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Nyon film festival spotlights reality

The festival showcases experimental films, diaries and in-depth reports (Vision du Réel)

The Nyon International Film Festival, which opened on Monday, is promising to project more than documentaries and showcase "real-life cinema".

Some 116 documentary films will be screened during the week-long event, which culminates in a ceremony where more than SFr66,500 ($49,000) in prize money will be awarded.

Experimental films, essays, diaries, family films and in-depth reports from around 30 countries are being screened in the town on the shores of Lake Geneva.

"It's our responsibility to explore the diversity of real-life cinema," explained the event's director Jean Perret.

Films which "provide personal and unusual descriptions and interpretations of past and present realities of the world" are given top billing.

Chechnya

For example, "Dance, Grozny Dance" tells the story of how children used dance to help them cope with the war in Chechnya.

The Swiss film, "Il viaggio a Misterbianco", by Paolo Poloni is about a journey of initiation in Italy.

Ten films by Austria's Ulrich Seidl will explore the phenomenon of the "lying documentary", where viewers are supposedly manipulated by film.

"They are fiction-documentaries," Perret commented. "It's a cinema that some consider scandalous, but its approach allows preconceived ideas and frustrations, or the xenophobic mentality of the Austrians, to be challenged."

Seidl will explain his work in a workshop scheduled to take place on Friday, May 2.

Workshop

Besides the International Premiere, in which 22 film are competing, there are several other categories, including a competition for first-time or self-taught film-makers.

Audiences will also be able to sample a selection of Swiss films by the likes of Frédéric Gonseth and Susanna Hübscher.

There will also be workshops where the audience can meet film-makers to discuss their work and other issues.

To cater for increased interest from the public, visitors to this year's festival will be able to view films in the Imperial Bioscope. The dome-like mobile cinema has been brought in from Brittany in France.

swissinfo, Samantha Tonkin

Key facts

Nyon's International Film Festival is called "Vision du Réel" or "Real-life cinema".
It has a budget of SFr1.3 million ($950,000) and will hand out prize money worth SFr66,500.
Some 20,000 spectators visited the event last year, and this year audiences can watch 116 films.
The longest film being screened is two hours 20 minutes, and the shortest is over in a minute.

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