(November 3, 2016 – Toronto, ON) It is one of the most fascinating film festivals in the world. First launched in Toronto in 1993, Rendezvous with Madness was the first of its kind and has become the largest festival devoted to the facts and mythologies surrounding mental illness and addiction. Co-founded by Kathleen Fagan and Workman Arts’ Executive/Artistic Director Lisa Brown, the annual festival presents film by both Canadian and international filmmakers, as well as by visual and media-based artists. This year the festival opens with the Canadian production, The Other Half.
The feature costars award-winning actor Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey) and 2016 Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) in Joey Klein’s The Other Half, a character-driven love story about a grief-stricken man and a bipolar woman who attempt to forge a simple life together.
Five years after his young brother disappeared, Nickie (Cullen) is still mourning. Having abandoned a life of promise in the UK, he’s spent his inaugural adult years drowning in alcohol and violence. Now he’s reached his nadir – fired from his menial job. Then he meets Emily (Maslany), an aspiring artist with an extreme version of mania called Rapid Cycling Bipolar 1 Disorder (the “jitters,” she calls it). For both, it is love at first sight, deepened by a shared sense of sorrow. Their respective illnesses in some ways bring them together, but in other ways may be the only thing that wrenches them apart. Can love conquer all?
The film turned out to be a bit of a family affair and its content was guided by experienced hands. Shot in Toronto by actor Joey Klein who is the screenwriter/director/co-producer/co-composer on The Other Half, Klein’s father, a doctor with a background in English literature, advised on the script, while Klein’s sister, a psychiatrist, helped prep Maslany before the shoot. His brother did the paintings that are shown as Emily’s in the film.
Rendezvous with Madness, which opens tomorrow, November 4, and runs until November 12, provides filmmakers and artists with opportunities to exhibit work that may not otherwise be seen; facilitates discussion between artists and audiences on these cinematic and media representations; and increases awareness of, and advocacy for, mental health and addiction issues among the broader public.
The Other Half is being released in Canada by Mongrel Media and opens in general distribution on December 2 in Toronto and Vancouver.