Layers of Reality

With a challenging year behind us, we are looking forward to this festival edition with cautious optimism. While our team is very excited for Verzió to return to cinemas, we are also acutely aware that the pandemic is not over and that we must remain flexible and alert. Yet the latest documentary films and their creators, a unique community of researchers and artists infatuated with capturing reality, give us strength and encouragement. The stories they have painstakingly recorded and edited — whose protagonists range from struggling and visionary youth, to energetic centenarians — are both extraordinary and genuine. Their stories give viewers a glimpse at life in all of its complexity, multifacetedness, and unpredictability.  

We hope that the creativity and authenticity of these films will reach new audiences. This year, against all odds, Verzió plans physical screenings in Budapest, Pécs, Debrecen, Kecskemét, Szeged and Szombathely, as well as countrywide online viewing. The festival is also building new partnerships beyond the borders of Hungary; with this edition we will launch a new cooperation network, “Place to B”, with sister festivals in Bologna (Biografilm) and Biarritz (Fipadoc). Furthermore, along with a renewed DocLab program, we offer the possibility to connect with film professionals, civic activists, and educational practitioners from more than twenty countries. 

The range of topics, characters and visual languages the filmmakers have chosen to tell their stories is truly eye-opening. Taking this into consideration, this year’s festival has been extended to provide viewers with more opportunities to learn what is at stake for Belarusian protesters (Courage), immerse themselves in the lives of post-Brexit border commuters between the UK and Ireland (Four Seasons in a Days), follow the windy paths of young Muslim shepherds in rural Bosnia (Brotherhood), meet election candidates in Zimbabwe (President) or a family on a remote island in the Caspian Sea (Ostrov – Lost Island), discover the all-penetrating power of surveillance (All Light, Everywhere), learn about the lure and hidden pitfalls of the gig economy (The Gig is Up) and gain intimate insight into the cost of a radical career change (A New Shift). This is but a limited selection from the more than 60 versions of reality that await you at this year’s festival. 


Welcome to the 18th Verzió. Join us, in cinemas and online, in exploring the many layers of reality.


Oksana Sarkisova
Festival Director