Cinema / Switzerland in force in Cannes

Switzerland arrives in force on the Croisette

Posted today at 3:58 p.m.

After a few seconds, a map of downtown Lausanne seen from above. This is the tragicomedy “The Trial of the Dog”, the first production by Franco-Swiss Laetitia Dosch, shot entirely in Switzerland. The film, produced by Bande à part, will seal the fate of Cosmos, sentenced to death for biting several people. It will be presented at Cannes in the Un certain regard section, just like “The Shameless” (Akka films), by Konstantin Bojanov, which tells of a forbidden romance between two Indian women on the run.

Other local productions that will not go unnoticed: the short film “Las novias del sur” by Elena Lopez Riera (“El agua”) will be shown at Critics’ Week. The director – neither married nor a mother – questions middle-aged women about their marriage, their first time and their intimate relationship with sexuality. Finally, the new animated film by Valaisan Claude Barras (who widely stood out on the Croisette in 2016 with “Ma vie de Courgette”), “Sauvages”, will be presented out of competition. This stop motion work tells the story of a teenage girl who will embark on a fight against the destruction of a threatened forest on the island of Borneo. In addition to these four French-speaking productions, let us also mention the presence of Genevan actress Souheila Yacoub, starring in Noémie Merlant’s film “Les femmes au balcon” and selected among the “10 to Watch”, a Unifrance program highlighting ten new talents to follow.

Getting noticed beyond borders

In addition to this important exhibition, Switzerland was chosen as the country of honor for the Film Market: a unique chance for local cinema to present itself in an international showcase, to strengthen the network and to develop new international projects. “Today we live in a world where we are constantly surrounded by films, whether on our cell phones or on the big screen,” notes Nicola Ruffo, director of Swiss Films. To keep up with the times, the market is also emphasizing innovation. We are proud to be the first country invited to also present Swiss start-ups working on the future of film.” Thanks to the adoption of Lex-Netflix, Nicola Ruffo specifies that streaming platforms are investing more and more in Swiss stories: “It is therefore an exciting time for the young generation that is being born! We want to give them tools so that their films can be more easily noticed beyond borders.”

This will be the case with “Goes to Cannes”, a program which will highlight five Swiss works of fiction in progress, with the aim of putting them in contact with commercial agents, distributors or festival programmers. The Valais director Nicolas Steiner (“Do you Believe in Angels, Mr Drowak”) and the Geneva production company Akka Films (“Laundry”) are notably part of the program. At the same time, four books were selected for Shoot the Book, an initiative aimed at transforming literary works into films. Networking of filmmakers, producers, composers, artistic directors, partners… In total, some 400 professionals from the Swiss film industry are expected to meet in Cannes.

Filming land

In recent years, several Swiss productions have enjoyed success at category A festivals, notably thanks to co-productions: “Switzerland has limited production funds, around 100 million per year. Without international funding, productions of a certain scale are simply not feasible, explains Nicola Ruffo. Thus, it is mainly co-productions which experience international success and which are rewarded.

It should also be noted that various regional Swiss film commissions strive to market their regions as attractive filming locations. In addition to “The Trial of the Dog”, filmed in Lausanne and Vevey, Swiss landscapes have been widely highlighted in recent years. This in films such as “The Love of the World” by Jenna Hasse (the banks of Lake Geneva), “Bisons” by Pierre Monnard (the Vaudois Jura), “The Line” by Ursula Meier (le Bouveret), “Lightning » by Carmen Jaquier (the Binn valley) or “Leave me” by Maxime Rappaz (the Grande-Dixence dam). “The objective remains to make itself known and attract even more European and international filming,” says Laude-Camille Chanton, communications manager for the Valais Film Commission. We have the opportunity to make the canton known as a filming location and to show its assets, not only for its settings but also for its capacity to welcome and support. A subject that will also be discussed during the Film Market.

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