlan, one of an estimated 5000men who struggled with addiction in the alleys of late 1970s Montreal. Street Kids (1985), a succession of montaged black and white photographs voiced over to reveal a glance into juvenile prostitution. Nowhere Land (2015), a documentary narrated by Inuit Bonnie Ammaaq and her family tells their faint memories of attempting to live while the government-manufactured community of Igloolik becomes an elegy for Indigenous displacement and mental health. XO RAD MAGIQUE (2019) is an animated video work both psychedelic and hypnotic in nature, that takes you on an abstract journey living with schizophrenia in daily life.

QUARANTINE BLUES: Workman Arts: Recent Member Films 
Streaming for free on VUCAVU ( from 13-27 October 2020
Virtual panel/Q&A: October 16, 4 PM

Featuring Workman Arts Members: Gerald Mackenzie, Brian Demoskoff, Genova, Emily Sweet, Jaene Castrillon and a special quarantine omnibus from the 2020 film class; this imaginative and exciting shorts program showcases the endless bounds of filmmaking as a creative outlet. Together through their willingness to creatively explore their surroundings and even document their daily lives during a global pandemic, these filmmakers prove that the most critical equipment for filmmaking is yourself, your imaginative mind, and your freedom to use both.

RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE, 651 Dufferin Exhibit
Re:Building Resilience features 25 installations that examine all facets of mental health issues. This will be our last festival at 651 Dufferin Street before moving to a brand-new facility at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. What better way to say “good-bye” than to animate all 11,000 square feet with performance art, installations, theatre, dance, film and media art?

Tickets and Viewing Options
Tickets for in-person or virtual viewing are pay what you wish.
Virtual viewing is available throughout the festival.
In-person viewing is a timed-entry ticket. Ticket holders will follow a prescribed path through the exhibition that follows the rules of social distancing.
Please note that there are no tickets available at the door.

Open Hours for In-Person Viewing:
Thursday, October 15 & Friday, October 16: 6-10 PM
Saturday, October 17 & Sunday, October 18: 2-6 PM
Thursday, October 22 & Friday, October 23: 6-10 PM
Saturday, October 24 & Sunday, October 25: 2-6 PM



The first festival of its kind in the world and currently the largest, Rendezvous with Madness was founded in 1993 and is produced each year by Workman Arts. Rendezvous with Madness investigates the facts and mythologies surrounding mental illness and addiction as presented by both Canadian and international filmmakers, Canadian live performance makers, as well as by visual and media-based artists. The festival provides filmmakers, performance makers, and artists with opportunities to exhibit work that may not otherwise be seen; facilitates discussion between artists and audiences on these cinematic and media representations; and increases awareness of, and advocacy for, mental health and addiction issues among the broader public.


For 32 years, Workman Arts’ growing audiences have enjoyed evocative and thought-provoking artistic productions that entertain, educate and challenge public perceptions about mental health and addictions, wellness and recovery. Workman Arts is the longest-running multi-disciplinary arts and mental health organization in North America and our member artists have benefited from exceptional training and educational programs unlike anything offered elsewhere in the world.

In partnership with CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), Workman Arts supports artists living with mental health and/or addictions issues. We work to provide a safe and nurturing environment where artistic projects, professional opportunities and personal and professional networks are developed and fostered.

Founded in 1987 by psychiatric nurse Lisa Brown and guided by the principle that the creative process is integral to the quest for personal and spiritual growth, Workman Arts has grown over the years from a theatre company of eight members to a multidisciplinary arts organization with over 300 member artists. Located in the arts district in west-end Toronto, Workman Arts manages a 220-seat theatre, visual and media arts studios and training facilities and will soon be moving into new facilities at a new building at CAMH .

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