Visions Du Reel
Visions Du Reel

In Locarno recently we met with old film circuit friend Gudula Meinzolt (from our Mannheim Meetings days), who now holds the Head of DOCM position at Doc Outlook-International Market at VISIONS DU REEL Festival International du Cinema Nyon, Switzerland.

This documentary market is one of the best known and respected in Europe and the world.  

Lots of careers began here, the Market focusing on exchanges between international filmmakers of different career levels.  Meetings held at Nyon focus on creative aspects of documentary film making.  The films are creative and experimental.  The questions ‘how are films made?’ ‘and told?’ and filmmakers are encouraged to tell and show those ‘invisible’ aspects and get down and discuss passion and emotions.  There is an insistence there that the films discussed MUST be made!

The Doc Outlook-International Market is 12 years old now and growing.

It focuses on the documentary features in development.  Pitching to acquire co producers is a goal.  Short pitches are presented at round tables, trailer is shown, developing projects seek financing from TV buyers attending.  Films are not yet in production but seek to get set up, perhaps as co productions, some TV financing could help, co production, TV funds.

Gudula spoke about other docu markets.

IDFA – Nyon is not as big as this.  The smaller environment makes it easier to connect, it is intimate, very easy to talk.

Sheffield – Different from, here too, Nyon is smaller, tries to be and emphasize creativity, the personal and artistic. 


Another Nyon specialty is the focus on the diversity of film styles, subjects, emphasizing the creative, personal and artistic.  It emphasizes the personal voice of directors to discuss CINEMA, the creative aspects of modern distribution, how to reach different audiences.  Also discussed how to distribute via social networks.  They are inviting crowd funding groups to participate in discussions.

Gudula Meinzolt
Gudula Meinzolt

Gudula also talked up some special sections.

The Rough Cut Lab – will have 4 films.  These are first or second feature docu makers with a tutor from the biz and they will criticize, discuss how to proceed funding, distribution, sudeince development etc.

Docs In Progress – will have 7 films at rough cut stage.  This emphasizes outreach to buyers and film fest directors, programmers to get the film out.

One country will be focused on for the next two sections –

Focus Talk – 5 projects.  These will be well developed, in post production, seeking co producers.

There is also the large Media Library (online, 400 films).  This is a selective Market, filmmakers can apply or there are selected films from IMCINE, Chile, Cracow or from various international sales agents.

The Festival program contains 180 films.  These are features, shorts, medium length productions.

The website is excellent at

from their website the Fest explains itself -

The Festival

Originating in the trend for ciné-clubs, the Festival first came into being in 1969. At the end of the seventies, it reached its first stage of maturity. It was in Nyon that it became possible to discover the films produced in the countries of the Eastern bloc, as well as those from other parts of the world, without forgetting Swiss productions which have always been outstanding for their subject matter and aesthetic qualities. It was also in Nyon that the various struggles for independence found an echo : ranging from the Third World countries to the emancipation of women and even taking in sexual liberation.

Aqabat-Jaber - Peace with no Return
Aqabat-Jaber - Peace with no Return

Visions du Réel

The evolution of the Festival continued in 1995, when a new management was appointed. Renamed from then on « Visions du Réel », the event very quickly made a name for itself as one of the most important rendez-vous of this speciality cinema, both in Switzerland and on the international scene.

Alongside a programme planning which encourages meetings and dialogue between every form of cinema du réel (experimental films, essays, diaries, family films, major reports, historical inquiries, epic or fragmentary stories), events such as Etats des Lieux and their Workshops which welcome the illustrious names of cinema (Johan van der Keuken, Robert Kramer, Alexandre Sokourov, Robert Frank, Raymond Depardon or Frederick Wiseman) have become musts. As for Séances spéciales, or Special Sessions, these shed new enlightenment on a group of coherent films ("Corpus Chisti" and Arte, Les Hommes-livres et Memoriav, Steps for the Future and Atelier 02, etc.).

Doc Outlook-International Market

Finally, it should be noted that although Visions du Réel has as its principal ambition to show the best of films being currently produced to the largest possible public, the Festival also invites professionals to promote the films. These include sales agents, commissioning editors and programme buyers, distributors, independent producers and directors, who are invited to exchange information, points of view and projects during special brunches where they can meet interesting and important people and enjoy informal discussions. In addition, every year, Market Screenings places some two hundred carefully selected films at the disposal of broadcasters.


Visions du Réel co-founder of Visions Sud Est

Swiss Fund for Production aid

Visions Sud Est Swiss fund supports film productions from Asia, Africa and Latin America, guarantees their distribution in Switzerland and helps in making them visible worldwide. For further information please visit the homepage:

DOC ALLIANCE - The New Deal for Feature Documentaries

Doc Alliance is the result of a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals:

CPH:DOX Copenhagen

Doclisboa (from 2013)

DOK Leipzig, FID Marseille

Jihlava IDFF

Planete Doc Film Festival Warsaw

and Visions du Réel.

Route 181 - Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel
Route 181 - Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel

The aim of Doc Alliance is to support the diverse nature of documentary film and to increase audience awareness of the fascinating possibilities of this genre, which often manages to be more moving than the world of fiction. Doc Alliance represents a dynamic platform offering filmmakers and producers alternative forms of distribution for films that are often difficult to get onto the market. The purpose of Doc Alliance is to help documentary films reach as many viewers as possible, and to systematically support their distribution through their festival markets and online platform

About the Festival (from website)

Our commitment

The objective of Visions du Réel is to show the world as it is perceived, to break away from the mainstream. All the players of the brand Visions du Réel are mobilised to ensure a very high level of quality in their work and to contribute to the common good. The Festival offers a diversity of committed and inspired points of view whilst making it possible to correlate experiences, reflections and aspirations.

The Ethics

The pursuit of excellence, loyalty, tolerance, respect, honesty, and equity, these are the values that must not only influence our relations with others, but must also be found in the films programmed.

At the Crossroads of Europe

We are not just another international Festival. Situated in Nyon in Switzerland - geographically at the centre of Europe - we want to be a crossroads, a stopping place presenting real opportunities for new discoveries, encounters and discussions. We work in French, German and English. The Festival is an axis which provides a link between French and German-speaking cultures especially.


This is a requirement that must ensure and demonstrate the leadership, professionalism and high quality of our work. It must emerge at each decision and at every stage of the Festival´s development, ranging from programming and communication, to management and administration.


Since the beginning of the Festival´s history the professionals of the sector have known that we make sure all the conditions a right for them to feel comfortable and to enable them to work in Nyon (the focus is on the films and the quality of the networks).

However, such an event without the public would have no reason for being. We seek to communicate our project to a great number of spectators from all walks of life. The Festival also seeks to convince those who do not yet know us.

The Sensations

To show the world as it is experienced implies our paying special attention to awakening the senses of our audiences. Emotions and enjoyment, the stimulation of intelligence and curiosity, should be the driving force behind all our endeavors.

The Specialist - Portrait of a Modern Criminal
The Specialist - Portrait of a Modern Criminal

Our Strategy, where are we headed?, our ambition

We wish to preserve our international stature and to reinforce our position as a « first choice », as an essential event for the professionals of the sector of cinema du réel in Europe, but also in other continents.

How to define us?

Our positioning

Visions du Réel is a unique international Festival providing an overview of the best of cinema du réel. It is the most important in French-speaking Switzerland, and as one of the three main festivals in Switzerland (along with Soleure and Locarno) to be recognised by the Confederation, it features among key international events.

Our audience

Festival attendance is increasing every year and is varied: professionals of the film sector, journalists, school children, students, politicians, local entrepreneurs and many members of the ordinary public, curious and seeking a change from the mainstream, make themselves receptive to a perception of the world as it is experienced.

In Nyon the cinéma du réel is a cinema in its own right, a moving, intelligent, amusing, serious, and enriching spectacle.

Visions du Réel, Festival international de cinéma Nyon