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Solothurn turns the spotlight on Swiss films

Solothurn gives film students a chance to show off their work, such as Thomas Gerber's "Victor the Vampire". Filmtage Solothurn, www.srv2.picturepark.ch

Cinema buffs and film-makers are descending on the town of Solothurn, where the annual film festival opens on Monday.

This content was published on January 24, 2005 - 08:20

To mark the event’s 40th birthday, a bumper crop of 180 new Swiss productions will be shown in the course of the week.

In addition, 20 films from the former Yugoslavia are to be screened.

Over the years, the festival has developed from a weekend gathering of cinema insiders to a week-long extravaganza, attracting tens of thousands of film lovers.

This year’s festival features 386 films in total. Director Ivo Kummer said that in contrast to previous years when the emphasis was on documentaries, 2005 could be called “The year of the movie”.

No fewer than 36 full-length movies will be shown, some of which are yet to hit cinema screens in Switzerland.

Swiss Forum

“The film festival is not only older, but also bigger and more important,” Kummer told swissinfo. “We started out with 11 films in the programme, and now we have 180 in the Swiss Forum alone”.

The Swiss Forum will showcase a selection of films and television productions made in the different language regions over the past year.

The event will open with Clemens Klopfenstein’s Die Vogelpredigt oder Das Schreien der Mönche (The bird’s sermon or the screaming of monks), featuring former Bond-girl Ursula Andress in a supporting role.

The festival started as a means of helping young Swiss film-makers to make their name, and that role has not been lost over the years.

“The Solothurn Film Festival is a springboard for producers and film-makers presenting works for the first or second time. It is important for their careers,” stressed Kummer.

Retrospective

This year’s retrospective is devoted to Bruno Ganz, perhaps Switzerland’s best-known actor. Twelve of his 80 films, including some directed by Wim Wenders, will be screened throughout the week.

Featuring works from throughout his career, the retrospective will also include Ganz’s latest and acclaimed film, Der Untergang (The Downfall), in which he plays the role of Adolf Hitler.

For Kummer, the retrospective is one of the highlights of the festival. “It was a great birthday present for us to be able to put together a programme with Bruno Ganz,” he told swissinfo.

Another unique feature this year is the focus on films from the former Yugoslav republics: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia and Montenegro.

The idea is to show how film production has advanced in these countries in the ten years since the end of the Bosnian war.

swissinfo

Key facts

40th Solothurn Film Festival:
24.01.2005 – 30.01.2005.
386 films submitted.
179 Swiss films.
77 documentaries and movies.
8 experimental films.
17 animation films.
78 films in special programmes.
Total 13,906 minutes.

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In brief

The Solothurn Film Festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Swiss film production over the past year will be showcased.

Prizes of SFr60,000 are up for grabs in the categories "Best Film" and "Best Documentary”.

The retrospective is devoted to Swiss actor Bruno Ganz.

The former Yugoslav republics are this year’s special guests.

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