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Cinéma du réel is opening a window dedicated to heritage documentary cinema and those involved in it, a window for exhibition, reflection and debate, to help structure an ecosystem conducive to the development of its distribution to as many people as possible.

Documentary film, like fiction, boasts some great auteurs, masterpieces and a rich and valuable history. It also boasts some remarkable restoration initiatives and in-depth work that needs to be supported. At a time when the market for heritage films is developing mainly in favour of fiction films, Cinéma du réel is organising an event to encourage heritage broadcasters and distributors to broaden their offer to documentary films.

With this in mind, each year a round-table discussion brings together professionals, experts and film-makers to discuss one of the many issues involved in conservation: the question of formats (film, video, digital), sound, publishing and exhibition circuits, from cinemas to festivals, possible links with research, and so on. More than just a forum for exchange, the ultimate aim of these meetings is to gradually build an integrated industry.

The Classic documentary film rendez-vous also provides an opportunity for documentary restoration projects to be presented at the festival to professionals working in the field (festival programming, distribution, exhibition, platforms/VoD). As well as nurturing distribution projects around restored films, the aim of these meetings is to encourage the emergence of a multi-channel distribution network that will provide outlets for heritage documentaries.

The selection of projects is based on an active search among international institutions and private structures involved in the restoration and distribution of classic films.