“What is special in the Industry section is that we have a very interesting profile that is similar to the festival itself, combining an artistic and ambitious view on the films and the visions of the filmmakers,” explains Visions du Réel’s co-head of Industry Gudula Meinzolt (a duty she shares with Violeta Bava).
“On the other hand, as a market we are interested in seeing the projects travel as widely as possible. That combination is very important, as well as to keep the [sense of] communication and exchange.”
She underlines that auteur film is very much within her sights, with a broad spectrum ranging from portraits to essays to classical documentary. “For us, as for the festival, what is important is the very personal vision of the filmmaker and the need [they feel] to make their films”.
The Industry line-up in 2020 includes the staple elements (amended for online) of Pitching du Réel (15 new international co-production projects), Rough Cut Lab (in which 4 international projects in advanced post-production get expert feedback) and Docs in Progress for projects approaching completion that are in need of final partners.
The Pitching the du Réel projects come from all corners of the globe, ranging from Monica Zhu’s engagingly titled Fading Youth with Fresco (China) to the Norwegian Petter Aaberg’s Nightcrawlers (pictured above) to the Indonesian Voice of Baceprot (Yosep Anggi Noen).
The projects in Docs in Progress are similarly geo-diverse with representation from as far afield as the States (How to Have an American Baby, Leslie Tai), Thailand (First Cuts are the Deepest, Sopawan Boonimitra) and Chile (Notes for a Film, Ignacio Agüero).
“We know that there will be time differences as we have projects from the US, India and China, so we have pre-registered the pitches, but it will be a live event.,” adds Meinzolt. “It’s also in some way an opportunity to invite people to attend the pitches and the round tables from quite far away, who couldn’t come normally. So on one hand the situation is bad, but on the other it’s an opportunity.”
Meinzolt admits to having had sleepless nights when assessing the 300+ submissions for this year’s final selection. “I am a producer as well and I know what it means. You need market gatherings to discuss your project, to get to know people and to co-produce it, which is very difficult anyway. But there is nothing without co-operation. We appreciate very highly the co-production spirit of all of these project teams.”
The Industry offer also includes the Switzerland Meets the UK event, co-organised with the BFI, during which Swiss producers and representatives of public financing and television will meet their Brit counterparts to work out ways of working together. The (now) online arrangement is based on the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production CETS.
Additionally, on May 4 Swiss Films will present a selection of promising Swiss docs in production which are set for launch on the festival circuit and for worldwide distribution. The Swiss Film Previews event offers sales agents, international distributors and festival delegates the opportunity to discover these new docs during an online Zoom Conference with selected clips and a moderated Q&A with the producer and/or director present.
Meinzolt sums up the sense of camaraderie she notices specifically within the doc world during these weird and trying coronal times. “It is good to be part of this documentary community spirit which is very strong, probably much moreso than in the fiction world. We know each other. We know how difficult this situation is (if maybe more for others than for us), and we want to be part of this movement to continue and see what we can do together and for each other.”