On the RIDM 2008 Pre-selection Committee
Yesterday I had lunch with the incredibly experienced and calm André Paquet (at right), who has been programming Montreal’s Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) for the last three years. In Canada, RIDM is second only to Hot Docs in size, but in my books (and André’s) it has resisted the hyper-market business zeal that other large fests like TIFF and Hot Docs tend toward (who do for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is pressure from funding agencies) in favour of a more nuanced cultural initiative.
In this vein RIDM has always focused on the “rencontres” in its name, that is encounters, mainly the interaction between audiences and artists. For this, they have my respect. Even better, recent editions including last year’s (for which I was on one of the juries) have made attempts to be less exclusionary to the non-Francophone communities of Montreal, which are numerous and diverse.
So it was with honour that I accepted the invitation yesterday to become a member of the Pre-selection Committee for the 2008 (11th) edition of the festival. What does this entail? Um, watching about 200 films over the summer. Thankfully I already watch between 80 and 100 every year for Cinema Politica, so the number only doubles. But I am indeed looking forward to working with André, who has been programming for 40 years now and indeed has a thing or two to teach this neophyte curator. So, let the viewing begin!