Visions du Réel 2021 : free, powerful and diverse

During its 52nd edition, Visions du Réel will present 142 films originating from 58 countries. 82 films will be presented as world premieres and 16 as international premieres. While the International Film Festival Nyon will be held predominantly in a virtual format, its official selection emphasises its pioneering role when it comes to exploring the spectrum of documentary filmmaking practices. Moreover, with 26 Swiss (co)productions, the Festival affirms itself as an essential partner of national creation.

41% of the films selected were directed by women; 31 films are first films. Visions du Réel pays tribute to the French author, filmmaker and screenwriter Emmanuel Carrère by awarding him the prestigious Prix d’honneur. The 2021 Ateliers are dedicated to Tatiana Huezo and Pietro Marcello. Les Guérisseurs, the first feature-length film by Swiss filmmaker Marie-Eve Hildbrand, will open the 52nd edition on 15 April. The only festival in Switzerland dedicated to documentary filmmaking, Visions du Réel is a flagship event at an international level, and is offering a series of specific projects to make itself accessible to as many people as possible. Its Industry component constitutes an important networking platform and selects projects at all stages of their development.

« We will make every effort to once more make this edition a special and memorable event, to find the formats combining conviviality and safety, to give the public and the filmmakers everything that we can offer them. The edition will be as virtual as necessary and as physical as possible. » says Raymond Loretan, président du Festival.

The films that populate the 2021 official selection embrace this freedom, these subjectivities, this refusal of explanations or comprehensive information, so they may better aspire to conveying sentiments and personal emotions, which will only become even more universal. So, this powerful and eclectic 2021 selection will once again enable us to take into account the independence and the emancipation of contemporary documentary filmmaking, which keeps itself at the right distance from the sometimes alienating issues of fiction and from the often excessively confined definitions—in form and in substance—of the traditional “documentary”.

The films were selected from 3,000 submissions (a figure that has remained stable despite the current situation). Visions du Réel is proud to welcome prestigious juries for its four competitions: the list includes talented filmmakers such as Kamal Aljafari (An Unusual Summer), Alejo Franzetti (Panke), Thomas Imbach (Nemesis) or Laila Pakalnina (In the Mirror); the producers Consuelo Frauenfelder (Un couteau dans le coeur, Yann Gonzalez) and Julie Frères (Drôle de pays, Clémence Hébert); industry delegates such as Savina Neirotti, Director of the TorinoFilmLab and Head of Programme at the Biennale College of the Venice Festival, Anne Berthollet (Lightdox) or Diana Tabakov, Executive Director of Doc Alliance Films, as well as programmers and curators such as Josh Siegel from MoMa, Sergio Fant from the Berlinale or Garbiñe Ortega, Artistic Director of the Punto de Vista International Documentary Film Festival.

For the first time, the Festival will have the honour of welcoming a FIPRESCI jury for the first feature-length films in the International Feature-length Film Competition and the Burning Lights International Competition.