Isabelle Gattiker, General Director and director of programs 

As an entire part of the planet plunges into darkness, swallowed by fear, by violence and by hate, it is sometimes difficult to cling to anything, in the frightening vertigo of one who peers from the edge of the abyss. Many show outrage, to show them, to show themselves, for it is vital. Yet in the end, once the surface is scratched, that nagging feeling remains... What’s the point. It’s too late. 

It is not. It is easy to rise above foolishness and hate. It is harder to touch the heart, to understand the real causes of horror and find ways to act. In those moments, we need as much action as we do words. 

In those moments, we all have a part to play to retain our forward thrust. Let us not leave human rights solely to UN bodies, to international conferences and political parties. Their work is essential, but we should reclaim what has always been ours : our right to question, to choose, to offer solutions. 

Show films. Because telling a story is an excellent starting point for references and common values. We strive to show works created by artists as worlds of their own, works that reveal our world as we have never seen it. Intimate, universal, inspired films that shake our certainties and topple us.n

Debate. After we are toppled, we can speak, argue, and listen. Debates of every ilk to interrogate, to critique, to dismantle. For we must dismantle to truly understand and rebuild. 

Gather. Gather people who attend for a myriad different reasons: for a film, a topic, an artist, even by chance. People of completely different origin, together in a room : a rare thing nowadays. A place to discover one another and rediscover the meaning of the word share, so much more complex and fascinating than clicks on a social network. 

Collaborate. Money for culture and education gets frozen? We need to invest differently: invest ideas, inspire one another and be inspired by one another. Gather talents, projects and strengths in Geneva, the ideal setting for such an adventure. 

So what’s the point ? We have a starting point and a direction : forward. Toward the light. During the coming days, darkness will only last a few seconds, those magical seconds before the screening starts. The curtain rises. It is time for the lights of cinema, time for the lights of bright ideas. As Geneva’s motto states : Post tenebras lux. 

Enjoy the festival.