On May 4 Swiss Films presents, in collaboration with Visions du Réel, five promising Swiss docs in production which are about to be launched onto the festival circuit as well as for worldwide distribution.
Elena Pedrazzoli of Peacock Film and director Rolando Colla will present Colla’s second feature documentary W–What Remains of The Lie. This will be his 11th film, the other nine being fiction, including Summer Games, submitted as the Swiss entry to the 2012 Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
W–What Remains of The Lie concerns Bruno Wilkomirski, author of the highly-lauded autobiography Fragments (1995), about his childhood as a concentration camp victim, which was subsequently exposed as a fake by Jewish journalist Daniel Ganzfried.
“I was really interested to understand how it was possible that Wilkomirski wrote a book thinking that everything is true, that these things he describes really happened to him,” explains Colla. “What is his personality? What is the biography bringing him to this book? The second thing I was interested in is the distance of time. Fifteen years later, what is now the opinion of Wilkomirski about the case, about the exposure? What is his life now? Completely isolated, alone. And I wanted to give the audience several elements to understand maybe the personality of Wilkomirski, but also to build its own opinion.”
Budgeted at €570,000 and with 95% secured, the 120-minute multi-language film will be released in Switzerland in Autumn 2020 by Filmcoopi. Swiss producer Pedrazzoli will also be looking to secure a sales agent and international distribution deals/TV sales.
Marion Neumann’s feature doc The Mushroom Speaks (pictured) is an essay that explores possible alliances with parasites, symbionts, and decomposers. While tracing the outlines of a mysterious being, the film reveals the fungus as a true immune system of the planet and, by extension, of ourselves. Its underground world-wide-web becomes the starting point to question our relations towards the natural world, and ourselves as natural beings.
Producers Luc Peter and Katia Monla (Intermezzo Films) are looking to raise the remaining 45% of the 90-minute film’s €390,000 budget, ahead of a January 2021 release. Director Neumann started editing 2 months ago and hopes to complete the edit by October 2020. The producers are also looking to secure a world sales agent and/or international theatrical and tv deals. The film’s languages are English, German, French, Japanese and Chinese.
“Mushrooms have been existing for so many years, [but] it’s only recently that we are discovering all their virtues and all the things that they are able to do,” says producer Monla. “[Monica] is at the same time a poet and an activist.”
“It’s a whole concept,” she continues. “It’s beyond just being a movie. It’s all about connection, how the mushroom can connect and heal. How it can influence our [sense of] being, our societies, our environment, how through mushrooms we can explore the world and how it functions, and the potential that the mushroom has in this world that seems to be collapsing.”
Swiss producer Dario Schoh (CognitoFilms) will present the 85-90 minute doc The Bubble, directed by Valerie Blankenbyl, about “the world’s largest retirement community” named The Villages (Florida) which, he maintains, is the fastest growing town in the US, currently with 130,000 residences. Qualifying criteria to live there are an age north of 55.
‘54 golf courses, 70 swimming pools, countless leisure facilities and clubs, however, only one children’s playground,” reads part of the film synopsis. Featuring characters who are mostly white and Trump supporting, all set in a world where the surrounding nature is steadily displaced by the growing ‘villages’, the film seeks to invites reflection on ‘an increasingly divided society’.
“So we went there with our film crew to get to know this place and the people who live there and ask the question if this is the future of retirement, these types of communities,” Schoh underlines.
Ninety-five percent of The Bubble’s €750,000 is in place. It is English language with German and French subtitles, and is director Blankenbyl’s third feature doc following Ma Na Sapna – A Mother’s Dream (2013) and I am Jesus (2010).
Schoh underlines that the production is at final edit stage, with Swiss and Austrian rights already sold. He is seeking to secure a world sales agent, and is also eyeing up festivals following its Autumn completion. “I am Looking for a launchpad in Europe and also for a launchpad festival in US or Canada,” he stresses.
The Swiss Films Preview also presents the Spanish-language Children of the Wind by Felipe Monroy, produced by José Michel Buhler of Adok films.
The logline reads how, in Colombia, the armed conflict has been ongoing for 60 years. Between 2002 and 2010, thousands of young people from the slums were kidnapped, tortured and murdered by the national army, who exposed them in front of the media as dead guerrillas. They are referred to as ‘falsos positivos’. It is a huge scandal which shakes Colombian society, the production maintains.
Colombian director Monroy has been living in Switzerland since 2007. He studied cinema at the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD–Genève), while living as an illegal immigrant. ‘His singular experience lay at the heart of his work, tackling such topics as living on the margin, how traces of violence affect the present, memories and immigration,’ read the notes for the 120-minute project.
Budgeted at €645,000, 85% of the finances are secured and the expected release date is October 2020.
The 160-minute Shaping Dancers in the Manner of Béjart, directed and produced by Laura Elena Cordero, is described as ‘an exceptional immersion in the two-year initiation journey of young international dancers, training in the eclectic school, founded in Lausanne by the prestigious French-Swiss choreographer, Maurice Béjart.’
Born in Mexico City, Cordero graduated as a Computer Science Engineer and worked in the field of branding in Geneva and Frankfurt, before deciding to follow her passion of filmmaking.
With an expected release date of late 2020/early 2021, 92% of the film’s €715,000 budget is in place, with financial sources confirmed as SRF, Ernst Göhner Stiftung Fluxum Foundation and Centre Patronal Vaudois Ville de Lausanne Cinéforom.
Cordero refers to her project as “a hymn of youth in the name of the arts.”