Seraina Rohrer • Director of the Solothurn Film Festival
by Muriel Del Don
- Seraina Rohrer, director of the Solothurn Film Festival since 2011, talks to us with passion and determination about the festival's 50th edition
Seraina Rohrer, since 2011 director of the Solothurn Film Festival, speaks to us with passion and determination about the festival's 50th edition. She reveals to Cineuropa her fondness of Swiss cinema but also her fears in view of its future.
Cineuropa: Could you tell us briefly about the line-up for this 50th edition of the Solothurn Film Festival?
Seraina Rohrer: First of all, the line-up is made in part based on current production. This year sees a considerable number of young directors who are screening their debuts. I'm delighted to note that a number of these young talents already have a very clear idea of the type of cinema that they want to make. Thus we've decided to open this 50th edition with the movie Unter der Haut by Claudia Lorenz which is also her first feature film. In my opinion, this film is representative of the production by these young Swiss directors who have a very clear vision of cinema in terms of content but also form. Obviously, there won't only be films by young talents in Solothurn, the big and world-famous maestros such as Ursula Meier, Freddy M. Murer and Christian Frei, just to name a few, will also be present. These seasoned talents have for years contributed to the reputation of Swiss cinema. Even though we're celebrating 50 years, we've decided to not only look back but rather to tackle the challenges to come: digitalisation first and foremost. That's why we wanted to launch this year the new portal film.ch. We would like to create a kind of IMDB, a dictionary for Swiss cinema. The idea is to promote Swiss cinema all throughout the year and for a broad audience.
You say that you're delighted to host lots of debut films by young directors. Why? In your opinion, could we talk of a new generation of Swiss filmmakers?
One can observe a general trend of focusing on the private sphere, on everyday life. If you compare this to the Solothurn Festival of 50 years ago you note that political issues have given way to more private concerns. I think that this trend is extremely interesting. There is an ever-growing desire among these young directors to work together. The film Chrieg [+see also:
interview: Simon Jaquemet
film profile] that was screened in San Sebastian and at the Zurich Festival and, which will be screened in Solothurn, is a case in point. This film by Simon Jaquemet was developed by the Zurich group 8Horses, made up of eleven creative youths. Their idea is to make movies that have a very clear cinema language and that are devised especially for the festival circuit. These young directors aim to first and foremost exist in the festival circuit, to tell their story and to make auteur cinema; by prioritising the group dynamic.
What, in your opinion are the main difficulties faced by Swiss cinema, notably in relation to the discontinuation of European aid from the MEDIA programme?
It's true that since the vote in February 2014 everything about Swiss cinema has become a bit complicated. The problem is mainly that we were excluded from European contracts and that the link with networks was cut. The link with these networks is extremely important for Swiss cinema because it provides access to different workshops, festivals…So we have real concerns in terms of international visibility. It's a bit strange to be at the heart of Europe, in a world that's ever more complex and global and at the same time excluded and separated from that same reality. For filmmakers who work on a global and international level and who consider themselves as European filmmakers the current situation is very difficult.
What advice would you give to young Swiss directors?
It's always difficult to give advice because you have loads of different personalities but, all the same, I'd say that you should always follow the path that you've chosen, believe in your personal and private vision of cinema. I believe it's very important that young filmmakers try at all costs to make « their » own cinema. You should always maintain your own artistic vision, that's unique and you must never compromise on it
(Translated from French)