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Chronology 2

1988 – 1999: The rise of the documentary (The television years) 

1988: 10th Festival. Departure of Catherine Blangonnet and Marie-Christine de Navacelle. The latter is replaced by Suzette Glénadel as General Delegate. Creation of a French selection called “Panorama”. From now on, each year will be devoted to the cinematic exploration of a particular country or geographical area. 

1989: Television’s contribution to the festival intensifies with Canal + and especially La Sept-Arte. “The strongest films are those made ‘in the first person’, or which demonstrate a close familiarity between the director and his or her subject”, notes the selection committee. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, very active in the distribution of award-winning films abroad, also offers a prize, which will become the Louis Marcorelles Award. 

1991: The festival opens just after the first Gulf War, still fresh in everyone’s minds. For the first time, video almost equals film, at least in France, while film still dominates the international selection. 

1992: Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson return to the festival with the final part of their Papuan trilogy, Black Harvest. Third Grand Prix after First Contact (1983) and Joe Leahy’s Neighbors (1989), a unique occurrence in the annals of the festival. 

1993: The French documentary industry is doing well, surpassing fiction in export turnover. But television molding becomes a threat, as does competition from reportage and sensationalist films. The festival is dedicated to Serge Daney. 

1994: The chaos of the world invites itself into a new programme, “Le réel à vif”, where Radovan Tadic shares the daily life of the inhabitants of besieged Sarajevo (Les Vivants et les Morts de Sarajevo). 

1995: For the centenary of the cinematograph, a flagship programme outside the competition, “Cent ans de réel: l’expérience des limites” (100 Years of the Real : Experimenting with limits), revisits the history of cinema, at the point where the conventional separation between fiction and documentary becomes blurred. 

1996: Africa is the guest continent, with a retrospective of 80 films. The selection marks a return to feature-length films made over several years, to compete with the more rapidly produced films consumed by television. 

1997: An effect of the globalization of documentary film production, the emergence of a promising Chinese school, which wins the Grand Prix that year with Duan Jinchuan’s No. 16 Barkhor South Street
1998: For its 20th anniversary, the festival is being held at the Cinéma des Cinéastes, due to renovation work at the Centre Pompidou. Only two theaters, instead of the usual four. Over 2000 films have been shown since the festival’s beginning.