About Rendezvous

Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival is a signature event of Workman Arts, produced annually in Toronto since 1993.

The first festival of its kind in the world, and currently the largest, Rendezvous with Madness was co-founded by Kathleen Fagan and Workman Arts’ Executive/Artistic Director Lisa Brown.  The Festival investigates the facts and mythologies surrounding mental illness and addiction as presented by both Canadian and international filmmakers, as well as by visual and media-based artists.

The festival 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.

photo-2015-11-07-8-00-46-pm“The fever dreams of the movies are an ideal medium to chronicle mental illness.” – Stephen Cole, The Globe and Mail

Mental illness and addiction are fundamental parts of our human experience, and yet they have always been difficult to present and discuss in the public arena. Fear and stigma routinely make accurate representations and presentations next to impossible.

The vehicle through which mental illness and addiction are most often presented publicly is mainstream film. Through these films the public can, in most instances, sit back and watch from a safe distance. Audiences are secure in the belief that they are watching the experiences of others and remain divorced from the realities of society.

Film can also enable new and established artists to visually explore ideas and express stories of mental illness and addiction in ways that are nearly impossible in other artistic media. The technical freedom of film allows for these artists to challenge perceptions of reality and to express the truth of mental illness and addiction.


Rendezvous with Madness explores these cinematic representations and hosts panel discussions after each screening. The films are the art, the discussion gives them perspective.

“..the festival showcases edgy, thought provoking…films that explore mental health and addiction issues from a multitude of angles.” – Sherri Wood, Toronto Sun

About Workman Arts

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Workman Arts Project of Ontario (Workman Arts) is an arts and mental health company known internationally for its artistic collaborations, presentations, knowledge exchange, best practices, and research in the area of the impact of the arts on the quality of life of people living with mental illness and addiction.

Workman Arts facilitates aspiring, emerging and established artists will mental illness and addiction issues to develop and refine their art form through multidisciplinary arts training programs, public performance/exhibition opportunities and partnering with other arts organizations. Workman Arts promotes a greater understanding of mental illness and addiction through the research, creation, presentation and discussion of artistic media in five disciplines: music, theatre, visual, literary and media arts.