A festival is a common territory shared by viewers, films, and those who make them. Because it is the site of a dynamic conversation, it must set up conditions for the emergence and exchange of innovative ideas. Cinéma du Réel explores the state of documentary filmmaking, its forms and evolutions, and how filmmakers chose to approach them. As such, it is an exploratory festival, a shared space of investigation.
Each year, Cinéma du Réel showcases documentary productions from all over the world, presenting the public with a wide range of forms and cinematic approaches, and brings together the filmmakers who make them. In addition to the films in competition, it offers an out-of-competition selection of rare, heritage or contemporary productions, and throws light on the formal developments and experiments affecting documentary filmmaking in relation to the history of film. The selection highlights films that are shaped by and convey first-hand experiences of the world.
Cinéma du Réel positions itself both as the centre of French documentary filmmaking and as a go-to gathering place for people making and shaping the documentary scene across the globe. As the professional component of the festival, ParisDOC supports emerging and established industry professionals, assisting them throughout the various stages of their projects, from the writing of a film all the way to its release or restoration. As part of Réel Université, Cinéma du Réel also works in collaboration with students and plays a dynamic part in the professionalization of younger generations.