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SOLOTHURN 2020 Awards

À la recherche de l’homme à la caméra scoops the 2020 Prix de Soleure


- Tunisian director Boutheyna Bouslama and Iraqi-Swiss filmmaker Samir win over both the jury and the audience of the Solothurn Film Festival

À la recherche de l’homme à la caméra scoops the 2020 Prix de Soleure
Director Boutheyna Bouslama with her 2020 Prix de Soleure (© Journées de Soleure)

Composed of director Ursula Meier, artist Cemile Sahin and ambassador Mirko Manzoni, the jury of the 55th Solothurn Film Festival have honoured Boutheyna Bouslama’s debut feature À la recherche de l’homme à la caméra with the Prix de Soleure. Struck by the film’s “cinematographic narration and writing”, the jury emphasised the director’s capacity to “give victims of war and forgotten conflicts visibility, demonstrating the kind of honesty that we need to see more often”. Boutheyna Bouslama was born in Paris but has Tunisian nationality. Despite having lived in Geneva for many years, where she studied Visual Arts & Film at HEAD and subsequently worked, she has since been forced to leave the country and now lives in Istanbul.

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Bouslama’s film saw her set out on a three-year hunt looking for her childhood friend Oussama, a Syrian photographer and activist who disappeared in mysterious circumstances. Her exhaustive research didn’t only lead her to question the interpersonal links transcended by the horrors of war, but also the power of the visual image to act as a memory when it comes to a reality which goes beyond anything we could possibly imagine.

À la recherche de l’homme à la caméra, a co-production by Switzerland’s Close Up Films and France’s 24images, previously walked away with the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation’s prestigious SRG SSR Sesterzio d’oro for Best Swiss Film at the Visions du Réel Festival 2019. Worth 60,000 CHF, the prize will be divided equally between the director and the producers.

The Audience Award also went to a film depicting the paradoxes of war - Baghdad in My Shadow [+see also:
film review
film profile
by Samir – as personified by a group of Iraqis exiled in London. Always precise yet subtle in his offerings, Samir succeeds in creating a credible and complex work of fiction which raises many questions, including rather awkward ones.

Released in German-language Swiss cinemas in 2019, the film will be screened in French-language auditoriums from 19 February. Baghdad in My Shadow, nominated no less than three times at the Swiss Film Awards 2020 (Best Film, Screenplay and Editing), is a co-production between Switzerland (Dschoint Ventschr and SRF Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen), Germany (Coin Film), the UK (Ipso Facto Productions) and Iraq (Art City Productions).

In short, it’s a decidedly multicultural award-winners list which lends visibility to complex situations that often go unseen, buried beneath the rubble of exhausting conflicts - a fact which the Solothurn Film Festival’s new director is particularly proud of: “the list of winners testifies to a particular idea of the Solothurn Film Festival that I really like. It allows the various linguistic regions, generations, genres and audiences to come together and engage in fruitful dialogue.”

Helmed by Anita Hugi for the very first time, this year’s event enjoyed significant levels of public interest with over 66,000 admissions.

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(Translated from Italian)

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