Vision and Reality from the Banks of Lake Geneva

With the spring drawing near, documentary fans can feel not only the whiffs of the blooming landscape but also the breath of a fresh dose of creativity that will spread from the banks of Lake Geneva for the 47th time thanks to Visions du Réel. Although the screening halls of the Swiss Doc Alliance festival will open only in the middle of April, it brings an exclusive online film programme to all lovers of documentary now already. Enjoy a selection of six films awarded by the festival from March 21 to April 4 at for free!

As festival director Luciano Barisone reminds us in an exclusive interview for, the very name of the festival, merging the words vision and reality, starts an original play of blending the worlds of reality and imagination which you can fully enjoy both during our online event and during the festival. This year, it will welcome three original and truly unique filmmakers. The festival’s main honorary award, the Raiffeisen Maître du Réel Award, will go to famous British filmmaker Peter Greenaway. Master classes held within the Ateliers programme will be presented by directors Dominic Gagnon and Audrius Stonys, whose work will also be introduced in the form of film retrospectives from April 15 to 23. If you think of following the fresh creative wind blowing from Lake Geneva, then do not hesitate and pass the time while waiting for your documentary journey by watching the six awarded films!

Most of the presented films are intimate portrayals of protagonists facing a difficult reality of life with resilience and in various forms ranging from revolt to silent acceptance. While the much discussed documentary I AM FEMEN offers an insight into the background and activities of one of the most medially known political-artistic groups of the present, the Iranian documentary MASHTI ESMAEIL paints a calm picture of old age and reconciliation with a life that could be considered too difficult and even impossible by many.

The difficult task of taking responsibility for the lives of family members is also waiting for only fifteen-year-old Georgiana in the Romanian documentary WAITING FOR AUGUST. While her mother leaves to work in Italy, driven by the bad local economic situation, Georgiana must take care of her six siblings. The motif of care also plays a significant role in the next presented film called 9999 which is set in a Belgian prison. It captures the lonely and dragging days of inmates who are mentally ill. Without any treatment and therapy, they are abandoned both by the social and the legal system.

The selection of award-winning films gains an easier tone with AUTOFOCUS and the CINETRAIN: RUSSIAN WINTER film series. While the playful mid-length film AUTOFUCUS captures a humorously diverse group of tourists who, unaware of the documentary camera, enter a popular Croatian monument to experience the common, uncommon and even bizarre micro-stories of their lives, the documentary project CINETRAIN: RUSSIAN WINTER invites the viewers to take a wild ride through the landscape of Northern Russia and Siberia. During their journey, 21 participants of the adventurous film enterprise from 14 countries made seven short documentaries dedicated to seven cultural stereotypes traditionally linked to the Russian nation: vodka, women, the Russian bath, the Russian soul, bears, winter and cold, and the Lada car.

Enjoy the first gust of the film spring and watch six films awarded by Visions du Réel from March 21 to April 4 at for free!

Selected films is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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