In 2016, Oxford Dictionary named “post-truth” its word of the year, but the protean meaning of this phenomenon remains relevant and puzzling today. To what extent do “post-truth” narratives shape the image of the world we inhabit? To what extent can we separate facts from opinions in the audio-visual world, where to see is to believe? How can we make sense of the past and present through images? What reference points are used for a sound judgment? How can we transform the voyeuristic pleasure of observing others into a dialogue that changes its participants and their environment? The films in our program, and the discussions we invite you to join, aim at engaging audiences with these questions, and encourage an examination of the multiple ways that complex screen versions of reality can be grasped.
Documentary films are the lasting traces that show a variety of interpretations of today’s state of affairs. This year we will introduce you to films that discuss the consequences of swiftly changing labor markets, the contested and divisive legacies of the past, the plight of people afflicted by war and social injustice, the human imprint on the environment, and our role and responsibilities in ensuring its survival. We will also hold multiple discussion panels with filmmakers and film professionals, and an extended range of programs for young audiences. The films in the program speak to us about today’s anxieties and hopes. They shorten the distances that separates us from people in other countries and on other continents, and help us to perceive the world as an interconnected place—a place whose survival and well-being is a shared responsibility.
While these films are traces of the present, they are also directed towards the future. Just as John Webster’s Little Yellow Boots, filmed as a cinematic letter to his future great-grandchild, every film is a time capsule, and the more people it touches with its message, the more lasting its trace will be. It is both tangible and intangible. We are all carriers of multiple traces—from the inheritance of our genetic code to the physical and digital prints that we leave behind with each touch of the digital screen. This year’s festival program thus constitutes an intangible imprint; if we engage with the films and the questions they address, the course of the future might also change.
On behalf of the Verzió team, I invite you to explore the latest visual investigations into the state of our complex and distressed world.