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Visions du réel reinvents its 51st edition which will unspool entirely online


- The organisers of the Nyon-based festival will honour their commitments despite the restrictions imposed as a result of Coronavirus

Visions du réel reinvents its 51st edition which will unspool entirely online
Director Claire Denis, this year’s Maître du Réel Award winner

The two major developments as regards this 51st edition of the Visions du réel Festival - which is lengthening its duration by a week (now running 17 April to 2 May) - both relate to its form: it will unfold entirely online and the selected films can be watched for free.

As a result of the decisions taken by the Swiss Federal Council and the canton of Vaud on 13 March - banning gatherings of five people or more and, consequently, closing movie theatres until at least 30 April - the Visions du réel Festival has had to totally rethink its concept, deciding to uphold its programme (competitions, market and masterclasses) but by taking on an unprecedented, alternative form.

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The new digital appearance of the event will allow the general public to watch the selected films, therefore ensuring the latter still benefit from the precious showcasing they were set to enjoy (especially those which had offered to world premiere at the festival). The films in the various competitions (International Feature Film Competition, Burning Lights and Grand Angle) will be available to view on dedicated streaming platforms for a limited time, by way of a limited number of virtual seats, thereby replicating the very same conditions as a proper film screening. The Industry sidebar of the event will also acquire a digital form, which has the advantage of opening up access to a worldwide level without anyone needing to wrestle (or at least needing to wrestle to the same extent) with budget or time restrictions.

What we do know at this point is the name of this year’s Maître du Réel Award winner: Claire Denis, one of the most important filmmakers in the modern-day film landscape, to whom the festival will pay tribute and who, for her part, will show her gratitude by delivering a highly-anticipated masterclass (28 April). The other two major masterclasses of this year’s event will be delivered by the Brazilian director Petra Costa - an artist who isn’t afraid of taking on her country’s government in the name of democracy and freedom of expression, and who was nominated for this year’s Best Documentary Oscar thanks to The Edge of Democracy - and the internationally renowned Swiss-Canadian director Peter Mettler. The hybrid style of the latter, which is part experimental, part documentary and part fictional, has transformed him into a leading figure of “Ontario’s New Wave” movement.

The exact duration of these films’ availability in digital form and the format of the afore-mentioned masterclasses (it’s highly likely they’ll be pre-recorded) will be announced on 30 March, alongside the full festival programme.

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(Translated from Italian)

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