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A boundary-pushing NFB world premiere at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2024. Montreal directors Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky’s unconventional “documentary fable” A Man Imagined reveals the raw reality of a man living on the fringes.


December 20, 2023 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Making its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the bold new National Film Board of Canada (NFB) production A Man Imagined captures the bitter day-to-day life of a man who is routinely overlooked and often feared, in a “documentary fable” by the maverick filmmaking duo of Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky.

A Man Imagined will be presented as part of the festival’s Short & Mid-length program, which will take place from Friday, January 26, to Monday, January 29. Cassidy and Shatzky will be attending the premiere in Rotterdam.

A Man Imagined is produced by Rohan Fernando and executive produced by Annette Clarke and Rohan Fernando.

About the film

A Man Imagined (62 min)
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/a-man-imagined

Pushing at the limits of non-fiction cinema, A Man Imagined is a bracingly intimate and hallucinatory portrait of a man with schizophrenia surviving amidst urban detritus and decay. Made in close collaboration with 67-year-old Lloyd, this immersive documentary fable follows the jagged path of a decades-long street survivor, across harsh winters and blistering summers, as he sells discarded items to motorists, sleeps in junkyards and lapses into near-psychedelic reveries.

When Lloyd reveals a startling detail from his past, the filmmakers try to help him piece together a story that spills out in fragments—a jigsaw puzzle of painful childhood abstraction that seems to hold an unspeakable mystery at its core.

With its subjective, lyrical camerawork and expressionistic sound design, the latest feature from directors Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky finds poetic power and transcendence in the harrowed mind of its protagonist, delivering a poignant meditation on life at the margins.

About the filmmakers

Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky are collaborative artists working at the intersection of documentary and narrative cinema. Their films have screened at the Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, Rotterdam and Locarno film festivals, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Musée de la Civilisation, ICA London, the Museum of the Moving Image, Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art, and Lincoln Center.

They’ve won numerous awards for their work and in 2012, they were nominated for a Gotham Award for Breakthrough Director. Their feature debut, Francine, starring Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, was described as “raw, intimate and observed with penetrating acuity” by The Hollywood Reporter and was selected as a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Their documentary The Patron Saints was called “one of the most powerful Canadian documentaries of recent years” by POV Magazine.

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French version here | Version française ici.

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.