Program 2021

  Full-length Films

Zurich (Filmpodium Cinema)

Friday 26 November, 15:00

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE        

 

PRE-FESTIVAL

SWISS NATIONAL PARK: 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE (OUT OF COMPETITION)

GENRE: Documentary 

COUNTRIES: Switzerland

YEAR: 2014

LENGTH: 90 min

LANGUAGES: German

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ANDREAS MOSER (Director & Writer)

 

Andreas Moser studied biology and graduated from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute with a thesis on wild venomous snakes in the Swiss Alps. During his studies he trained his skills in science journalism and nature photography. From 1987 to 2021 he worked at the Swiss National Television (SRF). As head of a Nature Program Unit, he produced and presented the Series NETZ NATUR, which has a total of more than 210 hours of documentaries on the topics of the coexistence of humans and nature mainly in Switzerland. For this series, he received several awards, including the Prix Media 2011 from the Swiss Academy of Science (SCNAT), and the Zurich Radio- and Television Award 2016. In 2006 he received a honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich.

PODIUM DISCUSSION

ZURICH: Vanishing of culture…extinction of nature

Filmmaker: Andreas Moser (Director & Writer) 

Experts: Heinrich Haller (former director of the Swiss National Park)

            Silva Semadeni (former member of the National Council of Switzerland and former President of Pro Natura)

Moderator: Isabella Sedivy (Plan Biodivers)

STORY

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Swiss National Park in 2014, the SRF broadcast series NETZ NATUR produced a documentary that tells the story of wildlife in the unique Swiss National Park from unusual perspectives. At the beginning, the documentary looks back millions of years, and tells the story of this impressive mountain landscape and its inhabitants. They answer questions on how it has been changed by humans over the past centuries, and how it finally achieved complete nature protection status in 1914 as the first National Park in Europe. Highlights include close-ups of completely undisturbed wildlife in their most private moments, recorded by dozens of hidden automatic wildlife cameras in the entire park area

Bern (Ethnokino at the Reitschule)

Thursday 25 November, 19:00

THE MUSHROOM SPEAKS

GENRE: Documentary

COUNTRIES: Switzerland

YEAR: 2021

LENGTH: 90 min

LANGUAGES: German, English, Japanese

SUBTITLES: English

TRAILER

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MARION NEUMANN (Director & Writer)

 

Marion Neumann is a Geneva-based filmmaker. She has a Master in documentary film / cinematography from the HFF in Munich. Her first feature THIS MOMENT IS NOT THE SAME (2010) was the result of a community experiment, and premiered at Visions du Réel. Her work as a cinematographer screened in many festivals, with films such as WILD PLANTS (2016), by Nicolas Humbert, and NATURALES HISTORIAE (2019), by Pauline Julier. THE MUSHROOM SPEAKS (2021) is her second feature-length film. 

PODIUM DISCUSSION

BERN: Ecology and society

Filmmaker: Marion Neumann (Director and Writer) 

Expert: Alison Pouliot (Environmental Photographer and Natural Historian) 

Moderator: Nimal Bourloud (Student Social Anthropology) 

STORY

The film takes on a walk alongside parasites, symbionts and decomposers offering ideas of both interconnectedness and collaboration. Driven by a vision of resistance, the encounters seek possibilities of renewal and question what connects us when the world seems to be falling apart. With mushrooms and their allies the film invites to imagine a myco-cultural (r)evolution. What if the fungus could help us address and radically change our relationship to this world?  

Zurich (Filmpodium Cinema)

Friday 26 November, 18:00

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE        

Bern (Kino REX)

Saturday 27 November, 13:30

NEMESIS

GENRE: Documentary-Drama 

COUNTRIES: Switzerland

YEAR: 2021

LENGTH: 131 min

LANGUAGES: German

SUBTITLES: English

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THOMAS IMBACH (Director & Writer)

 

As one of Switzerland’s most innovative and internationally-renowned filmmakers, Thomas Imbach moves with virtuoso mastery between documentary and fiction. He has acquired a reputation for courageous experimentation both formally and as a storyteller. His early successes include WELL DONE (1994) and GHETTO (1997). The feature films HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN (2001), LENZ (2006) and  I WAS A SWISS BANKER (2007) as well as the auto-fiction DAY IS DONE (2011) premiered at the Berlinale. His English-language period drama MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (2013) was selected for Toronto Film Festival. His fiction feature MY BROTHER MY LOVE (2018) premiered at Locarno Film Festival in Competition. With the documentary feature NEMESIS he won the award for “Best Cinematography” at IDFA 2020.

PODIUM DISCUSSION

ZURICH: Historical extinction and social changes

Filmmaker: Thomas Imbach (Director & Writer)

Expert: Christian Schmid (ETH Zurich)

Moderator: Manuela Wenger

 

BERN: Historical extinction and social changes

Filmmaker: Thomas Imbach (Director and Writer) 

Experts: Britta Hentschel (architectural history) 

            Simone Marti (Lecturer and member of Migrant Solidarity   Network)

Moderator: Susan Thieme (Geographer) 

STORY

The film explores the destruction of a unique train station in Zurich and the construction of the new prison and police centre in its place. From the perspective of the filmmaker's window, and with testimony from prisoners awaiting deportation, the film probes how we deal with the extinction of history and its replacement with total security.

Zurich (Filmpodium Cinema)

Saturday 27 November, 11:00

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE        

AALTO

GENRE: Documentary 

COUNTRIES: Finland

YEAR: 2021

LENGTH: 103 min

LANGUAGES: German, Italian, Finish, English

SUBTITLES: German, French

TRAILER 

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VIRPI SUUTARI (Director & Writer)

 

Virpi Suutari is an award winning filmmaker known for her personal cinematic style and emotional narratives. Her films have been shown all over the world. The Idle Ones (2002) was nominated for the Best European Documentary (EFA) and she has won several awards as the Best Nordic Documentary. Her film, Entrepreneur, was in the Masters selection at IDFA 2018. Virpi has received the national Jussi Award (the Finnish Oscars) three times and her latest film Aalto got three nominations in 2021.

PODIUM DISCUSSION

ZURICH: People in the centre of design or ‘design for the sake of design’

Filmmaker: Virpi  Suutari (Director and Writer) 

Expert: Patrick Thurston (President Architektenverbands BSA)

Moderator: Henriette Bornkamm (SRF)

STORY

This captivating exploration of Alvar Aalto, the defining figure in Scandic design and one of Europe's greatest modern architects, focuses on his remarkable and loving partnership with wife, Aino. Theirs was a profoundly humanist vision that put people at the centre of design, and ranged from work in furniture design through to huge architectural projects. They mixed with, and influenced, major figures of modernist art and design including Le Corbusier, Gropius, Moholy-Nagy, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Come on a cinematic tour of their iconic buildings all over the world, from a library in Russia, a student dormitory at MIT, an art collector's private house near Paris, to a pavilion in Venice. Narrated by experts in the field and featuring never before seen archive footage, Aalto tells the love story of an extraordinary couple with a great passion for human scale architecture.

Zurich (Filmpodium Cinema)

Saturday 27 November, 14:00

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE        

Bern (Kino REX)

Saturday 27 November, 19:30

FROM THE WILD SEA

GENRE: Documentary

COUNTRIES: Denmark

YEAR: 2021

LENGTH: 78 min

LANGUAGES: English, Dutch

SUBTITLES: English

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ROBIN PETRÉ (Director & Writer)

 

Robin Petré first studied journalism at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus and then documentary film directing in the Doc Nomads programme at universities in Portugal, Hungary and Belgium. Her films, which focus on the coexistence of humans with animals and nature, have screened at numerous international festivals and won a number of awards. She is an alumna of the Nordic Film Lab and the IDFAcademy. From the Wild Sea is her debut feature-length documentary.

PODIUM DISCUSSION

ZURICH: The collision between human and nature

Filmmaker: Robin Petré (Director and Writer) 

Expert: Janet Hering (Director EAWAG)

Moderator: Cornelia Krug (University of Zurich) 

 

BERN: The collision between human and nature

Filmmaker: Robin Petré (Director and Writer) 

Expert: tba

Moderator: Payal Parekh (Climate Scientist and Activist)

STORY

“When the glacial terminus broke, it marked the beginning of one of many waves.”
Storms unleash along Europe’s coastlines, taking their toll. Volunteers are preparing for winter. Injured seal pups are nurtured with liquid food and warmed with infra-red lamps. Oil-soiled swans are subjected to foam baths. One stares into the eye of a giant stranded whale. And the whale looks back. In poetic images, Robin Petré traces the gaze between humans and wild animals, narrates the close interweaving of habitats and closes the cycle from perpetrator to helper. Laying bare the ambivalent relationship between society and threatened eco-systems, the haunting imagery patiently and respectfully opens a space for deep reflection. A relentless gaze into the abyss of the Anthropocene.

Zurich (Filmpodium Cinema)

Saturday 27 November, 16:30

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE        

Bern (Kino REX)

Saturday 27 November, 16:30

CODED BIAS (OUT OF COMPETITION)

GENRE: Documentary

COUNTRIES: USA, UK, China

YEAR: 2020

LENGTH: 90 min

LANGUAGES: English

SUBTITLES: French

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SHALINI KANTAYYA (Director & Writer)

 

Shalini Kantayya directed the season finale for the National Geographic series Breakthrough with executive producer Ron Howard. Her debut feature film, Catching the Sun, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick. The film released globally on Netflix on Earth Day 2016 with executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio and was nominated for the Environmental Media Association Award for Best Documentary. Kantayya is a TED fellow.

PODIUM DISCUSSION

ZURICH & BERN: AI and our liberties

Filmmaker: Shalini Kantayya (Director and Writer) (Zoom)

Expert: Agata Ferretti (ETH Zurich)

Moderator: Fupa Magic (Educator, multidisciplinary artist and facilitator) 

STORY

Modern society sits at the intersection of two crucial questions: What does it mean when artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly governs our liberties? And what are the consequences for the people AI is biased against? When MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers that most facial-recognition software does not accurately identify darker-skinned faces and the faces of women, she delves into an investigation of widespread bias in algorithms. As it turns out, AI is not neutral, and women are leading the charge to ensure our civil rights are protected.

Director Shalini Kantayya illuminates our mass misconceptions about AI and emphasizes the urgent need for legislative protection. From facial scanning used for policing and surveillance to automated HR systems that mirror and magnify workplace prejudices, these technologies are created with fundamentally biased building blocks. 

Zurich (Filmpodium Cinema)

Saturday 27 November, 19:30

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE        

Bern (Kino REX)

Sunday 28 November, 17:30

THE SCENT OF FEAR

GENRE: Documentary 

COUNTRIES: USA, Switzerland, Korea

YEAR: 2021

LENGTH: 93 min

LANGUAGES: German, English, Korean

SUBTITLES: English

TRAILER

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MIRJAM VON ARX (Director & Writer)

 

Mirjam von Arx studied journalism and worked for close to 20 years as a writer for various magazines. In 1991, she moved to New York and started directing her first films. In 2002 she founded the production company ican films, through which she has produced several award-winning theatrical documentaries, including VIRGIN TALES (Finalist Maysles Brothers Award 2012, Zurich Film Prize 2012). Her latest film THE SCENT OF FEAR won the Migros-Kulturprozent Swiss Documentary Competition and was nominated for the Prix de Soleure 2021.

Mirjam von Arx is a member of the European Film Academy as well as the Swiss Film Acadamy.

PODIUM DISCUSSION

ZURICH: Neuroscience, psychology and the politics of fear

Filmmaker: Miriam von Arx (Director and Writer) 

Expert: Lutz Jäncke (University of Zurich)

Moderator: Christoph Kueffer (ETH Zurich)

 

BERN: Neuroscience, psychology and the politics of fear

Filmmaker: Miriam von Arx (Director and Writer) 

Expert: Eveline Frischknecht (Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy,   University of Bern)

           Lutz Jäncke (University of Zurich)

Moderator: Surangika Jayarathne (Social and Cultural Geographer)

STORY

The Scent of Fear is a journey around the globe, on which we meet people who freeze with fear, people who are looking for it, people who find it, and people who love it. There is this woman who sets out for the Arctic all alone. There are the radical society-wearies who set up their homes in bunkers, there is the fearful young Korean who learns in a seminar how to die happily. On the way we meet experts from neuroscience, psychology and politics who show us how our society is controlled by messages of fear. The Scent of Fear is an exciting and clever analysis of the universal question of why people are afraid of fear.

Zurich (Filmpodium Cinema)

Sunday 28 November, 11:30

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE        

Bern (Kino REX)

Saturday 27 November, 11:00

WAKE UP ON MARS

GENRE: Documentary

COUNTRIES: Switzerland, France

YEAR: 2021

LENGTH: 74 min

LANGUAGES: Albanian, Swedish

SUBTITLES: English

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DEA GJINOVCI (Director & Writer)

 

Dea Gjinovci is a Swiss-Albanian director-producer based in between Paris and Geneva. She participated in the 2021 UnionDocslab in NYC, the 2019 Sundance Talent Forum and is a 2019 Film Independent Fellow. Her award-winning documentary short 'Sans le Kosovo' won Best National Film at Dokufest in 2017. Her debut feature-length documentary ‘Wake Up on Mars’ was premiered virtually at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and Visions du Réel in Switzerland. She was awarded "Best New Talent" mention at Biografilm Festival 2020 and at ZagrebDox 2021. “Wake Up on Mars” was also nominated for the prestigious "Prix de Soleure" and "Opera Prima" awards at Solothurner Tage 2021. In June 2020, she founded the Geneva-based production company AstraeProductions. More recently, she has held conferences and masterclasses at different universities and film festivals.

PODIUM DISCUSSION

ZURICH: The diseases that we do not see

Filmmaker: Dea Gjinovci (Director and Writer) (Zoom)

Expert: Naser Morina (University of Zurich)

Moderator: Caroline Wiedmer (Franklin University)

BERN: The diseases that we do not see

Filmmaker: Dea Gjingovci (Director and Writer) 

Expert: Kemal Sadulov (Radio journalist and president of Romano    Dialog)

Moderator: Alexander Vorbrugg (Geographer)

STORY

A 10-year-old Roma boy living in Sweden attempts to come to terms with the mysterious Resignation syndrome that has put his two sisters in a coma. The tight-knit family is trying to rebuild a normal life far from their native Kosovo where they were victims of persecution. While their entire future hangs in the balance of a pending asylum request, the little boy dreams of building a spaceship to leave it all behind.

Bern (Kino REX)

Sunday 28 November, 15:00

PURPLE SEA

GENRE: Documentary

COUNTRIES: Germany

YEAR: 2020

LENGTH: 67 min

LANGUAGES: Arabic

SUBTITLES: English

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AMEL ALZAKOUT (Director & Writer)

 

Amel Alzakout is an artist and filmmaker based in Leipzig. Between 2010 and 2013 she studied journalism at Cairo University. In 2017 she participated with other artists in the video installation Trust Us in the 3rd Herbstsalon at the Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin. Between 2017 and 2018 she studied art at the Weißensee Art Academy in Berlin, currently she is studying media art at the Academy of Visual Art (HGB) in Leipzig.  Purple Sea had its world premiere at Berlinale and won the Film Prize for International Cooperation Germany/Arab World by the Robert Bosch Foundation with the feature length film.

PODIUM DISCUSSION

BERN: Migration and (in)visibility

Amel Alzakout (Director & Writer)

Moderator: Tba.

STORY

With Purple Sea, Syrian artist Amel Alzakout documents her experiences of 28 October 2015, based on the same material as in the reconstruction of Forensic Architecture, but in a more immediate way. An event that has been repeated countless times at Europe's borders since then. An overcrowded boat on its way from Turkey to Greece that is shipwrecked. One of the survivors, the artist Amel Alzakout, recorded the ship's sinking with a waterproof camera she wore on her wrist. The disturbing footage meets the voice of the director as she tries to escape to another safe place, the past or a possible future.


Bern (Kino REX)

Sunday 28 November, 15:00

SHIPWRECK AT THE THRESHOLD OF EUROPE, LESVOS, AEGEAN SEA: 28 OCTOBER 2015 (OUT OF COMPETITION)

GENRE: Documentary

COUNTRIES: UK

YEAR: 2020

LENGTH: 24 min

LANGUAGES: English

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FORENSIC ARCHITECTURE (Director & Writer)

 

The research group Forensic Architecture was commissioned by artist Amel Alzakout to reconstruct the deadliest migration-related maritime disaster of 2015 and the subsequent rescue operation. Cross-referencing their material with other sources - including thermal camera images, videos of activists filming from the coast of Lesvos, press footage, Greek Coast Guard records, as well as satellite imagery and weather data - helped identify who might be responsible. Reconstructing the actions and interactions of those involved has revealed some of the complex politics of migration today. 

STORY

Forensic Architecture is a research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London, consisting of architects, artists, filmmakers, journalist, software developers, scientists, lawyers, and an extended network of collaborators from a wide range of fields and disciplines. Founded in 2010 Forensic Architecture is committed to the development and dissemination of new evidentiary techniques and undertakes advanced architectural and media investigations on cases of state and corporate violence on behalf of international prosecutors, human rights and civil society groups, as well as political and environmental justice organizations. Forensic Architecture produces and presents architectural evidence in a variety of forums: national and international courts, parliamentary inquiries, peoples’ tribunals, as well as in the media and in cultural spaces. 

Zurich (Filmpodium Cinema)

Sunday 28 November, 15:30        

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE

TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL

GENRE: Documentary

COUNTRIES: USA

YEAR: 2020

LENGTH: 123 min

LANGUAGES: English

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SUZANNE HILLINGER (Director & Producer)

 

Suzanne Hillinger is an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured on FX, Hulu, Discovery Channel, PBS, Viceland, CNN and MSNBC. Most recently, she directed and produced feature documentary, Totally Under Control, alongside Alex Gibney and Ophelia Harutyunyan. She directed episodes of the New York Times documentary series, The Weekly, for FX and Hulu, and her episode investigating the New York City taxi medallion bubble won a 2020 News and Documentary Emmy, and was part of the series that won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting. Suzanne directed and produced How to Fix an Election, a political documentary for MSNBC, and produced the Emmy-nominated feature documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, which opened the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

PODIUM DISCUSSION

ZURICH: The Covid crisis: Politicians, scientists and us

Filmmaker: Suzanne Hillinger (Director and Producer) (Zoom)

Expert: Christian Althaus (University of Bern)

Moderator: Marcus Hall (University of Zurich)

STORY

Filmed in secret over five months, Totally Under Control uses news footage and interviews with experts and government whistleblowers to show how the administration missed each opportunity to either stop the virus from arriving in the U.S. or prevent its spread. The filmmakers present these events in rapid, blow-by-blow succession, lending the documentary an urgency that contrasts with the languid federal response to the pandemic. The result is a film that feels shocking to watch in retrospect for its crisp frankness. Viewers may have grown numb to the constant churn of distressing news and learned to stomach the administration’s failure to contain the virus. But Totally Under Control refuses to look away, and being reminded of how many warnings went unheeded is unnerving.

Zurich (Filmpodium Cinema)

Sunday 28 November, 19:15 

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE      

Bern (Kino REX)

Sunday 28 November, 12:30

THE TIGER MAFIA

GENRE: Documentary

COUNTRIES: Switzerland

YEAR: 2021

LENGTH: 90 min

LANGUAGES: English, Chinese, Vietnamese

SUBTITLES: English, German

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KARL AMMANN & LAURIN MERZ (Directors & Writers)

 

Karl Ammann is a wildlife photographer, conservation activist and filmmaker, based in Kenya. Ammann studied economics in St. Gallen and Ithaca (USA). He travelled to over 100 countries. He first became aware of the bushmeat trade in 1988, this was followed by the first of many research expeditions. Today he is considered one of the world's leading environmental photographers and filmmakers.

Laurin Merz is proprietor and founder of the award-winning production company HOOK Film (since 2006), based in Zurich. After studying film-studies and publishing at the universities of Bern and Zurich, he graduated 2007 in the Video specialization at Lucerne School of Art and Design. Starting in 1996, he worked as an editor for the Swiss Radio and as a editor for Swiss television. Later he became an independent filmmaker.  

PODIUM DISCUSSION

ZURICH: How do we save the planet?

Filmmakers: Karl Ammann & Laurin Merz 

Expert: Severin Dressen (Director Zoo Zurich)

Moderator: Simone Bucher van Ligten (ETH Zurich)

 

BERN: How do we save the planet?

Filmmakers: Karl Ammann & Laurin Merz

Expert: Bruno Mainini (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Switzerland)

Moderator: tba

STORY

The magnificent tiger is one of the world’s most beloved, and threatened creatures. Filmmaker, Karl Ammann uncovers their illegal breeding in secret South East Asian tiger farms. His nine-year investigation exposes how body parts are harvested from both live and butchered tigers, and then traded for sale in China’s underground pharmaceutical and jewellery industries.

Year after year, Karl has gone to warlord and triad-controlled regions of Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam to learn how the tigers are traded. He has been able to achieve what Interpol and other anti- trafficking organizations have failed to do, infiltrating top trafficking syndicates and gaining access to major crime hubs and underworlds. Karl has unveiled a number of disturbing findings. He himself is an unlikely hero in this story; a middle-aged man who lives humbly with his wife in Kenya.