Reception at 5 PM

In person screening — Thursday October 27th at 6:30 PM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema,
506 Bloor Street West

Available across Canada Oct 27, 6:30 PM – 12 midnight ET only;
available across Ontario, Oct 27, 6:30 PM until November 6

Marusya Syroechkovskaya | 2022 | Sweden, Norway, France, Germany | 103 minutes | Russian with English subtitles | Ontario Premiere


On October 27th enjoy Rendezvous With Madness opening night film How To Save A Dead Friend by Marusya Syroechkovskaya.  Filmed over the course of 12 years, this film is a personal cry from the heart and a message from a silenced generation. It is an unbreakable love story existing in a destructible world. Post Film talk featuring the director.

How To Save A Dead Friend, it’s 2005, and Russia is governed by leaders who are keen to uplift their authoritarian dream. Millennial suicides have become omnipresent — a last act of self-will among a generation denied the chance to envision a better future. Marusya, 16, has decided this will be her year to die.

Muzzled by the increasingly autocratic regime of the “Depression Federation,” Marusya decides to join her generation’s suicide statistics by the end of the year. Then, she meets Kimi and an unexpected love story begins between the two millennials caught in the undertow of their oppressive government. Together, Marusya and Kimi film the euphoria, anxiety and despair of their youth, burning the candle at both ends fueled by drugs and music. When Kimi’s addiction threatens to make him fade away forever, Marusya’s camera becomes her last chance to save some part of his fragile soul.

For accessibility How To Save A Dead Friend is also available online via Workman Arts & Cinesend from October 27, 8 PM – 12 AM ET across Canada; October 28 – November 6 in Ontario

Keywords:  Suicide | Addiction | Authoritarianism | Youth | Depression
Genre: Documentary
#RWMFEST #MoreThanRebellion

In person screening — Saturday, November 5th at 4 PM
Camh Auditorium 
1025 Queen Street West, Toronto

Streaming across Canada October 27th to November 6th


Sameena Anis, Mikaela Cordero, Shian Grace, Corinne Langmuir, Gladys Lou, Sanskruti Marathe, Lee Nisar, Esteban Powell, Roberto Santaguida, Agnes Wong |  2022 | Canada | 60 minutes | World Premiere | English 

November 5th at Rendezvous With Madness enjoy an in person screening of recent short films by This year’s If You Ask Me cohort.

For the sixth consecutive year, If You Ask Me (IYAM) has supported emerging filmmakers with lived mental health and/or addiction experiences to create new short works. This year’s program features shorts by filmmakers from across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

These new films were developed from August – October 2022 under the guidance of Roberto Santaguida, along with IYAM alumni Angela Feng, Maud Mostly and Vyom Malhotra serving as mentors. Over the course of three months, filmmakers strengthened their film production skills in the company of peers and industry guests. Rendezvous With Madness is excited to support the production and exhibition of these distinctly personal creative works. 

Equipment rentals and facilities were generously provided by our community sponsor, Trinity Square Video.


The world has changed substantially since If You Ask Me 2021. This year’s cohort of filmmakers adapted their practices to ever-changing social realities. Join the in-person panel discussion to learn how each artist developed their films. 

For accessibility the If You Ask Me shorts program is also available online via Workman Arts & Cinesend from October 27th to November 6th 2022

Keywords: Addiction | Trauma | Mental Health | Youth
Genre: Shorts
#RWMFEST #MoreThanRebellion

A black and white photo ID of a fem presenting person staring into the camera with no smile. On the right, written name "Roberts Elizabeth" in Patient field, signatures and birthdate with a New York address in black typed text at the top right corner.

Streaming across Canada October 27th to November 6th

2021 | Liz Roberts | USA | 23 Minutes | English

Artist spotlight

Rendezvous With Madness is pleased to present the short film Midwaste directed by Liz Roberts available for streaming across Canada from October 27th to November 6th 

Midwaste addresses the Midwest region, midlife, and various notions of wasted. Roberts’ connection to drug subculture is inextricable from her relationship to the camera. She started making Super 8 films as a teen, shooting friends she became intimate with in circles of drug use. Her methods are palpable and relational; retracing her steps, interviewing friends about their memories of the past, and revisiting footage taken at various stages of her youth.


Liz Roberts is running a virtual workshop on Tuesday, November 1 on creating autobiographical films please visit for more details.

Keywords: Artist | Healing | Addiction | Autobiography
Genre: Short
#RWMFEST #MoreThanRebellion

Streaming across Canada October 27th to November 6th

MI VACÍO Y YO | MY EMPTINESS AND I | Adrián Silvestre | 2022 | Spain | 98 minutes | Toronto Premiere | French and Spanish with English Subtitles

Rendezvous With Madness is pleased to present the fabulous fiction film Mi Vacío Y Yo / My Emptiness And I directed by  Adrián Silvestre available for streaming across Canada from October 27th to November 6th. With the film, there is a prerecorded talk about the film with the d moderated by Anna Daliza to enjoy.

“Raphi, young and naive, enjoys writing love poems and dreams about falling in love. She leaves her native France and moves to Barcelona, where she works in a call centre. She struggles with maintaining relationships with boys and what it means to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria.  As a trans woman, Raphi feels the pressure to define and defend herself to anyone who asks but also deals with the social pressures to move forward with irreversible reassignment surgery. Even among her trans support group, Raphi receives mixed messages about needing to love herself exactly as she is … or instead, change her body in order for someone to love her in return. The brutal dating scene is no help as she’s matched with men who see her as more of a sexual novelty than a human being searching for love and connection. Wading through serious doubts and an array of intimate encounters of varying pleasure, Raphi must learn to trust herself and her newfound opportunity of the arts as a means of healing and empowerment. Raw, honest, and thought-provoking, Mi vacío y yo is an intensely intimate journey of self-discovery and acceptance.” —Cleveland International Film Festival

Anna Daliza is an emerging writer, artist and educator, was born in Southwestern Ontario to an Anglo-Canadian father and a Lebanese immigrant mother. She describes her cultural upbringing as a marriage between oil and water. 

Screening with 

The Spiral | María Silvia Esteve | 2022 | Argentina | Spanish with English subtitles 

The Spiral is a dive into a lonely ride, an hypnotic escalation towards childhood, family, and the loneliness of “home”.

Keywords: Dating | Gender Dysphoria | Family | Anxiety | Youth
Genre: Fiction (Feature) Fiction (Short)
#RWMFEST #MoreThanRebellion

Streaming across Canada October 27th to November 6th

Michiel Thomas | 2021 | United States | 91 minutes | English

Rendezvous With Madness is pleased to present the award-winning documentary film Gemmel & Tim directed by Michiel Thomas  available for streaming across Canada from October 27th to November 6th 

In the span of 18 months, two gay Black men died of drug overdoses inside the West Hollywood home of political donor Ed Buck. Yet, it was four years (and many public protests) before a federal jury convicted Buck for his crimes. Writer-director Michiel Thomas’s documentary Gemmel & Tim tells the story of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, the two men who died in Buck’s home under suspicious circumstances.

Throughout the film, their family and friends reminisce about their lives and share the shocking details surrounding their deaths. The film paints a touching portrait of love and regret as friends and family come to grips with the tragic loss of their loved ones. Gemmel & Tim is also a scathing indictment of America’s broken justice system, calling out the blatant racial inequalities persisting decades after the abolition of Jim Crow.

Screening with

Lay Me By The Shore | David Findlay | 2022 | Canada | 18 minutes | English

Introducing a young cast of first-time actors, Lay Me by the Shore follows a week in the life of Noah, a high school senior in his final days of school as he comes to terms with his best friend’s passing. Bathed in the warm light of long June days and with the intimidating spectre of an unknown future looming, the tale is told from the perspective of the recently departed. Through the prism of grief, the film highlights the raw and potent emotions of youth.

Keywords: Addictions | Racism | Class | Overdose | Trauma
Genre: Documentary (feature) Documentary (short)
#RWMFEST #MoreThanRebellion

The Flin Flon Cowboy Cabaret

The Flin Flon Cowboy Cabaret

  • Saturday October 29, 5 PM;
  • Tuesday November 1, 7 PM;
  • Thursday November 3, 7 PM

CAMH Auditorium, 1025 Queen Street W
Toronto, Ontario

Flin Flon Cowboy Collective / 2022 / English / Canada / 60 minutes

The Flin Flon Cowboy is a new musical created and performed by Ken Harrower. This cabaret  presentation centres around Ken’s life, his mysterious origins in Flin Flon, Manitoba, his experiences as a child with a disability in the Winnipeg foster care system, and his adventures in Toronto searching for connections in the gay community while creating a life as an artist. The story touches on issues of consent, sexuality, queerness, mental health, addiction, forgiving others and one’s self, and moving forward with accountability. Ken shares his experience with addiction and mental health with honesty, integrity and grit. He does not shy away from the dark and difficulties that come with being a gay disabled person navigating this world.

Ken Harrower is an award-winning film and theatre actor. His recent work includes Boys in Chairs (Summerworks – Winner of the John Kaplan Spotlight Award) and What Dream it Was (Dora nomination – Outstanding Ensemble 2017). He starred in the short film Hole (Canadian Screen Award 2015) and Luk’ Luk’i (TIFF 2017 – Winner of Best Canadian First Feature). Ken graduated from The Toronto Film School and has collaborated with ARTS4ALL and Jumblies Theatre as an actor and choir member. Ken identifies as a member of the disabled community and the LGBTQ community, advocating for equal rights and freedoms for those communities.

Created and Performed by Ken Harrower
Written by Ken Harrower and Erin Brandenburg
Music by Ken Harrower and Johnny Spence
Narrated by Xavier Lopez * appears courtesy of CAEA
Directed by Erin Brandenburg
Musical Direction by Johnny Spence
Dramaturgy by Debbie Patterson
Lighting Design by Echo Zhou
Set/Costume Design by Michelle Tracey
Additional Set Design Elements by Sonja Rainey
Sound Design by Johnny Spence
Stage Management by Nazerah Carlisle
Video Design by Kejd Kuqo
Swearing / Mature language
Sexual Content
Keywords: Addiction | Disability | Depression | LGBT2S+ | Suicide
There will be a talkback following each performance.
#RWMFest #MoreThanRebellion



Support Image for True
  • October 29 - 30; November 1 - 2; November 4 -5 - 8 PM

CAMH Auditorium, 1025 Queen Street W
Toronto, Ontario

Rosa Laborde / 2021 / English / Canada

On the anniversary of their mother’s death, three sisters are hurtled back in time when their estranged father shows up with a note stating he has Alzheimer’s. Roy hasn’t seen his daughters Anita, Cece and Marie, in years and it’s a visit that is not entirely welcome. But the present Roy is quite unlike the father they remember. This Roy is affable, sensitive, funny, emotional and loving – in total contrast to the unpredictable, often drunk and abusive father of their memories. As they open to the possibility of having him in their lives they are continuously jarred by the sudden trips into the past they are forced into due to his neurological condition. Marie’s husband, Franco, a former professional musician and all-around dilettante, expounds particle theory while playing Mozart and posits the possibility that restructuring their fractured memories could alter the future from that point forward. What follows is a rapid-fire ride through past and present that illuminates the unreliable nature of memory and how the stories we hang onto define us until the moment we let them go. Inspired by King Lear, memory loss in an aging father, the cost of speaking one’s truth, the devastation addiction can wreak on a family, Ikebana flower arranging, piano prodigies and the multiverse theory known as Daughter Universes, the play explores the possibility that rewriting our memories can alter the past and ergo change the future. It is a playful, poignant and piercing look into the nature of memory.


Keywords: Addiction | Alcoholism | Depression | Family | Trauma
There will be a 15 minute Q&A with the cast following each performance.
Toronto Fringe Logo



Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers / 2021 / English / Canada / 124 mins

Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy chronicles the impact of the opioid crisis on Indigenous community. Tailfeathers focuses on Alberta’s Kainai First Nation, where her mother, Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, works tirelessly to support and educate families affected by the overdose epidemic. The film presents viewers with a series of first-hand accounts from local first responders, healthcare professionals, and people with substance-use disorder.

Kímmapiiyipitssini is a Blackfoot word for empathy and kindness. The Meaning of Empathy explains why embracing this practice is critical to combating addictions. Criminalizing drug use does not address the root problem; a legacy of colonialism and intergenerational trauma inflicted by racist government policies. The film reveals the merits of this new approach, even as it faces resistance from conservative policymakers. Tailfeathers has crafted one of the year’s most powerful films, chronicling the Kainai First Nation’s struggles, while honouring their strength and resilience.


Amar Chebib| 2020 | Canada | English | 16 min
Joe Buffalo is a prolific Indigenous skateboarder. He’s also a survivor of Canada’s notorious Indian Residential School system. Following a traumatic childhood and decades of addiction, Joe must face his inner demons to realize his dream of turning pro.



Join us at 8:30 pm ET for a live Zoom panel discussion featuring Dr. Tailfeathers and Lori Eagle Plume, who will discuss the idea of empathy being a powerful tool for combatting addiction; conversation moderated by Alexandra Lazarowich.

Alexandra Lazarowich is an award-winning Cree filmmaker from northern Alberta. Her short film Fast Horse was honoured with The Special Jury Prize for Directing at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Her body of work as director and producer includes LAKE, Indian Rights for Indian Women, Cree Code Talker and Empty Metal. She is the series producer for the CBC’s multi-award-winning comedy documentary series Still Standing and is one of the co-founders of COUSIN Collective.


Keywords: Addiction | Displacement | Harm reduction | Healthcare | Indigenous rights | Trauma
Thursday October 28th
5pm (in-person) 
IN-PERSON SCREENING and panel discussion + AMPLIFY
October 28
VIRTUAL SCREENING and panel discussion
October 28 – November 7
Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction
Imagine Native
"Opening Film."



Oct 29 – Nov 7 available across Canada

October 30th, 7:30 PM ET


Jessica Earnshaw / 2020 / English / USA / 105 mins / Canadian Premiere

Filmed over the course of three years, this documentary begins at the Maine Correctional Center where Jacinta, 26, and her mother Rosemary, 46, are incarcerated together, both recovering from drug addictions. As a child, Jacinta became entangled in her mother’s world of drugs and crime and has followed her in and out of the system since she was a teenager. This time, as Jacinta is released from prison, she hopes to maintain her sobriety and reconnect with her own daughter, Caylynn, 10, who lives with her paternal grandparents. Despite her desire to rebuild her life for her daughter, Jacinta continually struggles against the forces that first led to her addiction. With unparalleled access and a gripping vérité approach, director Jessica Earnshaw paints a deeply intimate portrait of mothers and daughters and the effects of trauma over generations.


Conor McNally | 2020 | Canada | 5 min | English
How does prolonged confinement shape our experience of time? Filmmaker Conor McNally explores the question in the company of his brother Riley, a young man who’s learning to cope with a new—yet strangely familiar—reality.



JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Q&A with Jessica Earnshaw

Join us at 7:30 PM ET on October 30th for a live Zoom Q & A with the director of Jacinta, Jessica Earnshaw.
Conversation moderated by Orev Reena Katz.
Orev’s prison practice centred around harm reduction, mental health support and trauma-informed care. As a queer Chaplain, Orev has been blessed to work with all kinds of fabulous, spiritual people, and to support 2SLGBTQQIA people of all sexual and gender expressions in their particular struggles on The Inside. See for details.
Keywords: Addiction | Family | Generational Trauma | Prison Industrial Complex
Elizabeth Fry Toronto



Oct 29 – Nov 7 available across Canada

Tues, Nov 2, 8 PM ET


ASL and Open Captions

Haiena / 2020 / Japanese with English subtitles / Japan / 63 mins / North American Premiere

Winner of the Cinema Fan Award at the 2020 PIA Film Festival at the National Film Archive of Japan, Luginsky is an incredibly unique animated film replete with early and modern computer graphics, still photography and a collage of cut-outs, which are dizzyingly utilized to maximum effect to tell a story which seems as delirious as the protagonist. The main character of the film is named Deerman, whose head is a deer and who recently endured an accident resulting in chronic hallucinations. Deerman has recently lost his job, and in a series of events that led him to become reliant on alcohol, frequently is beaten up as a result of his drunken behaviours. His addiction takes an even worse turn when he stumbles upon a panther-barmanpriest who creates a forbidden cocktail for Deerman designed by an ex-boxer named Luginsky that alters his life even further with so-called reality and fantasy dancing in unprecedented ways. A most unique film of fantastical visions you won’t soon forget.

Please join film artist Haiena for a virtual Q&A to discuss his experience creating the unique
animated reality of Luginsky. The discussion will be moderated by animator animator Jeff Chiba
Stearns with Japanese to English interpretation, ASL interpretation and captioning.


Keywords: Addictions | Alcoholism | Animation | Class | Surrealism