Doclisboa – About the 18th edition of the festival

We are living through complex and uncertain times that pose a series of challenges to those who make, who show and who watch cinema. We have been working so that the 18th edition of Doclisboa responds to these challenges with new ways of being together and taking care of each other. Doclisboa is a place of meeting around cinema, and it is in the theaters that we want to continue to collectively investigate the world. We propose to build a festival that responds to the times but that preserves our way of being: that of sharing, of questioning, of seeing and thinking with the other. In this exceptional edition, the festival opens itself to a new format and will explore its programming in six different moments, between October 2020 and March 2021.

From the 22nd of October to the 1st of November, the first moment of the festival will take place. From November to March programming will then be presented one week a month, in the usual venues. This year’s edition will not be structured through the usual sections and competitions, but will maintain the plurality of looks, languages and ways of thinking in each moment. The program will be accompanied by a greater number of debates and conversations, in which we will explore the possibilities and issues raised by the films shown.

The attentive eyes that Doclisboa has received in recent years from all who visit us is of enormous importance for the films we present. Programmers, distributors and exhibitors discover films at the festival that lead to other screening possibilities. The recently launched Nebulae – the aggregator of all Doclisboa’s activities dedicated to the industry – is a fundamental space for enhancing the circulation of our films. This year, whilst not being able to guarantee the sustained physical presence of participants from a significant territorial plurality, we will adapt our industry activities using digital platforms. We are already working to ensure that these tools enhance the possibilities of Nebulae as a space of encounters and creative development, both in terms of its range of activities and participants. Our commitment to the films we select remains: Doclisboa is an encounter with the public, but also an encounter with everyone who can take these films to other screens and other audiences.

The current situation makes the difficulties and challenges of making and showing cinema in Portugal even more evident. In addition to all present restrictions, we are also faced with insufficient cultural and labor policies, which lack due respect for the professionals of the sector. Our solidarity is total, and we reiterate that each Portuguese film shown at this year’s festival will intrinsically be, through their very fact of having been made, an act of resistance.

Resistance is also the act of going to the theater. We conceive of cinema as an art of collective experience. By extending in time the presentation of our programming in Lisbon’s various venues, we hope to contribute to the reconstruction of a gesture that brings those who watch and those who make films together.

Until June 30th, submissions will remain open and we will carefully consider the films that arrive. We would like to thank all the filmmakers and producers who join in our enthusiasm for the upcoming edition. We would like to thank all the partners who are preparing Doclisboa’s 18th anniversary with us. Soon, we will start announcing more details about the programme of an edition in which, not only in October but up until March, the whole world fits in Lisbon!

Joana Gusmão, Joana Sousa, Miguel Ribeiro


We are still accepting submissions for the festival. More info: https://bit.ly/3eoDZWj