Those Who Work and Chris The Swiss win big at the Swiss Film Awards
by Giorgia Del Don
- Held this year in Geneva, the Swiss Film Awards distinguished two first films by Antoine Russbach and Anja Kofmel respectively
Two first films were each handed three awards at the Swiss Film Awards 2019: the awards for Best Feature Film, Best Screenplay and Best Performance in a Supporting Role (Pauline Schneider, “Hilde” in the film) went to Those Who Work [+see also:
interview: Antoine Russbach
film profile] by Antoine Russbach, while Best Documentary, Best Film Score (Marcel Vaid) and Best Film Editing (Stefan Kälin) went to Chris the Swiss [+see also:
interview: Anja Kofmel
film profile] by Anja Kofmel.
Both films are the fruit of successful co-productions between: Switzerland (Box Productions, RTS Radio Télévision Suisse, Teleclub AG), and Belgium (Novak Prod and RTBF Radio Télévision Belge Francophone) for the former, and Switzerland (Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion AG, SRF Schweizer Radio und fernsehen), Croatia (Nukleus Film), Germany (ma.ja.de Filmproduktion) and Finland (IV Films) for the latter.
Bolstered by its five nominations, Those Who Work - the first film by the young Genevan director, Antoine Russbach, who trained at IAD in Brussels - managed to fight off competition of enviable pedigree such as The Innocent [+see also:
interview: Simon Jaquemet
film profile] by Simon Jaquemet (in competition in Toronto and San Sebastian), which, despite its four nominations, “only” took home the award for Best Actress (the stupendous Judith Hofmann, “Ruth” in the film), and Wolkenbruch’s Wondrous Journey into the Arms of a Shiksa [+see also:
film profile] by Michael Steiner, which attracted an audience of over 275,000 viewers and was the most successful Swiss film to hit national cinemas in 2018.
Despite also being one of the favourites, with its five enviable nominations, Wolkenbruch received just one award: Best Actor, bagged by Joel Basman (“Motti” in the film), a young, 29-year-old actor and one of the Berlinale’s Shooting Stars back in 2008.
Following its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in 2018 (in the Pardi di domani section), Those Who Work was screened at a number of international festivals such as CPH PIX Film Festival in Copenhagen, the International Francophone Film Festival in Namur and the Premiers Plans Film Festival in Angers, where it scooped the Audience Award.
Another first film which is bold both in terms of its content (the mysterious death of the director’s cousin during the Yugoslavian war) and form (the combined use of animation and archive footage), Chris The Swiss stands out among the other films nominated in the same category this year, whose directors all opted for a more “classic” documentary form. In addition to the Best Documentary Film award, Chris The Swiss also bagged Best Film Score (Marcel Vaid) and Best Film Editing (Stefan Kälin). Presented during Critics’ Week in Cannes, the film was subsequently selected for documentary film festivals such as DOK Leipzig in Germany and IDFA in Amsterdam, as well as animation festivals (Annecy, and Animafest in Zagreb).
Also in the category of documentaries, Eldorado [+see also:
film profile] by Markus Imhoof took home the award for Best Cinematography, thanks to Peter Indergand. The latter can now add this significant prize to a cabinet that’s already full-to-bursting and which includes the Special Jury Award for Cinematography, which he won at the Sundance Film Festival 2018 for Genesis 2.0 [+see also:
film profile], and his 2004 Emmy nomination for Best Cinematography for War Photographer, both films by Christian Frei.
The historical film Zwingli [+see also:
film profile] by Stefan Haupt, meanwhile, left with the Special Academy Award thanks to the efforts of costume designer Monika Schmid and production designer Su Erdt.
The full list of winners at the Swiss Films Awards 2019 is as follows:
Best Short Film
All Inclusive - Corina Schwingruber Ilić (Switzerland)
Best Animation Film
Selfies - Claudius Gentinetta (Switzerland) (short film)
Those Who Work - Antoine Russbach
Joel Basman - Wolkenbruch’s Wondrous Journey into the Arms of a Shiksa [+see also:
film profile] (Switzerland/Germany)
Best Performance in a Supporting Role
Pauline Schneider – Those Who Work
Best Film Score
Marcel Vaid - Chris The Swiss
Best Film Editing
Stefan Kälin - Chris The Swiss
Best Graduation Film
Black Hours - Wendy Pillonel (Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK)
Beki Probst, cinema expert and cultural mediator
(Translated from Italian)
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