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Swiss actor bound for Berlin

Michael Finger has been chosen as one of Europe's shooting stars. www.utopiablues.ch

The Swiss actor, Michael Finger, has been invited to the Berlin film festival as one of the industry's rising stars - on the strength of just one movie.

This content was published on February 5, 2002 - 07:37

Finger, the lead role in "Utopia Blues", a film by Swiss director Stephan Haupt, was recently awarded the best actor prize at the Solothurn film festival, Switzerland's most important cinematographic event.

He also picked up the award for "best male talent" at the Max Ophüls festival in Saarbrücken, Germany, for his portrayal of the film's lead character, Rafael.

Buoyed by his success at the two festivals, the 27-year-old, whose previous work was confined to the theatre, is now setting his sights on breaking into the German movie industry, which is one of the world's biggest.

"To make more films, it's important for a Swiss actor to go to Germany, because the movie business in Switzerland is so small," Finger told swissinfo. "There are not enough good roles here."

According to Finger, the Swiss film industry suffers from a lack of funding, limiting the number of roles available. What little money there is tends to find its way into theatre and opera productions, he says.

Tough road ahead

Finger stresses that his desire to take his talents across the border is not just motivated by the lure of bigger and better things. He says he is also keen to work in German and with German film directors.

He hopes to use his visit to the Berlin film festival to rub shoulders with some of the movers and shakers of the German movie business.

"I will be taking part in workshops for young acting talents," explains Finger. "It will be an opportunity to make contact with the international movie industry."

Despite his recent success, the actor is keeping his feet firmly on the ground, remaining realistic about his chances of cracking the big time in Germany.

"It's very difficult, because nobody abroad is really interested in Swiss movies," he says. "We need to go to the festivals because that's where you meet people from the film industry."

Television lacks appeal

Another outlet for Finger's talents could be Germany's television industry, which has become a major international player over the last few years. Many production companies in Germany are now selling their wares all over the world.

However, for Finger, the appeal of television, though financially rewarding, pales in comparison to the brighter lights of the big screen. "The problem is that nobody wants you for a movie role after you've worked in television," he says.

So while he waits for a phone call from Germany, the young actor will be treading the boards in theatres across Switzerland.

by Scott Capper

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