(sda) Behind Anita Hoge, Director of the Solothurn Film Festival, and her team are a tumultuous year. Four different concepts for the festival had to be designed due to the ever-changing regulations due to the pandemic – starting with a remastered, relatively familiar version of the site.
That was the case in May 2020. On Christmas, the Internet version of the small, isolated demonstrations in Solothurn was unimaginable anymore. This means that the exclusive hypothetical concept of the 56th Solothurn Film Festival has definitely become an enduring staple.
At the virtual media conference on Wednesday, Huggie said the festival would continue “comprehensively, with all the awards, sections and special programs: a” home copy. “The basis for this is a new website,” throwing a picture in the future, “as Anita Hoge calls it. Swiss film in an attractive and modern way. “
The president of the Solothurn Film Festival, Felix Goetzweiler, is also pleased to talk about the digitization of the festival, which had to be implemented at high speed. He believes that the transition to the virtual space is not the least “democratization of culture” and “service to culture”.
The online version does not provide free demonstrations. “Culture is precious,” says Gottzweiler. The solidarity contribution goes directly to the production from income from online admission (1,000 virtual seats per film).
This year’s program includes 170 films of all genres, lengths and national languages. With 651 productions, a particularly large number of entries were received (626 the year before), according to Anita Hugi. Currently, 12 documentaries and fictional films, including the world premiere of “The Neighbors” by Manu Khalil, “The Smell of Fear” by Mirjam von Arks or Farida Pasha’s “Watch Over Me”, have been nominated for the Prix de Soleure.
With eight female directors, five directors and one co-director by two directors. Women are in the majority for the first time in the history of the jury prize. The main prize of the Solothurn Film Festival, of 60,000 francs, will be awarded for the thirteenth time on January 26.
The Prix du Public show, valued at CHF 20,000, will also be broadcast on the site the same day. Eleven fictional and documentary films were nominated, including “Beto” by Gita Launder, “Little Sister” by Stephanie Choate and Veronique Raymond, and “Atlas” by Niccolo Castelli. The latter is the opening film and will be broadcast on January 20 on the festival website and on TV channels SRF 2, RSI LA 2 and RTS 2.
In the “Opera Prima” category, a prize of 20,000 Swiss francs will be awarded for the first time work. The competition in review includes all feature films for the first time from official selection in the Panorama Schweiz series, Prix de Soleure and Prix du Public. They include “Von Fischen und Menschen” by Stephanie Clem and “Wild – Hunters and Gatherers” by Mario Theos.
“Rencontre” is dedicated to approximately 80-year-old director and producer Willie Hermann (“San Gottardo”, “Pancomim”). A son of a Swiss-German father and a mother from Ticino has always created works that address the reality that surrounds him.
The “Focus” section is devoted to film criticism. The special program includes a film series as well as coronation podiums and masters classes. The format aims to encourage exchange between film critics, filmmakers and the public, and to address various forms of film criticism. “No development without criticism,” said Anita Huggie at the first media conference in December. “Film criticism is an essential part of the filmmaking process.”
In the new section, “In the Studio,” on the other hand, the focus is on artistic exchange, “knowledge transfer,” as Anita Hoge called it. Filmmakers of all professions have the opportunity to participate in workshops and master classes. It is in this context that director and screenwriter Petra Volpi (“The Divine Command”, “Peace”) will talk about her creative process.