Visions du Réel: Interconnecting Imagination and Reality

The new, already 46th edition of the famous Swiss festival and member of the Doc Alliance network Visions du Réel is literally round the corner. Get ready for the unique atmosphere of demanding and innovative cinema in the charming environment of Lake Geneva in an interview with festival director Luciano Barisone!

The new, already 46th edition of the famous Swiss festival and member of the Doc Alliance network Visions du Réel is literally round the corner. Get ready for the unique atmosphere of demanding and innovative cinema in the charming environment of Lake Geneva in an interview with festival director Luciano Barisone!

We are very pleased to start the next documentary festival season of the Doc Alliance platform with the 46th edition of the Visions du Réel festival. Last year you celebrated two important milestones in the history of the festival – 45 years since the foundation of the festival in 1969 as well as 20 years of being known under the name of Visions du Réel. What is the vision of the festival in the new third decade?

The “vision” is in the name of the festival together with the word “réel”. It’s a gaze upon human evolution, a tight connection between reality and imagination, a meeting between a state of mind and a state of the world. We deal with creative documentaries and we think of creativity as Robert Bresson did: “To create is not to distort or invent people and things. It is to weave people and things who exist and as they exist into a new relationship.”

This year’s edition of the festival has been strongly linked with the personality and the work of Barbet Schroeder, a Swiss-born director playing an important role in the French Nouvelle Vague movement as well as working with famous Hollywood stars. Why have you decided to focus on Schroeder’s work? Your decision has also affected the visual style of the 46th edition...

Last year we decided to create an award named Maître du Réel, in order to honour a major filmmaker who has been working in documentary and narrative features, following the path of a realistic representation of world history and human events. Barbet Schroeder completely embodies this for his career as a whole and for his way of approaching reality.

The festival is approaching very quickly. It will take place in Nyon from April 17 to 25. Could you highlight particular films or film categories you are especially proud to present this year? What is your personal recommendation to watch during the festival?

This year more than 3200 films were submitted to the festival for selection. 120 features, mid-length and shorts made the final selection: the best of the best. So I think that all of them are great and that audiences will be moved and surprised by each and every one of them. Aside from the films selected for competition, I would also recommend the Vincent Dieutre and Harutyun Khachatryan retrospectives, the focus on Georgian contemporary documentary production and of course the Barbet Schroeder master class.

The festival is not only about film screenings. Its extensive part consists of a professional industry market as well. If I were a film professional, why should I attend the industry activities held in Nyon?

Because Visions du Réel is one of the best places for networking, because professionals can find the best films to produce or to buy here, because since it was created 10 years ago, the Pitching du Réel has yielded fantastic results: 90% of presented projects have either been produced or are currently in production.

For two weeks DAFilms.com belongs to the collection of 60 short films by internationally recognized filmmakers whose work has been related to the festival for years. It is a difficult task but if you should select at least three films to stream online what would your list be?

All of the Traces of the Future shorts are dear to me. So I prefer not to have to choose. This collection of glimpses of the intimate or external world fits exactly with our idea of the festival, based on different formal approaches rather than a unique one. This collection has thus the most impact when watched as a whole.

Thank you for your precious time, Luciano. We believe that the Doc Alliance festival season could not have a better starting point than Visions du Réel!

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Doc Alliance is 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.