Visions du Réel 2017

South African cinema was at the heart of the Focus section of the 48th edition of Visions du Réel in 2017. Visions du Réel honoured many different shades of documentary filmmaking in its ‘South Africa, the ‘Rainbow Nation’.

Visions du Réel is one of the only Swiss film festivals to present a majority of its films as world or international premieres. Alongside a very varied programme, the Festival also offers masterclasses, debates with film directors, meetings with professionals and many cultural mediation activities.

The Festival also has a film market with Industry activities, one of the most important in Europe. Visons du Réel’s Industry selects and promotes films at every stage of their development and offers a key networking platform for professionals from all around the world. In addition to the Festival, Visions du Réel On Tour promotes the cinéma du réel all year long by organising screenings all over Switzerland.

For the seventh consecutive time the Festival cooperated for the Focus section with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), this time to highlight the creativity and diversity of South African filmmaking, exploring personal, political and social topics.

DFA member Francois Verster was one of the facilitators of the Visions du Reel workshop in Cape Town alongside veteran filmmaker Sylvia Vollenhoven


DFA member Karin Slater gets feedback from the participants at the Visions du Reel market readiness workshop in Cape Town


Nineteen contemporary SA documentaries were screened during the Festival (21–29 April 2017). Five film projects still in development were presented by the South African directors and producers with an opportunity for one-to-one meetings with international TV commissioning editors, producers, distributors and funds during the Focus Talk (25 April 2017).

At the end of this special day offering discussions, case studies and gatherings with the South African guests – directors, producers, film institutions – to explore the South African cinematographic landscape of the past ten years, as well as the current (co-)production and funding situation, the most promising project was awarded the Prix visions sud est, with a prize of CHF 10,000. The winner was Days of Cannibalism by Teboho Edkins.

“South Africa offers a high quality cinema that cannot be separated from its intense and painful history that has been particularly influenced by the Apartheid Regime, which inevitably influences today’s documentary films”, explains Luciano Barisone, Director of Visions du Réel. The public is invited to discover a complex and multifaceted country, populated by many ethnicities and with 11 official languages.

“Reflections about the past are omnipresent, but it is the preoccupation about the present and the future of South Africa that dominates the films of these talented filmmakers”, adds Barisone.


Dedicated meeting space for #DocFilmSA delegates


One of the benefits of joining #DocfilmSA is access to apply to attend markets & festivals as part of DFA delegation supported by the DTI

The Geneva and Suisse Romande area is a goldmine for cinema lovers – films from all over the world, often in original versions and in easy-to-reach locations.



A short ferry ride and you’re in France



‘To create a film that has a life, build around its incredible moments’ – Jan Rofekamp: international distributor (Photo by Jessica Pitchford)


Obakeng Malope, Enver Samuel, Kgomotso Nkele and Mamokuena Makhema


Lieza Louw, Enver Samuel and Pat van Heerden on Lake Geneva


Mamokuena Makhema and Enver Samuel

LISTEN: FOCUS TALK (in English), Discussion & Project Presentations

Via discussions and case studies our South African guests – directors, producers, film institutions – explore the South African contemporary documentary landscape as well as the current (co-)production and funding situation. Five projects from South Africa are presented, and producers, distributors, programmers, sales representatives and the jury have the opportunity to meet the project teams.