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REPORT: Industry at Visions du Réel 2018

by Vladan Petkovic

A look at the rich and varied range of industry activities that unspooled during this year’s Visions du Réel festival

REPORT: Industry at Visions du Réel 2018
Director Salomé Jashi with her award, flanked by the jury (© HEAD – Genève)

The 16th edition of Industry at Visions du Réel (13-21 April) once again offered all of the professionals attending the festival a chance to find partners, financing and distribution for projects and finished films, and to network and exchange. The topics addressed ranged from sound to visual art, and from production to distribution and marketing, and were covered via labs, pitches, case studies, workshops and conferences. Read the news about the industry winners here

Pitching du Réel 

The backbone of the industry section is Pitching du Réel, where 15 feature-length film projects were presented and discussed at round-tables and one-to-one meetings with potential partners, commissioning editors, producers, distributors and funders.

The winner of the HEAD – Genève Postproduction Award for the best project went to Trees Floating by Georgian filmmaker Salomé Jashi (The Dazzling Light of Sunset). The one-sentence synopsis for the co-production between Georgia's Sakdoc Film and Germany's Corso Film reads: “Giant ancient trees are uprooted, traded for much-desired cash and sent on an adventurous journey through land and sea.”

The 14 other projects pitched were as follows:

Aunts Šejla KamerićMirjana KaranovićKim Longinotto, Andrea Štaka (Serbia/Switzerland/France/Bulgaria/Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Production companies: Wake Up FilmsAlva Film Production sàrlAgitpropSCCA/ 

Austral Benjamin Colaux (Belgium/France) 
Production companies: Stenola ProductionLittle Big Story

Bad Translation - Corinne Beaumier (Canada) 
Production companies: EyeSteelFilm, Les Productions Flow

Don't Give a Fox Kaspar Astrup Schröder (Denmark) 
Production company: Good Company Pictures

Gustave Verniory, 10 Years in the Araucania - Ignacio Agüero (Chile) 
Production company: Aguero & asociado ltd

Jukaï, the Green Sea Akihiro Hata (France) 
Production company: Good Fortune Films

My English Cousin - Karim Sayad (Switzerland/France) 
Production companies: Close Up FilmsNorte Distribution

No Boys Land - Nontawat Numbenchapol (Thailand)
Production company: Mobile Lab Project

On the Trail of Madness Edgar Hagen (Switzerland)
Production company: Vollbild Film GmbH

Stories from the Debris Jennifer Rainsford (Sweden)
Production company: Momento Film

The Shadow of the Desert Juan Manuel Sepúlveda (Mexico)
Production company: Fragua Cine

The White Chief - Grzegorz Piekarski (Poland/France/Croatia)
Production companies: Kijora FilmLa BêteDinaridi Film 

This Land of Mine - Diane-Sara BouzgarrouThomas Jenkoe (France)
Production company: Films de Force Majeure

Voronoff, from the Planet of the Humans Giovanni Cioni (Italy/France)
Production companies: GraffitiDoc srlZadig Productions 

Rough Cut Lab

Dedicated to films in the final stages of production, the Rough Cut Lab offers a space for coaching, expert advice and privileged access to decision makers. The idea is to assist filmmakers in finding the best way to finish their films. 

The Raggio Verde Subtitling Award went to the Italian project Up to Down by Nazareno Manuel Nicoletti. The film, set in the desolate outskirts of Naples, amidst the ruins of social housing projects that were never put into operation, follows several characters, depicting fragments of their broken lives.

The other three projects selected for the Rough Cut Lab were Welcome to My Home by Maria Müller (Switzerland/Colombia), I Owe You a Letter About Brazil by Carol Benjamin (Brazil) and Stásis by Mantas Kvedaravicius (Lithuania/France/Ukraine).

Docs in Progress

Docs in Progress presents a selection of eight feature-length documentaries at the post-production stage, with a trailer and an excerpt available to be viewed by festival representatives, distributors, producers and TV commissioning editors.  

The Alphapanda Audience Engagement Award, consisting of a six-month social-media campaign, went to the Chilean-Colombian co-production Lemebel by Joanna Reposi.

The seven other projects selected for Docs in Progress were: Baracoa by Pablo Briones & The Moving Picture Boys (Switzerland/Colombia/USA), My Father's Acres by Carl Olsson (Denmark), Just a Game by Daniela Lanzuisi (France), Last Night I Saw You Smiling by Kavich Neang (Cambodia), Speak So I Can See You by Marija Stojnić (Serbia/Croatia), The Islanders by Stéphane Goël (Switzerland/Chile), and Kongo by Hadrien La Vapeur and Corto Vaclav (France). 

Focus Serbia 

For the last eight years, Visions du Réel and its industry section have shone a spotlight on a southern or eastern country, and in 2018, it was Serbia’s turn. While the Focus included a selection of 18 Serbian films screened at the festival (see the list here), the industry sidebar organised panel discussions, a pitching session for projects and co-production meetings.

Mladen Kovačević's Merry Christmas, Yiwu, a co-production between Serbia's Horopter Film Production, France's Bocalupo Films and Sweden's Sisyfos Film Production, received the visions sud est Award, worth CHF 10,000. The film is a melancholic portrait of the Chinese city of Yiwu, home to over 600 factories that produce nearly two-thirds of the Christmas decorations consumed worldwide.

The other four projects pitched were: Everyone Is Looking for What They Don't Have by director Stefan Malešević and producer Jelena Angelovski, of Tri Osmine; Freedom Landscapes by director-producer Marta Popivoda and producer Dragana Jovović, of Theory at Work; The Black Wedding by director Dragan Nikolić and producer Jovana Nikolić, of Prababa Production; and The Labudovic Reels by director-producer Mila Turajlić, of Serbia's Dribbling Pictures, and producer Carine Chichkowsky, of France's Survivance.

Swiss Films market preview 

In collaboration with Visions du Réel, Swiss Films presented six promising Swiss documentary films in production, which are about to be launched on the festival circuit and are poised to receive worldwide distribution. 

The films presented were: Closing Time by Nicole Vögele (production: Beauvoir Films/Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg), Back from Idomeni (working title) by Anna Thommen and Lorenz Nufer (Sulaco Film/SRF), 2.8 Days by Jacqueline Zünd (Real Film/SRG SSR), Eisenberger by Hercli Bundi (Mira Film/SRF), Isola by Aurelio Buchwalder (maximage/Zurich University of the Arts/SRF/RSI) and The Apollo of Gaza by Nicolas Wadimoff (Akka Films/National Film Board of Canada/RTS). 

id w / interactive documentary workshop 

The id w / interactive documentary workshop, supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture and MEDIA Desk Suisse, aims to enable Swiss and international professionals to seize the opportunities and challenges of ongoing audiovisual trends. Through lectures, case-study presentations and panels with established authors, producers and notable interaction-design experts, the participants become familiar with the new challenges and opportunities that digital storytelling is creating within the film and audiovisual creative industry (VR, AR, videogames and so on). The workshop is also project-orientated, and 11 international projects took shape by taking part in the Development Lab. For more information, click here.

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