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.
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Michelle Melles / 2021 / English / Canada / 77 mins / World Premiere

What does it mean to be normal in a world gone mad? That’s the question at the heart of writer-director Michelle Melles’ poignant documentary, Drunk on Too Much Life. The film strives to change how people perceive those with mental health issues, framing their conditions as potentially insightful gifts rather than burdensome disorders.

Drunk on Too Much Life focuses on Melles’ daughter, Corrina, a young woman who experiences intense and sometimes painful emotional and psychic states. Corrina describes herself as “being trapped inside her own mind games.” Now, after years of doctors, medications and mental health facility check-ins, her family starts exploring healing methods outside of standard biomedical models. These holistic methods positively impact Corrina, reflecting the healing power of art, creativity and meaningful human connection.


Jeamin Cha | 2019 | South Korea | 30 min | Korean with English subtitles
Sound Garden alternates between scenes of large trees being transported and interviews with South Korean female
mental health workers who reflect on counselling’s ambivalence and complexity. The film highlights
the discrepancy between these cultivated trees, designed to thrive in urban surroundings, and the
human spirit, shaped and affected by our modern values and evolving social environments.


Join director Michelle Melles and family members Corinna and Kevin virtually as they share their
thoughts on this personal documentary. They’ll be joined by others and will delve into different
ways Canadian mental health programs and health care succeeds and fails to accommodate and
support young people in their healing.


Keywords: Alternative healing | Family | Health care | Schizophrenia | Trauma

Sat, Nov 6 , 6:30 PM

Oct 29 – Nov 7 available across Canada

Sat, Nov 6, 8:15 PM ET

Stella's Place Young Adult Mental Health
"Closing Film"



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 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
Ontario Arts Council Logo



Collage of a graph, lung drawing, portrait with flowers for a head


Through the voices of various artists, this web-based experience explores the relationship between mental health, language, and lineage. Many awareness campaigns urge us to “break the silence”. But the question of whether – or how – to speak is complicated. Mental health discourses are shaped by particular histories, which reverberate in the present. By juxtaposing multiple perspectives, Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue aims to expand the possibilities for how we communicate about madness, trauma, and neurodivergence. The content is offered in the form of audio files, transcripts, and ASL videos.

The process for Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue began when artist Veronique West invited seven collaborators to make audio recordings in response to open-ended questions about mental health, language and lineage. The collaborators were: mia susan amir, Kagan Goh, Maya Jones, Constantin Lozitsky, Jivesh Parasram, Kendra Place, and Manuel Axel Strain. A digital platform was developed to host the recordings, through collaboration between the Cultch Digital Storytelling Team, Sound Designer David Mesiha, Inclusive Designer JD Derbyshire, Dramaturg Kathleen Flaherty, Deaf Interpreter Ladan Sahraei, Production Coordinator Brian Postalian and Veronique West. Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue was first presented at the 2021 rEvolver Festival.

Consultants: Amy Amantea, June Fukumura, Simran Gill, and MariFer Rios.

For a full list of the Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue team’s biographies, please follow the link below:

Keywords: 2SLGBTQIA+ | BIPOC Experience | Community | Disability | Family

Recording available online Oct 28 – Nov 7


For Artist Talk:
ASL and Closed Captions

For work in exhibition:
ASL, Transcripts, Audio Playback

Content Warnings

Brief references to colonization, war, genocide, child abuse, suicide, and psychiatric hospitalization. Detailed description of ableism, depression, mania, trauma, and a parent’s incarceration. The content does not play automatically and can be paused or skipped.


Digital Platform Realization by: The Cultch Digital Storytelling Team

Developed at Playwrights Theatre Centre as part of the Associates program.

The project has also been supported by:
Upintheair Theatre’s rEvolver Festival
The National Theatre School of Canada’s Art Apart initiative

The parallel in-person performance has been supported by:
the Canada Council for the Arts
the BC Arts Council
the Province of British Columbia
Playwrights Theatre Centre
Rumble Theatre
Progress Lab 1422
Chimerik似不像 Collective
Boca del Lupo and Rice & Beans Theatre’s DBLSPK series
Mentorship with Boca del Lupo’s Artistic Director Sherry J. Yoon
Universal Limited’s Horizontal Help program
The Arts Club Theatre Company’s LEAP Playwriting Intensive

The Cultch Digital Storytelling Team would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts



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



Drawing of teen in messy room

Oct 29 – Nov 7 available across Canada

Sun, Oct 31, 1 PM ET


Various artists / 2018-2021 / Canada, USA / 74 mins

As a result of tireless advocacy by Autistic activists and their allies, the very meaning of Autism is shifting from a highly pathologized and misunderstood medical diagnosis to an identity that celebrates natural brain differences and embraces diverse ways of being. For the first time in this festival’s history we are
pleased to present a program of films about Autism directed entirely by Autistic individuals. These vibrant, multifaceted autobiographical narratives address the myths and stereotypes associated with Autism, illuminate the barriers Autistic individuals encounter in day-to-day life, and highlight their astounding resilience in the face of these challenges.


LISTEN (Communication First | 2021 | USA | English with described audio | 5 min) This short film was produced by a multinational, nearly 100% Autistic team in response to Sia’s controversial film Music.


(Jennifer Msumba | 2018 | USA | English | 4 min) Jennifer Msumba tells the story of growing up with autism and OCD and what it was like being placed in psychiatric hospitals, group homes and residential schools.


S/PACE (Estée Klar & Adam Wolfond | 2019 | Canada | English with described audio | 16 min)
A poetic exploration of autistic movement as expression, created by Adam Wolfond, a non-speaking writer/poet/artist, in collaboration with his neurodivergent artist/researcher, doctor of Critical Disability Studies, mom Estée Klar.


HOLE (Gil Goletski | 2018 | Canada | English | 6 min) HOLE is a film depicting the artist’s experiences as a transgender person on the autism spectrum.


FEARS & DREAMS (Chris Gerry | 2020 | Canada | English | 3 min) In Fears & Dreams, an Autistic man shares his anxieties and hopes about parenthood.


UNTITLED (Raya Shields | Canada | 2021 | English | 3 min) This rich multimedia narrative uses art, poetry, vocalization and movement to convey the filmmaker’s experiences of school as a child and as a university student.


GASOLINE RAINBOWS (V Vallieres | 2021 | Canada | English | 5 min) This experimental animation represents the creator’s experience of Autism, and how it is connected to their non-binary/trans gender identity, maladaptive coping strategies and mental health.


WE ARE HERE (Rowan Duncan | 2020 | Canada | English | 6 min) This poetic manifesto explores what it means to fit in or stand apart, and honours Autistic resistance and resilience.


UNSPOKEN (Emma Zurcher-Long | 2019 | USA | English with described audio | 28 min)
14-year-old Emma Zurcher-Long sees and hears the world, as she puts it, in ‘Hi-res, technicolor and surround sound’. As a chronicle of a teenager coming into her own, and as a work advocating for the rights of all peoples, UNSPOKEN is a lesson on, and celebration of, living an authentic life.


Keywords: #ActuallyAutistic | Advocacy | Autism | Non-speaking | Family
Tangled Art + Disabilty
Spectrum Productions
Bodies in Translation
Re-Storying Autism


Join Moderator Kat Singer and a line-up Autistic creators in conversation about the ups and downs of being different, self-advocacy through art and envisioning a more inclusive future.

Please note: choice of identity first language (e.g. Autistic) over person-first language (person with Autism) reflects the preference of the majority of the Autistic community. We respect the agency of people to self identify however they wish



Oct 29 – Nov 7 available across Canada

Available with the film


Angelo Madsen Minax / 2021 / English / USA / 76 mins / Canadian Premiere

After the inconclusive death of his young niece, filmmaker Angelo Madsen Minax returns to his rural Michigan hometown to make a film about a broken criminal justice system. Instead, he pivots to excavate the depths of generational addiction, Christian fervor and trans embodiment. Lyrically assembled images, decades of home movies and ethereal narration form an idiosyncratic and poetic undertow that guide a viewer through lifetimes and relationships. Like the relentless Michigan seasons, the meaning of family shifts, as Madsen Minax, his sister and his parents strive tirelessly to accept each other. Poised to incite more internal searching than provide clear statements or easy answers, North By Current dives head-first into the challenges of creating identity, the agony of growing up and the ever-fickle nuances of family.

“For me, a personal, first-person approach to storytelling was the only way to make North By Current. My own voice is the only one I feel capable of representing. This merger of personal and political storytelling became an opportunity for my family members and myself to converse, collaborate, and create together — our own version of transformative justice.” — Angelo Madsen Minax


Watch a pre-recorded Q&A with the filmmaker Angelo Madsen Minax about his experience creating the deeply intimate personal documentary North By Current. The discussion is moderated by Mike Hoolboom, a filmmaker and writer who lives in Toronto and director of Rendezvous 2020 opening film Judy Versus Capitalism.


Keywords: Addictions | Family | Gender | Religion | Trauma
Inside Out
The 519



Sun, Oct 31, 8 PM

Sun, Oct 31, 8-10 PM ET available across Canada

Todd Haynes / 1995 / English / United Kingdom/USA / 119 mins

We’re thrilled to be presenting a special 25th-ish anniversary screening of the seminal film Safe by
Todd Haynes which was presented at the third Rendezvous With Madness in 1995. This retrospective
could not be more timely given the current coronavirus pandemic we’ve all been living through since
spring 2020; nor can the serendipitous timing of Halloween; this is a quintessential horror film as seen
through the character of Carol White (played magnificently by Julianne Moore).

Set in 1987, the film follows White, a well-to-do California housewife who suddenly finds herself struggling to breathe while doctors continually insist that nothing is amiss with her health. Before long, Carol self diagnoses herself to be reacting to the toxic chemicals around her stating emphatically that she’s “allergic to the 20th century.” When Safe was originally released many viewers viewed Carol’s
plight as a metaphor for the HIV/AIDS epidemic; in 2021 it’s both that pandemic and the current one
that will leave their marks on you long after the film’s credits roll.


Jubal Brown | 2021 | Canada | English | 13 min
Commissioned by the non-profit organization Asylum From Psychiatry and Marta McKenzie, this
film is largely based on patient experiences in the mental health care systems in Canada. Found
footage sourced from movies and television are used to create an abstract narrative illustrating the
traumas experienced by patients in psychiatric institutions.


Keywords: Chemical Sensitivity | Environmental Illness| Family | Trauma | Virus
Toronto After Dark Film Festival

“I wanted to bring up the behaviour that we
all exhibit around illness, particularly in the
way we try to attach meaning and personal responsibility to illness and how much illness
and identity are mixed up with each other,
… Safe feels like this allegory about all kinds
of indeterminate and imprecise notions of
health, well-being and immunity in peril.”
—Todd Haynes

Reel Abilities Film Festival - The World is Bright

Reel Abilities Film Festival - The World is Bright

We are pleased to co-present the ReelAbilities Film Festival screening of The World Is Bright – a riveting Canadian documentary following the epic 10-year journey of a Chinese couple searching for the truth behind their son’s death in Canada. On May 30th at 2 PM, audiences are invited to watch The World Is Bright, which will be followed by a panel about Mental health and Immigration at 4:30 PM.





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