Matthew Hogue, Program Manager of the Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival, which closes this Saturday, November 12, shoots from the hip when asked why he took the leap four years ago into working for the Festival and the dark subject matter surrounding the human condition that it explores. “A family member has experienced a form of mental illness and as a film maker, that personal relationship and connection has driven me to make films on mental health issues and become associated with Rendezvous With Madness.
Matt’s private admission has confirmed the widely held belief, especially in the mental health and social service communities, and so courageously told in author Henri J.M. Nouwen’s book, The Wounded Healer, that those who have been touched or affected by a debilitating human condition, will more than often pursue careers or professions that assist in healing both themselves and those in need of such.
In its 19th anniversary year, Rendezvous With Madness showcases films and television programs that address and tell the stories of universal mental health and addiction problems.
Do they cover all the bases? “We attempt a wide depiction of mental illness, primarily through character-driven stories, with an emphasis on Canadian films and film makers. On a world-wide level, we are all susceptible to mental illness, sadly affecting an estimated 25% of Canadians. What our festival and film makers strive for is giving hope and the ability, in time, to slowly recover.”
Matt admits that selling the festival to the general public has been, thus far, a successful challenge. “We try to offer a wide spectrum of programming on mental health issues by starting out artistically, through the creative medium of film, the most universally popular and accessible of all the arts, which I feel breaks through all walls and barriers.”
My advice: Get with these programs! How can you resist a film festival with the humorous, catchy slogan: “Films You Will Lose Your Mind Over”. Let’s face it, we are all a few misfired neurons away from mental illness and living on the street, so let’s be grateful, attend and celebrate a most insightful and worthy festival that helps us understand the nature of mental illness, in both its devastating effects and the human capacity to progressively heal both ourselves and our loved ones.
Matt’s advice: Intervention Canada, tonight, Thursday, November 10, 6:30pm at TIFF (King and John Streets), which profiles people whose addictions have brought them to a point of crisis or estranged them from their friends or loved ones. Carnivale of the Mind, Saturday, November 12, 8 pm, at the Workman Arts, 651 Dufferin Street, “A multi-media and totally weird, mysterious journey of the mind.”
For more info to www.rendezvouswithmadness.com