Source: Visions du Réel

Anerca Breath of Life

Swiss documentary festival Visions de Réel, which was to have taken place from April 24 to May 2 in the lakeside town of Nyon, has revealed details of the online format it has developed to replace the physical event which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Visions du Réel 2020 will not take place at the Place du Réel, in the cinemas, in the tent and in the bar, in Nyon,” said artistic director Émilie Bujès, referring to the event’s traditional festival and industry hubs. “But it will resolutely be held on the internet, in almost all its generous diversity, and will visit the spectators at home, further expanding the possible territories,”

The festival said the entire Visions du Réel team had been involved in “enthusiastic discussions” on how to transfer the festival online in a way that remained true to “its rigorous artistic standards and conviviality”.

Under the plan, the festival will run for a longer period with some of its line-up going online as early as April 17.

Most of the selection will be available for home viewing on open-access platforms. The programme will be further enriched by short-form interviews with directors, online masterclasses and digital meet-ups.

Nearly 98% of the works in the International Feature Film Competition, International Burning Lights Competition, International Medium Length and Short Film Competition and Opening Scenes will be available on the festival platform. Access for the online screenings will be open to everybody free-of-charge for a 24-hour period but limited to 500 spectators per film.

All these competitions, the line-ups of which were originally announced on March 10, will go ahead as planned with the juries deliberating remotely.

Titles competing in the main competition include Finnish directors Johannes Lehmuskallio and Markku Lehmuskallio’s Anerca, Breath Of Life about people living in the Arctic Circle; Austrian filmmakers Daniel Hoesl and Julia Niemann’s Davos, going behind the scenes of the World Economic Forum, and Iranian director Amin Behroozzadeh’s Fish Eye, about life aboard Iran’s biggest industrial fishing boat. 

Films in the non-competitive sidebar Grand Angle, showing works that have premiered to acclaim at other festivals, will be made available on the Doc Alliance’s online documentary platform Titles in Latitude, focused on timely works representing “current documentary practices” will be made available on the independent documentary platform Tënk.

Beyond the screening programme, honorary guest Claire Denis, who is the festival’s 2020 Maître du Réel, will give her scheduled masterclass online and some of her films will be available on the independent documentary planform Tënk.

The filmmakers Petra Costa and Peter Mettler, to whom the Ateliers 2020 are dedicated, will also give masterclasses online. It will be possible to view a selection of their films on the Doc Alliance platform.

A special exhibition inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s The Image Book has been postponed until Nyon Castle reopens. The initiative was developed as a long dialogue between Godard, who lives in Rolle on the outskirts of Nyon, and his long-time collaborator Fabrice Aragno and Bujès.

Like much of Europe, Switzerland is currently under lockdown as the country battles to contain the spread of coronavirus. As of March 30, there had been 15,760 cases of Covid-19 in the country and 348 deaths. 

Main competition line-up:

  • Amor Fati, dir. Cláudia Varejão (Portugal, Switzerland, France) 
  • Anerca, Breath of Life, dirs. Johannes Lehmuskallio, Markku Lehmuskallio (Finland) 
  • Davos, dirs. Daniel Hoesl, Julia Niemann (Austria)
  • El Father Plays Himself, dir. Mo Scarpelli (Venezuela, UK, Italy, United States) 
  • Fish Eye, dir. Amin Behroozzadeh (Iran) 
  • Il mio corpo, dir. Michele Pennetta (Switzerland, Italy)
  • Kombinat, dir. Gabriel Tejedor (Switzerland)
  • Nemesis, dir. Thomas Imbach (Switzerland)
  • Non Western, dir. Laura Plancarte (UK, US, Mexico)
  • Off the Road, dir. Jose Permar (Mexico, US)
  • Punta Sacra, dir. Francesca Mazzoleni (Italy)
  • Purple Sea, dirs. Amel Alzakout, Khaled Abdulwahed
  • The Pageant, dir Eytan Ipeker (Turkey, France, Israel, Germany)
  • The Silhouettes, dir. Afsaneh Salari (Iran, Philippines)