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A documentary film project by Johanna Faust, CH 2017
«I Am A Hot Mess» tells of a journey to various places – from Berlin to the Mexican desert, «I Am A Hot Mess» is a journey to my past and inside my family, «I Am A Hot Mess» is a journey I take to myself.
I am an artist and lived with my partner and our three children in Berlin. Ensconsed in our everyday life, I felt more and more alone and unfulfilled. This is why I decided to enroll in a master’s program in England and wanted to leave my partner behind in Berlin with the children. As a result of this decision, however, I suddenly remembered a part of my family history: my grandmother had left her family behind to devote herself to art. This gave me pause and suddenly I felt an urge to find out more about my grandmother, in particular what her decision meant to my mother.
It has been a long journey into the distant past and the relationships between three generations of women: layer by layer I uncovered the stories connecting my mother to her mother, me to her, and my daughter to me and to her Mexican grandmother. In the process I discovered that in my family similar constellations have been repeated over and over and that the traumatic experiences have been passed down from generation to generation. It was not until I confronted this that I realized how much the past shapes my life and emotions. I dove so deeply into this vortex that everything got very dark before I was able to see light again on the water’s surface.
«I Am A Hot Mess» is a road movie that traces the stories we carry around inside us that we are unaware of and a film about how an artistic confrontation situated between chaos and form creates a surface for reflection that makes it possible not only for the protagonists but also for viewers to reexamine their own history with fresh eyes.
Production: soap factory GmbH, Basel
Writer, director: Johanna Faust

A documentary film project by Andreas Müller and Simon Guy Fässler, CH 2017
They disparaginly call us “Ruächä”, we call them gypsies. But who are the Jenish people who have always lived among us? Where do they come from, what kind of life do they lead and why? There are so many stories about them and so many stories they tell themselves. What is truth, what is legend? What is prejudice, what is romantical glorification? What is mythmaking or propagada?
Upon the invitation of a Jenish friend, a filmmaker sets off on an odyssey through the world of gypsies. With his cameraman he travels to the shaded valleys of the Grisons region, to the dusty suburbs of Geneva, and to an underground hiding place in Carinthia. He discovers a hidden transnational culture that immediately captivates him. He gathers the stories and images of a different way of life. But he is repeatedly met with suspicion and openly rejected by the Jenish, and the deeper he delves into their destinies, the more apparent the deep wound left by an upsetting past becomes.
«Ruäch» is a film about a people shrouded in myth – and about the difficulties of making this film. A portrait of the Jenish – in the mirror image of one of us.
Production: soap factory GmbH, Basel
Co-production: 8horses, Zurich
Writers: Andreas Müller, Simon Guy Fässler and Marcel Bächtiger
Director: Andreas Müller

A documentary film project by Jonas Schaffter, CH 2017
«Turkish Fondue» tells the story of three men of Turkish descent who grew up in Switzerland but never got a Swiss passport. After run-ins with the law they are deported to the country of their parents, a place they hardly know and that feels completely foreign to them.
After having served their prison terms, the deportation is like an additional punishment. Not only do the men find themselves in a country where they feel like strangers, they also have to cope with life in a society that is moving quickly toward a dictatorship. To fend off the woes of exile, they cling to their Swiss identity and the Swiss way of living. And all three have only one goal in mind: returning to Switzerland.
The film explores a hidden milieu, bringing to light the unknown consequences of a immigration policy that classifies people according to their passports and not their cultural identity.
What is the meaning of homeland? And how does identity develop? «Turkish Fondue» explores these questions in depth through its protagonists and their stories.
Production: soap factory GmbH, Basel
Co-production: ZHdK, Zurich
Writer, director: Jonas Schaffter

A documentary film project by Frank Matter, CH 2017
«Parallel Lives» tells the stories of four to five people who were born on the same day as the filmmaker – on June 8, 1964 – but in entirely different locations and under entirely different circumstances. That summer Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, the Rolling Stones performed on American television for the first time, the Palestinian National Council founded the PLO, and in Switzerland the Federal Council mandated a limit on the number of foreign workers in the workplace in the midst of the post-war economic boom. While a massive escalation in the Vietnam War was looming, in China the power struggle between pragmatists and ideologues was coming to a head, which would ultimately lead to the Cultural Revolution.
If you were born black in South Africa in 1964 you were considered a third-class human being, virtually without rights, discriminated against, and you had little hope of achieving prosperity and dignity. Two years later in China, millions of children were separated from their families or were forced to watch how their parents or siblings were sent off to perform hard labor in the fields or were arrested and re-educated. In Switzerland, the director’s mother was not even allowed to vote or go to the polls.
Even if the children of June 8, 1964, grew up in vastly different worlds, they are connected by many real and imaginary links, common cultural experiences, points of reference, and cross-cultural influences.
The filmmaker’s own life history serves both as the point of departure for the narration as well as a lens through which the other protagonists are observed. In so doing, «Parallel Lives» operates on two temporal levels: on the one hand, the film observes the protagonists in their everyday lives, tracing their traumas, conflicts, and contradictions; on the other, it narrates their life stories. The biographies enter into mutual relationships, generating points of contact, contradictions, reflections, and interactions. The film focuses on questions of cultural and social identity, will and fate, individual life and collective values, freedom and justice.
Production: soap factory GmbH, Basel & Recycled Tv AG, Berne
Writer, director: Frank Matter