U.S. filmmaker John Wilson will be a special guest of the 55th edition of Visions du Réel documentary film festival, which runs April 12 – 21 in Nyon, Switzerland. Wilson is best known for his HBO documentary series “How to With John Wilson,” nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2022.
Wilson will take part in a public discussion about his work as well as curate a “carte blanche” – a program of films that he loves. There will also be screenings of a selection of episodes from the HBO series as well as earlier works.
Wilson has been working in U.S. television for a decade, alternating between commissions and more personal projects, all with his trademark offbeat approach.
In “How to With John Wilson,” which ran from 2020 to 2023, he explores the eccentricities of daily life in New York through a succession of quirky and comic detours. Pastiching the video tutorials ubiquitous on social media, the show proposes a series of life lessons on trivial themes that border on the absurd, such as “How to Cook the Perfect Risotto,” “How to Put Up Scaffolding” and “How to Clean Your Ears.”
Each exploration sparks a succession of improbable meetings with strangers, some bizarre and fascinating, following an idiosyncratic logic and offbeat association of ideas.
“From an always unassuming starting point, John Wilson’s work reaches for disconcerting depth. His anti-spectacular cinematography, incorporating a kind of formal austerity inspired by Gonzo journalism, showcases the comic potential hidden in the banality of the everyday,” according to a statement from the festival. “Without ever distracting from the highly entertaining premise of his project, John Wilson implicitly questions the human condition, the absurdity of existence, and the complexity of the modern world in a set of remarkably effective DIY wild goose chases.”
Emilie Bujès, artistic director of the festival, said: “The aim of Visions du Réel is to ceaselessly explore the full spectrum of non-fiction cinema, in all its richness and diversity, and in all its freedom. Welcoming a filmmaker such as John Wilson is both a great honor and an incredible opportunity to showcase a singular and original body of work: joyful, personal, droll, collaborative and highly contemporary, all with cinephile eye.”
The full program will be announced on March 19.