A Sleepless World

Without sleep, we can also think, create, watch. By Isabelle Gattiker, general and artistic director of the FIFDH.

For the second year in a row, the Festival cannot be held in person. The FIFDH team has built this edition in a context of enormous turmoil. Over the past year, what has become of spaces of debate, as government decisions fall week after week?  How can we stimulate our urge for discovery and our imagination while all cultural venues remain closed? The world seems sleepless, exhausted, emptied of utopias and dreams.

...and yet. Like all major crises, the pandemic is blowing headwinds: on the surface, rage, violence, blindness. But underneath, new forms of resistance gradually emerge. Without sleep, we can also think, create, watch. Against all odds, films continue to be made. Despite threats and silence, breathtakingly brave activists continue to struggle in the field. We have built this edition by trying to remain humble, lucid and keep an open heart. This has led us to test new formats, to conquer new visual, audio and artistic territories. We have seized the priorities of the moment, giving pride of place to exploration, desire, discovery and the unexpected. We have passionately sought to give an account of a world in the midst of change, interweaving burning themes, spaces of exploration and new forms of activism.

This programme is an experiment. The FIFDH has always been nomadic, this year it will be buzzing. We are offering it to you so that you can make it your own in complete freedom. Watch our films, comment on them, share your questions and your enthusiasm, and bestow the new Audience Award. Deepen the filmic experience with our video and audio content, specially created to prolong the experience. Participate in our Grand Rendez-Vous: an opportunity to interact live with extraordinary guests. Throughout the edition, be inspired by our portraits of activists. Embark with us on a year-long Great Journey. Discover the streets of Geneva, in pursuit of works displayed on a monumental wall, in train stations and on the plaine de Plainpalais. Finally, we will give the floor to you during a daily radio programme Comme un écho, created for the occasion and broadcast by Radio Vostok. Comme un écho - Like an echo, like an impulse, like a story of our times.

Whatever happens, let us remain impetuous, curious, undisciplined and compassionate.

Sleepless, but with eyes wide open. The entire FIFDH team wishes you a wonderful Festival!

Isabelle Gattiker
General and artistic director of the FIFDH