Visions du Réel at School

Visions du Réel launches an online VOD platform dedicated to non-fiction film for students and teachers

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More than 90 classes attended the 2020 virtual edition of Visions du Réel. With this in mind, the VdR team decided to create a VOD platform that allows schools to access insightful and quality documentaries all year round.

This new pilot platform is a welcome and major addition to Visions du Réel's existing film literacy outreach programme. Based on the video-on-demand format and accessible all year round, the platform offers a wide and diverse choice of films which have been curated specifically with secondary school curricula in mind. The service will initially be free of charge, and we will constantly add new films to the collection and send teaching staff regular updates on the latest developments and releases.

This pilot project will provide teachers with a much-needed tool to help familiarise their students with documentary filmmaking, film literacy in general and the multiple realities that co-exist in 21st century global society. The teachers who work in the Canton of Geneva Department of Education are thrilled with the idea.

A bespoke service for schools

As the name suggests, the Visions du Réel at School platform has been designed specifically with students and teachers in mind. The aim is to familiarise young people with unformatted filmmaking which portrays different lives and realities through the unique eye of its author. Thanks to this special VoD service, teachers will have access to works which can help to illustrate and add additional perspectives to subjects dealt with in class. Through Visions du Réel at School, the Festival will play its part in bringing the richness and diversity of contemporary cinema to a younger audience.

The films are accessible to lower– and upper–secondary schools and are categorised by theme and by school subject. Visions du Réel has also created teaching resource packs for each film, featuring lesson plan and classroom activity ideas.

Visions du Réel worked closely with its longstanding partner and specialist members of staff from the University of Teacher Education in Lausanne (HEP). Thanks to their expert input, the educational content of each teaching resource pack meets school curriculum requirements and mirrors the objectives of the PER (Plan d’études romand), the official learning plan for all schools in French-speaking Switzerland.

In terms of licensing, Visions du Réel has found an agreement with the right holder(s) of each film allowing to remunerate the filmmaker(s) for making the content available.

Launch and future plans

The pilot version of Visions du Réel at School launches on 26 November across French-speaking Switzerland. The films, which are from all five continents, are either in French or have French subtitles.

Visions du Réel will work closely with teachers and continue to adapt the service to their needs and feedback. A nationwide launch of Visions du Réel at School is planned for the 2021–22 academic year. The film programme will include films in German and Italian, or with subtitles in these languages.

Visions du Réel hopes that the Visions du Réel at School initiative will be a welcome addition to the screening literacy resources currently available in Switzerland. The new platform also joins the 20 or so cultural participation projects aimed at a variety of audiences which the Festival already has in place.