Visions du Réel is very pleased to welcome Peter Mettler as part of its Ateliers. The renowned Swiss-Canadian filmmaker and director of photography, whose unique approach deeply influenced documentary writing in the 2000s, will share his universe and his cinematographic practice with the public during a Masterclass. A retrospective will be dedicated to his work throughout the festival.
Born in Toronto in 1958 to Swiss parents, Peter Mettler studied film at the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, and became a figure in the Toronto New Wave in the 1980s, by making a noteworthy first experimental feature, Scissere (1982), and as cinematographer for Atom Egoyan, Patricia Rozema and Bruce McDonald, as well as Jennifer Baichwal on Manufactured Landscapes (2006). The hybrid work of the filmmaker explores the limits of human perception without predetermined scripts and according to an associative process that wanders the borders of essay, documentary and fiction. His portfolio includes a trilogy of metaphysical documentary travelogues, consisting of Picture of Light (1994), Gambling, Gods and LSD (2002) and The End of Time (2012), and films haunted by the current environmental crisis such as Petropolis: Aerial Perspectives on the Alberta Tar Sands (2009) and Becoming Animal (2018). A multi-disciplinary creator, Peter Mettler also works as a VJ with artists such as Fred Frith, Biosphere or Jeremy Narby and Franz Treichler. In 2016, he donated his personal archives to the Cinémathèque suisse and to the archives of the Toronto International Film Festival, the largest cinematographical collection in English-speaking Canada.
• Becoming Animal, 2018
• Traces du Futur, 2014
• The End of Time, 2012
• Petropolis: Aerial Perspectives on the Alberta Tar Sands, 2009
• Away, 2007
• Gambling, Gods and LSD, 2002
• Balifilm, 1997
• Picture of Light, 1994
• Tectonic Plates, 1992
• The Top of His Head, 1989
• Eastern Avenue, 1985
• Scissere, 1982
• Gregory, 1981
• Lancalot Freely, 1980
Nominated at this year's Oscars in the Best Documentary Feature category for her latest film The Edge of Democracy, Petra Costa will be at Visions du Réel to present her work as a director and producer during the first retrospective dedicated to her work. As part of this Atelier, partnered by the HEAD–Genève, she will also give a Masterclass during which the audience will have the opportunity to discuss with her.
The Brazilian filmmaker draws inspiration from her personal experience to evoke the divides and contradictions of a country faced with tumultuous current affairs. While Petra Costa is publicly attacked by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for criticizing his government, the Festival is honoured to welcome a woman committed to democracy and freedom of expression.
In the work of Petra Costa, the personal and the political are inextricably linked. Her latest film, The Edge of Democracy (2019, produced by Netflix and nominated for the Oscars), constitutes the final part of a trilogy in which the director's biography confronts the eventful history of her country, Brazil. Her first short film, Undertow Eyes, explored the memories and stories of her grandparents, in a personal and existential tale of love and death. Screened at MoMA in 2010, it won the prize for Best Short Film at the Rio Film Festival, the London International Documentary Festival and the Cine Las Americas International Film Festival (Austin, USA). Elena, her first feature length film, was the most watched documentary in Brazil in 2013. A hybrid creation lying somewhere between a documentary, diary and feverish reverie, this film was acclaimed by critics all over the world. Among others, it won the prize for Best Documentary Feature at the Havana Film Festival (2013) and was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography at the Cinema Eye Honors (2014). In 2015, with Lea Glob, Petra Costa co-directed Olmo and the Seagull, a captivating dive into the meandering thoughts of a young actress during her pregnancy, always delicately fluctuating between the codes of fiction and documentary.
The Atelier will also be an opportunity to present two films that she has produced with her production company Busca Vida Filmes: Babenco : Tell Me When I Die by Bárbara Paz (a prize-winner at the latest Venice Film Festival), and Ecstasy, by Moara Passoni (world premiere at this upcoming CPH:DOX 2020, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival). The director began her theatre training in Brazil aged 14. A graduate of the School of Dramatic Arts at the University of São Paulo, she also studied anthropology and has a Master's in Social Psychology.