Thom Vander Beken’s documentary film I Know You Are There is to have its world premiere at Visions du Réel, the documentary festival in Nyon, Switzerland (21-29 April). The competition also includes shorts by Pieter-Jan De Pue, Ira A. Goryainova and Farah Kassem, while filmmaker Sofie Benoot will be pitching her upcoming project at the festival’s co-production platform.
I Know You Are There is premiering in the ‘Regard Neuf’ section, a competitive line-up of first films by new talents. The film, which is produced by Minds Meet (Blue Silence, Violet), follows the story of coma patients, their families and the medical team at the University Hospital in Liège. With the help of new techniques and improved diagnoses, the Coma Science Group tries to communicate with these patients. But how far can science go? Who decides if a life has meaning. And who can decide if a human life should end?
Nyon’s Short Film Competition also includes a new work by Pieter-Jan De Pue, whose debut feature The Land of the Enlightened was internationally acclaimed. For Girls and Honey, produced by De Chinezen, the director travelled to Ukraine where Anatoli and Svetlana have been living under fire ever since the war broke out between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian army. Anatoli has been a beekeeper all his life; abandoning them is no option, and that makes the elderly couple the last remaining inhabitants of the besieged village.
The competition also includes You Make a Better Window Than You Do a Door by Doc Nomads-student Farah Kassem. It's the universal story of all those who, one day, must leave and fight not to forget.
In addition, the International Competition for Medium-Length Films presents The Ruins of Europe, a 47-minute graduation film directed by RITCS student Ira A. Goryainova. Following a young Parisienne who is a modern-day Ophelia/Elektra, the film is an unsettling, dark, thought-provoking, meditative trip through a Europe in crisis.
Finally, Pitching du Réel, the festival’s co-production platform, also welcomes Sofie Benoot (Blue Meridian, Fronterismo) who is to pitch her upcoming project, Solid Ground. A documentary essay with an expected release in 2018, the film explores the relationship between humans and stone. Flemish producer is Inti Films (N-The Madness of Reason).