In 1978, the 3rd Rencontres internationales du cinéma direct “L’Homme regarde l’Homme”, created and initiated by Jacques Willemont and his magazine IMPACT, were organised by the Bibliothèque publique d’information at the Centre Pompidou.
In 1979, the Bibliothèque publique d’information created, at the Centre Pompidou, Cinéma du réel, an international festival of ethnographic and sociological films, with the support of the C.N.R.S. and the Comité du film ethnographique, with the aim of promoting documentary film.
The event is organized by the Bibliothèque publique d’information, in collaboration with the association Les Amis du Cinéma du réel, created in 1984..
The festival programmes documentary films, essays and experimentations in selections that reflect the diversity of genres and forms of cinematographic approach. It makes it one of the rare documentary film festivals that emphasizes the heritage and memory of the genre, while bringing them into dialogue with contemporary creation.
A discoverer of young talents, Cinéma du réel is just as attentive to established filmmakers, whose latest works it shows as well as older films. The festival has thus contributed to revealing on the international scene many directors, now known to the general public.