Noella Luka’s riveting autobiographical documentary deftly explores the grief of dreams diverted by a bipolar diagnosis and the vulnerability of searching for the right support and community while navigating new and difficult life changes. Her plans to live and work in film abroad are cut short by her initial hospitalization, and she returns home to Kenya where mental health issues remain strictly taboo. Once there, she decides to document and dig into the how and why of her condition, running up against tradition, prejudice, and uncertainty, which makes even discussing the subject of illness uncomfortable for both family and friends. With a lack of references to guide them, those close to her are truly unsure of what this shift in circumstance really means. Undaunted, Luka looks for further understanding and a sense of community in a mental health support group, where she befriends newly diagnosed schizophrenic Nick–a man who recently returned home from Colombia after putting an end to his quest to become a Catholic priest. Through Nick, viewers are given a unique and disturbing opportunity to observe how certain mental illnesses are still viewed and treated, even in the 21st century. In exploring their unique situations, Luka gives voice to all those navigating the often uncharted waters of mental health–for those both with and without support systems in place–and offers a truly inspiring story of hope, change and possibility.

Screening with Short Film

Katanga Nation | Beza Hailu Lemma, Hiwot Admasu Getaneh | Ethiopia, South Africa | Doc | 2022 | 26 minutes | Amharic with English Subtitles 

Enkehone, naive but ambitious and from rural Ethiopia, lives in a hostel in the bustling neighborhood of Katanga. His host, Amele, lives in the back room of the dorms she rents out. As the path to his dreams unfold in uncertainty, Enkehone witnesses the raw, chaotic, and captivating life of his host family and their community in the last days of Katanga before it is engulfed by the monstrous construction of Addis Ababa.

November 6 - 12, 2023

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The things we carry with us size 2 (1)

Twinkle Banerjee

The things we carry with us is a mixed media installation that explores the life of the artist’s grandmother, who experienced displacement as a child when India was partitioned as the British exited India. What the artist’s grandmother saw or experienced was never discussed but the signs of her trauma remained. The family went through much emotional upheaval as a result and shaped the artist’s anxieties as her grandmother remained the artist’s caregiver for most of her childhood.

The things we carry with us explores coping mechanisms we pick up as children to survive. And, in practice, it can take a very long time to come to terms with our realities and sometimes we never do; we live behind a net seeing and experiencing the world differently, and that becomes the only world we know.

Twinkle Banerjee (she/her) is an Indian-Canadian visual artist, who explores work that deals with social issues such as generational trauma, globalization and human rights. Understanding the pressure put on BIPOC artists for creating trauma-related work, she also tries balancing her work with introspective experiments with a focus on poetic imagery.

Twinkle has exhibited in the USA, Canada, the UK and Armenia, been published in Berlin and featured on CBC. In 2021 her artwork “Characters of Memorial Park” was part of an exhibition and publication at the ICP-New York.

Artist website:  twinklebanerjee.com

Keywords: Activism | BIPOC Experience | Bipolar Disorder(s) | Trauma | CPTSD Generational Trauma

#RWMFest #MoreThanRebellion

This year, the exhibition in the Rendezvous With Madness Festival will be presented in-person throughout the festival from October 27 to November 6.


The exhibition is held at Workman Arts Offsite Gallery, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Unit 302, Toronto. 



October 27 to November 6, 12 – 6 PM.



October 29, 1-4 PM, Talk at 2:30 PM

After the opening reception, engage with the artists of kind renderings as they delve into their work and  practice.


Please join us for a guided tour on Thursday, November 3 at 5 PM 


If in-person access is a barrier, please contact Raine Laurent-Eugene at raine_lauenteguene@workmanarts.com.


Visit the Accessibility page for further festival information and wayfinding.


In person screening — Saturday, November 5th at 7 PM
Camh Auditorium 
1025 Queen Street West, Toronto

Streaming across Canada October 27th to November 6th


Luke Galati | 2022 | Canada | 57 Minutes | English | 

Saturday, November 5th at Rendezvous With Madness come enjoy an in-person screening of the film When We Reach Out, Who Will Respond directed by Luke Galati.

After the film, stay for a dynamic conversation about police brutality and mental health crisis response as it relates to the city of Toronto and its community.

Featured speakers: Luke Galati, activist Desmond Cole, Director & Principal Consultant at Policing-Free Schools Andrea Vásquez Jiménez and the manager of the Toronto Community Crisis Service pilot at Gerstein Crisis Centre Andrea Westbrook; conversation moderated by Asante Haughton.

Toronto filmmaker Luke Galati’s documentary When We Reach Out, Who Should Respond? was born out of a tense interaction he had with police during a bipolar episode. In the documentary, he follows his own mental health journey in an effort to change emergency response and to end mental illness stigma.  

The film spotlights the Toronto Community Crisis Service, a pilot service responding to mental health-related calls with nurses and crisis workers, rather than police officers. When We Reach Out, Who Should Respond?  examines the need for alternative crisis response models through a series of interviews with politicians, activists, and crisis workers advocating for change. Galati’s thoughtful documentary invites audiences to engage in a necessary conversation about compassionate alternatives to police intervention during a mental health crisis.

Screening with
Hanging On | Alfie Barker | 2021 | United Kingdom | 16 minutes | English
A creative documentary spotlighting the strength of a community united when faced with eviction.

For accessibility When We Reach Out, Who Will Respond is also available online via Workman Arts & Cinesend from October 27th to November 6th 2022

Keywords: Police Violence | Bipolar Disorder | Systemic Racism | Class
Genre: Documentary (feature) Documentary (short)
#RWMFEST #MoreThanRebellion

Streaming across Canada October 27th to November 6th

Vibe Mogensen | 2021 | Denmark | 52 minutes | Danish with English subtitles | North American Premiere

Rendezvous With Madness is pleased to present the extraordinary documentary film Love Bound: When Your Child Becomes Mentally Ill directed by Vibe Mogensen available for streaming across Canada from October 27th to November 6th 

Director Vibe Mogensen’s documentary, Love Bound: When Your Child Becomes Mentally Ill takes viewers behind closed doors to experience intimate group therapy sessions for empathic and stressed parents. Many of the caregivers featured in the film have children who will require specialized care throughout their entire lives. The parents struggle to maintain their own health, careers and social lives while meeting their kids’ unique needs – schizophrenia, ADHD, bipolar disorder and suicidal ideation.

This revealing documentary is uplifting, heartbreaking and unapologetically honest. Love Bound: When Your Child Becomes Mentally Ill delivers a touching reminder of what the superhuman levels of inner strength people are capable of when they have others to lean on.

Screening with

Ousmane | Jorge Camarotti | 2021 | Canada | 25 minutes | French with English Subtitles

Ousmane, a newly arrived immigrant living in Montreal, faces a challenging situation when he meets an elderly disoriented woman at the end of his workday.

Keywords: Suicide | Schizophrenia | Bipolar Disorder | Caregiver
Genre: Documentary 
#RWMFEST #MoreThanRebellion



Three video stills ontop of blueprints and maps

Saroja Ponnambalam & Rupali Morzaria

How can we create our own architectures of liberation? How we cared (3-channel video installation) is a return to Pandi Kumaraswamy’s archives, reinterpreting the multiple systems of care in his life, over which he had varying levels of autonomy. This expanded schematic of forced care, natural forms of care and creative care. The three sites operate within a fluid and undetermined ecosystem spanning the healthcare/medical world to the spiritual/natural based on family experiences. The schematic attempts to move away from finite solutions to healing medically diagnosed disorders. It prompts viewers to take a step back from conventional architectural practices that use speculative methods to conjure up imaginary built environments for those receiving mental health care.

Saroja Ponnambalam is an Ontario-based filmmaker. Her art practice involves working with a variety of documentary mediums – animation, photographs, family video archives and interviews. Her more recent work explores intergenerational mental health experiences through an intersectional lens.

Rupali Morzaria is a designer and film programmer currently based in Tiohti:áke/ Montreal. She is moved by storytelling and movement—in film, dance, and advertising—and uses design as a way to indulge in this fascination. Her work is based in traditional forms of print media and finding new forms of expression within contemporary media arts.


Keywords: BIPOC Experience | Bipolar Disorder(s)| Depression | Family | Psychiatry

CAMH (ground floor window)
1025 Queen Street West
Oct 28 – Nov 7

This piece has an audio component that will need to be accessed through a personal mobile/cellular device onsite. If data is unavailable, access to Wi-Fi is available upon request.

Headphones/earphones are also recommended to bring to experience this installation, though not necessary if mobile/cellular device has a speaker. Workman Arts will have extra headphones available onsite upon request.

If accessing this in-person installation is a barrier and to find out alternate ways to experience this piece, please contact Paulina Wiszowata at paulina_wiszowata@workmanarts.com or at 416-583-4339 ext 6. 

Sun, Nov 7, 1 PM ET

Join artist Saroja Ponnambalam for a virtual workshop that responds to MOCA’s GTA21 exhibition.


Made with funding support from Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council

Toronto Arts Council - Funded by the City of Toronto
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یعضوم یسح یب (NUMBNESS)

یعضوم یسح یب (NUMBNESS)

Woman and man look through window

Oct 29 – Nov 7 available across Canada


Hossein Mahkam / 2020 / Farsi with English Subtitles / Iran / 75 mins / North American Premiere

زمانيكه مارى (باران كوثري) خواهر جالل (حبيب رضائي) كه دچار بيماري دو قطبي است مخفيانه با قمارباز قهار و
معتاد (پارسا پيروزفر) ازدواج ميكند،به پيچيدگي روابط خواهر و برادر كه همخانه بودند بسيار ميفزايد. جالل اهل كار
نيست و ترجيح ميدهد كه از اندوخته مالي پدرش روزگار خود را بگذاراند، او مايل است كه زمان آزادش را صرف سر
در آوردن از زندگي خواهرش كند. جالل كه از ازدواج مخفيانه مارى عصبانى است، وسائلش را جمع و شبانه خانه را
.ترك ميكند. حوادث پيش رويش هر يك عجيب تر از ديگرى

درام “بى حسى موضعى” حسين ماهكامى مطالعه شخصيت هايى را كه با اعتياد، ، وابستگي چندگانه، و بيماري دو قطبى
دست بگريبانند به تصوير ميكشد. فيلم همچنين عالقه تماشاگر را به تعقيب اين شخصيت هاى قابل مطالعه در طول فيلم بر
مى انگيزاند. نقش بازيگران كه همگى فضاهاى بازيگري خود را ماهرانه ارائه ميكنند ناشى از تصاوير پر رنگ آنها در
فيلمنامه ايست كه با مهارت و بصورت بسيار ملموسي جايگاه هر يك را با طرافت و دقت تنظيم نموده است

When Jalal’s (Habib Rezaei) sister with bipolar disorder Mary (Baran Kosari) secretly marries a dashing gambling addict (Parsa Pirouzfar), it complicates the sibling’s uneasy living arrangement. Jalal refuses to work, preferring to live off his father’s savings, and uses his free time to pry into Mary’s relationships. Upset by Mary’s secret marriage, Jalal packs up and heads out into the night, where he finds himself in one strange encounter after the next.

Hossein Mahkam’s dramedy Numbness is a vibrant character study tackling addiction, co-dependence, and bipolar disorder with levity. It’s also a lively movie allowing you to savour each and every moment with these dynamic characters. The entire cast delivers strong performances, thanks to an incisive script that grounds its larger-than-life characters in all-too-relatable feelings.

Sarah Trad | 2020 | USA | 6 min | Arabic with English subtitles
Clench My Fists is a found-footage collage video that explores the process of growing up in an Iranian family deeply affected by death and grief.


Keywords: Bipolar Disorder | Contemporary | Existentialism | Night walks | Siblings
Intercultural Iranian Canadian Resource Centre

Jo, Don't Go There

Jo, Don't Go There

a note from Oliver Jane, Creator of Jo Don’t Go There

Sometimes the “show must not go on” and that’s ok.

When I made the decision to not move forward with my piece Jo Don’t Go There in Rendezvous with Madness 2020, I was encouraged by my friend and contact at Workman Arts to write a short reflection for all of you in lieu of the show. Here you will find some rambling, musing, and reflecting. Thank you for taking a brief moment to reflect with me.

When I agreed to move forward with the project several months ago, I was excited by the challenge of transferring my live performance pieces to video web content. Unfortunately, I found that meeting the demands of a precarious/always changing pandemic environment made completing the project difficult. I am an artist that lives with chronic pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, PTSD symptoms, and OCD symptoms. The greatest lesson I have learned from managing all of these is that I should not go beyond my limits. Unfortunately, working in solo-isolation and not having funding to adequately compensate others to do the much-needed-tasks to make this project show-ready was bringing me close to my limits.

Since I made the choice to pause the show, the phrase “the show must go on” has been echoing through my mind. Upon reflecting on the nagging presence of this phrase within my mind, I recall that I have, almost exclusively, operated within creative environments where that sentence is espoused. I have worked in so many creative environments where the expectation to see a show to its completion is demanded of artists, producers, and production teams: no matter the cost. My years training to be an artist and working professionally have been colored by watching many friends and colleagues sacrifice their physical and mental health to see work to its completion. For many years I have wondered if creative communities should let go of the phrase “the show much go on” and refrain from normalizing the practice of sacrificing physical and mental wellness amongst artists. What I have witnessed in theatre schools and amongst theatre makers has made me consciously attempt to avoid working myself beyond my limits so that I do not worsen my already-sometimes-very-challenging health.

So I say once again, to comfort myself and to encourage those who find themselves also facing projects, businesses, and plans that need to be put on pause, closed, or canceled as a result of the pandemic: “the show must not go on” and that’s ok.

I’d like to offer gratitude to the team who has assisted me during this process. Though the show will not be viewed in this festival, I am continuing the reflect on and develop the body of work I have made thus far. I feel I must offer my deep gratitude to all those who gave me their time and talents.

  • I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with my older brother, a very skilled video editor, who has been a cherished peer, mentor, and teacher (of art and life) for these last several months.
  • I am grateful to the handful of talented musician friends who were willing to do some work on this project for free, for very low fees, or for barter.
  • I am grateful to Workman Arts for supporting me as I adjusted the show to the changes brought about by the pandemic. This is my second experience working with Workman Arts, and I cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate the work Kelly, Scott, Cara, Paulina, and the rest of the team working behind the scenes at Workman Arts do to make this really special festival happen. And during a pandemic, no less!
  • Finally, I am grateful for organizations like Workman Arts that are actively striving to foster greater diversity of representation within the Ontario and Toronto creative community. I hope you all will continue to support and patronize Workman Arts even after the festival has passed.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the festival, you remember to stay safe, you do what you can to support and aid the most vulnerable in our communities, you donate to groups and organizations that are trying to address the already existing racial and economic inequality within North America that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and you all focus your energies on taking care of your immunity and your mental health while the world faces global crisis. I know I will!

I send love and gratitude to you all.

-Oliver Jane

goat(h)owl theatre / Lead Artist, Performer, Creator, Writer: Oliver Jane / Collaborator, Performer: Leah Pritchard / Collaborator, Performer: Jillian Rees-Brown / Video Collaborator, Editor: Jon Jorgensen

Enter the mind of Jo, a nonbinary trauma survivor, video artist and clown. Meet Jo’s consciousness embodied: their performative imaginary friend Oli Oli Ennui, a snarky clown who doesn’t take all this modern art stuff too seriously. If you know Jo’s personal story (hailing from NYC, navigating OCD and PTSD while occupying space in Toronto during the pandemic), do you know Jo? If you hear Oli sing punk-injected cabaret, do you know their soul? Experience Jo’s multimedia happening: a video series, music playlists, Instagram uploads, photo exhibition and a live installation performance at 651 Dufferin Street. This collection of fragments resonates in permanent refrain: Do you know me now?

Founded by Maria Wodzinska and Oliver Jane in 2017, goat(h)owl generates collaboratively devised experiences. Grounded in the body, at the core of every piece is a question. We take flight through our investigation of the thematic territory, of our position to the question, and of our will-to-know. We attempt to affirm the unknowable with proposals — playing in-front-of/with/around an audience. We want to shake up sedimented modalities of meaning and truth-telling with our moving ensemble. We point the eye to the kaleidoscope of forms created. Do we invite the audience to make meaning? Yes. Do we make meaning? Come and see.


Loud Sounds, Mature Language, Nudity, Rape and/or Sexual Violence, Sexual Content, Suicide





Headshot of a person facing the camera with vividly colored stretchy paper strips wrapped around their head.

Creator: Laura Shintani / A/V: Grant Padley

Neuroelastic is a self-activated artistic performance. Taking a cue from the well-known concept of Dr. Norman Doidge’s neuroplasticity, it is inspiring that the mind can adapt in new ways. The artist imagined an idea; by wrapping oneself in streams of coloured synaptic “bandages” this symbolic act can allow thoughts and feelings to show on the outside. Using photography as documentation, a capture of the moment reveals what is hidden. This artwork of self-permission reflects on not only the unseen being seen, but that it can be changed. This collection of images I hope can read as a zany family album of the mind. Neuroelastic is an interior selfie and an invitation to an altered way of being.

Laura Shintani is a Toronto-based multimedia artist who creates work in order to provoke questions in artistic forms. Shintani represents a hybrid of work, art making, study and teaching. She is interested in seeing people embrace the cycle of creativity: playing, problem solving and reflecting. Raised in small-town Ontario, Shintani later studied fashion design at Ryerson University and received a degree from the University of Toronto. After personal discovery she made art a vocation and earned a Master of Fine Art from the University of Windsor. Shintani’s most significant exhibition was at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2019.

This artist has interactive materials which will be provided in the RWM swag bag in order to interact with their virtual content. All ticket holders will be invited to receive RWM swag bags available for free curbside pickup during festival hours.

Images of the Neuroelastic installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all ticket purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.


Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Mad Poetry Apothecary

Mad Poetry Apothecary


A photographic still life image with an ink bottle, books, a round analog clock with Roman numerals, large transparent bottles containing handwritten messages on yellowed paper, and a quill pen spelling out “Mad Poetry Apothecary” on a piece of paper.

Creator: Hanan Hazime



Join multidisciplinary artist and creative writer, Hanan Hazime, for an online poetry workshop and art installation. Instead of psychiatric medicine, participants  of “The Mad Poetry Apothecary” will be prescribed creative prompts that encourage mental wellness. Participants will be guided through the creation of mixed-media poetry postcards and given the opportunity to virtually showcase their work. Those who would like to participate in the virtual art installation but cannot attend the online workshops have the option of submitting their poetry postcard via email. All levels of writing and artistic skills are welcome. Folks with lived experience of mental health and/or addiction issues are highly encouraged to contribute their voices to this project.

Click here to view the virtual Mad Poetry installation.

Hanan Hazime is a multidisciplinary artist, creative writer, community arts educator and writing instructor living in Tkaronto/Toronto. She also identifies as a Lebanese-Canadian Muslimah Feminist and Mad Pride Activist. Through her intersectional and interdisciplinary artwork, Hanan aims to push boundaries, question arbitrary binaries, dispel stigmas and shatter stereotypes. Her primary mission as an arts educator is to provide accessible arts education to marginalized communities with a special focus on crafting safe, empowered spaces for Muslims, individuals with mental health challenges, folks with disabilities and BIPOC youth to discover and enhance their writing and art skills.

Online Workshop on ZOOM
Two Dates Available
  • Wed, Oct 21, 3 PM
  • Sat, Oct 24, 6 PM

If you’d like to participate in the workshop over email, please click here to register.


ASL interpretation or live transcription during this event is available by request; please contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com if you require these or other services to take part.

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 12PM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Hanan Hazime will be participating in the virtual panel discussion Literary Balms: the Healing Properties of Art and Text on October 19, at 4 PM. Click here to book a ticket.