Since its inception in 1995, Geneva International Film Festival (GIFF) has been supporting the role of independent authors in creative processes. At the crossroads of genres and disciplines, a place to experiment, get together and celebrate, the Festival showcases a program featuring films, TV series and digital arts for ten days every year. It also devotes considerable attention to innovation, music and up-and-coming talent in its various programs.

Located in the heart of the international city of Geneva, GIFF contributes to the development of the Swiss and international digital industry thanks to its professional program, the Geneva Digital Market, as well as its PLUGS program, which brings together a series of events organized each year in partnership with other international festivals, markets and institutions.

Recognized as a strategic player in the development of audiovisual arts in Switzerland, GIFF has enjoyed the active support of the City and the State of Geneva, the Federal Office of Culture, SSR SRG, Pro Helvetia, SWISSPERFORM as well as many private stakeholders.

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Anja Wyden Guelpa

President of the GIFF Foundation Board

Faced with the elements, let us be more creative than ever.

While the uncertain times we are going through could have been the bane of the 2020 event many times over, the Festival team preferred to roll up its sleeves and turn the crisis into an opportunity to rethink the Festival’s format, adapt and reinvent rather than give up. “Faced with the elements, let us be more creative than ever”, could thus be the motto of this new event, which I am pleased to announce today.

Without giving up, we went in search of new partnerships and are working with more venues than in other years. We had to consider changing safety constraints, but above all we had to return to and enhance the value of movie theaters, these meeting places and places of celebration of film creation, which have been deserted in this year of Covid.

The 2020 vintage will surprise and delight you with its exceptional selection of films and series, numerous interactive installations, its exhibition (free of charge) of young Swiss digital talents who have benefitted from GIFF’s professional programs, algorithmic perfumery and many other events.

Once again, this year GIFF has an exceptional surprise in store for its public, as it has temporarily taken over the Plaza’s construction site. This site, not yet renovated, will host the Festival for an extraordinary creation by Stephan Eicher and GIFF. The idea is to bring together, in a musical stage performance, films that never made it to the screen, imagined by major literary figures. An evening full of surprises…

Once again GIFF is proud to bring you the cutting edge of audiovisual creation and erases the boundaries between film, music and contemporary art, driven by the desire to constantly reinvent the contours of audiovisual creation and bring together artists, institutions and the public around renewed forms of expression that are more vibrant than ever.

Sami Kanaan

Mayor of Geneva

This is it!

We’re holding our breath: will venues fill up and screens come to life? In these times of uncertainty, keeping a watchful eye on the propagation of the coronavirus, cultural event organizers and their audiences can only cross their fingers and wait for the opening night, when they’ll finally be able to say: this is it!

I am therefore very pleased that this new GIFF can open with a diversified, multiplied and as always, ground-breaking program, while still remaining in compliance with the health measures required to contain the coronavirus – a program that once again demonstrates the cultural community’s responsiveness and creativity.

This 2020 GIFF is also special because it is the last with Emmanuel Cuénod at its helm. I would like to thank him for the fantastic impetus he has given the Festival and the international aura he has brought to it.

Godspeed to him and may you all enjoy the Festival!

Ivo Kummer

Head of the Cinema Section, Federal Office of Culture

The GIFF in all its forms

Since its inception, the Geneva International Film Festival (GIFF) has focused on the diversity of audiovisual forms. This direction is constantly reasserted, most recently with the convergence of work formats within several of the Festival’s sections and with the first title featured in the 2020 event, Les Bonimenteurs, a work at the crossroads of cinema and theater.

The plurality of formats and also of collaborations have multiplied and can only be hailed in these times when the spirit of community must prevail to maintain the diversity and accessibility of the cultural offer.

The possibility of a virtual as well as physical event can only be welcomed, because a festival, beyond the works it presents, lives according to the encounters and exchanges it brings about. We wish GIFF a wonderful Festival and salute the remarkable investment of Emmanuel Cuénod, who will be chairing it for the last time.

Danièle Wüthrich – Meyer


A Promising Formula

Unlike other festivals, GIFF offers not only an International Feature Film Competition, but also an International TV Series Competition and an International Immersive Works Competition. The European Script Award, as well as several transversal and multidisciplinary sections also feature in the program. Admittedly, this is nothing revolutionary for a Festival that recognized at the right time the need to group together cinema, television and digital arts through a critically-acclaimed innovative approach. This year, thanks to its recognition as an actor in the development of audiovisual arts, GIFF has begun a collaboration with the Locarno Film Festival with the screening of five short films as part of its “Pardi di domani 2020 Swiss Tour” program, while the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur will offer 20 short films. In addition, eight digital works by artists who participated in the Swiss Digital Talents, one of the programs of the Geneva Digital Market – the Festival’s professional section – will be exhibited as part of GIFF’s support for new formats.

The Fondation culturelle pour l’audiovisuel en Suisse and SWISSPERFORM would like to congratulate GIFF and wish it every success for its 26th Festival.

Gilles Marchand

SSR General Director

Pascal Crittin

RTS Director

With you, more than ever

A major actor in the development of audiovisual arts in Switzerland, a place for experimentation as well as a meeting place, the Geneva International Film Festival (GIFF) will bring together this year professionals and festivalgoers hoping more than ever to live a collective experience.

Together with you, we look forward to enjoying once again the special atmosphere of a darkened room, to share common emotions and discover new works. It is with absolute conviction that we have renewed our historical support to GIFF for its 26th event, which has certainly been adapted but which remains resolutely focused on sharing and creativity, like an act of resistance, which we support in the face of uncertainty.

SRG and RTS share the Festival’s vocation to encourage artists in their creative process and promote all forms of audiovisual creation. We have sought to help them to get through the crisis by supporting festivals in their virtual iterations, opening our digital antennae and platforms, increasing the diffusion of Swiss music and reasserting our commitment to the actors of the Swiss audiovisual industry.

With this perspective we are unveiling at GIFF, alongside previews of co-productions and TV series, our latest national project: the launch of Play Suisse, a streaming platform that groups together the best of our country’s productions and a shared venue that will offer the unique experience of discovering, beyond language barriers, the Swiss audiovisual landscape so rich with its diversity of talent, identity and expression.

We wish you beautiful moments of audiovisual discovery and immersion!

Emmanuel Cuénod

Executive and Artistic Director

Making a festival (despite everything)

Let’s not lie to ourselves, we are lucky. Lucky to be able to write these lines with the strong hope that we will be able to go forward with this 26th Festival. Lucky we did not have to cancel, unlike so many other events, for which we express once again our continued admiration. Lucky as well to have had the time to make adjustments, which, albeit significant, do not jeopardize our core mission, namely to enable you to discover, together, rare and unique film, television, and digital works, along with the creative talents behind them.

We are aware that this bubble of hope can burst at any moment. We are prepared. We have incorporated this risk as an essential factor in our work, as we have incorporated the efforts we are asking each and every one to make to abide by the health and safety measures that we have put in place. After all, they are but gestures of love. Towards oneself, towards others, towards the works we are presenting. 

Some of these works, as you will find out, taste of fire, ashes, and blood. They speak of our madness in the face of the world’s madness. They tell of our anger at seeing it repeatedly battered, bruised and sullied. Others taste of passion, flesh, alcohol, and folly. They speak of our need of madness in the face of the world’s chaos. They say that to anger we can respond with laughter, desire and pleasure. And then, some of the creations we are presenting are about something else altogether. They spring from mystery. From dreams. From elsewhere. They claim that, if this world is possible, then others must be too.

With all of this, we hope to put together a festival worthy of you and our guests. Many answered the call. Even when faced with our boldest challenges, such as the creative venture proposed to Stephan Eicher within the slumbering walls of the temple of cinema that is the Plaza. Similarly, many of our partners and sponsors have remained undeterred, embarking with us on this adventure whose outlines remain blurry, as we proceed on uneven terrain.

Finally, to finish on a more personal note, this 26th Geneva International Film Festival will be my last at its helm. I thus wanted to take this opportunity, through these ten days of visual artistry concocted by a team whose courage and tenacity I admire every day, to thank all the festivalgoers, partners, sponsors, filmmakers, distributors and other contributors who helped make this event a success. You have made it and continue to make it all possible.