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SOLOTHURN 2021

The 56th edition of the Solothurn Film Festival to unspool entirely online

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- Atlas by Niccolò Castelli, which will be presented as a world premiere on the festival’s website and on Switzerland’s three national TV channels, will kick off the gathering

The 56th edition of the Solothurn Film Festival to unspool entirely online
Atlas by Niccolò Castelli

As underlined by director Anita Hugi, the brave and, to some extent, maverick decision to present all 170 Swiss films selected for the 56th edition of the Solothurn Film Festival (20-27 January) online stems from the need to heighten the visibility of Swiss cinema – something that is necessary now more than ever. This need has driven the Solothurn-based gathering to develop a website that not only serves as a platform for an online edition that will follow in a similar vein to the traditional programmes of prior iterations (with a plethora of discussions and master classes), but which also invites visitors to immerse themselves in the history of Swiss film (thanks to a section dedicated to the event’s archives). The decision not to offer any free screenings was made in order to highlight the challenges that the film industry is currently facing. Indeed, in a show of support, a percentage obtained from the tickets sold will be handed over to all of the productions selected.

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Atlas by Ticino-born director Niccolò Castelli (which is in the running for the Audience Award), which will be presented as a world premiere on the festival’s website as well as on the three national TV channels (RSI, RTS and SRF), will fire the starting pistol for the gathering.

One particularly noteworthy novelty this year is the introduction of a new award dubbed “Opera Prima”, aptly dedicated to the batch of debut films selected across the various different categories. Of the 12 movies locking horns for the Solothurn Award, one is also vying for this new prize (Wake Up on Mars [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dea Gjinovci
film profile
]
by Dea Gjinovci), while three of them are simultaneously in the running for the Audience Award: Lovecut [+see also:
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trailer
film profile
]
, an episodic film about the turbulent love life of six young people in search of their own identity, helmed by Iliana Estañol and Johanna Lietha; the poetic Sòne [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Daniel Kemény; and Of Fish and Men by Stefanie Klemm.

Of the films selected for the Swiss Film Award, five are world premieres: Burning Memories by Alice Schmid, which delves into the dark recesses of the mind of a woman who realises that she was abused, 50 years after the event; Nachbarn by Mano Khalil, which portrays the daily life of two children in a village on the border between Turkey and Syria in the 1980s; The Brain, the captivating new film by Jean-Stéphane Bron; Scent of Fear by Mirjam von Arx; and Watch Over Me, the latest, moving documentary by Farida Pacha.

Among the movies already confirmed to be competing for the Audience Award, we find Il mio corpo [+see also:
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trailer
film profile
]
by Michele Pennetta, My Little Sister [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Stéphanie Chuat and Véroniq…
film profile
]
by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond, My Wonderful Wanda [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bettina Oberli
film profile
]
by Bettina Oberli, and Zurich Diary [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Stefan Haupt
film profile
]
by Stefan Haupt. The section is rounded off by Beyto by Gitta Gsell and Ale, the debut feature by O’Neil Bürgi. There are also some well-known names among the directors selected for the Solothurn Award, such as Milo Rau and his The New Gospel [+see also:
film review
interview: Milo Rau
film profile
]
, and Andrea Staka with Mare [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andrea Staka
film profile
]
. Also picked for the same prestigious prize are A Class Story [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Valerio Jalongo, which was previously presented at Visions du Réel 2020, and Farewell Paradise [+see also:
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film profile
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by Sonja Wyss, which will be enjoying its Swiss premiere.

This year’s Honorary Award goes to a pioneering and indefatigable supporter of indie cinema, Frank Braun, who, besides making his own films, also founded the Fantoche International Animation Film Festival in Baden and launched the legendary La Lanterna Magica children’s film club.

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(Translated from Italian)

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