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I AM A HOT MESS
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

RUÄCH
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

PARALLEL LIVES
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

CIAO BABYLON
A TV-documentary project by Kurt Reinhard and Christoph Schreiber, CH 2017
By the end of the century half of the 6,500 languages spoken today will have vanished. In Switzerland not only Romansh is under threat but some Swiss-German dialects are also disappearing. What does this loss mean for mankind?
In New York City roughly 800 languages are spoken, more than in any other city. In order to uncover these linguistic treasures and record the diverse range of idioms, linguist Dan Kaufman established the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA). In his archive we meet Luis Sànchez who makes weekly recordings in his native Nahuatl for ELA. He makes a big effort to remember words that he has not used for a long time. Another of ELA’s regulars is Amalia Malchiodi who records stories in an old Romontsch Sursilvan dialect. Over sixty years ago, Amalia emigrated from Sagogn in Grisons, and, after countless detours, eventually settled in New York. Her son Giancarlo spoke perfect Romansh as a boy, but later, as he says, decided out of youthful exuberance to only speak English. He now regrets that he is no longer proficient in the language of his forefathers.
This is why he has started to relearn the language and eventually embarks on a trip with Amalia to Sagogn, his mother’s hometown. There they meet a Portuguese family whose children are growing up with the Romansh language, which they are learning with relative ease given its similarity to their mother tongue. As a result, the many Portuguese immigrants in Grisons are becoming the new hope for the preservation of Romansh in Switzerland.
Precisely these kinds of surprising, unpredictable twists in the evolution of languages are fascinating to Dan Kaufman. He says of himself that he feels like “an Indiana Jones of linguistics: the archaeologist with a whip in his hand who goes after valuable treasures.” Kaufman has already preserved more than thirty languages from their complete disappearance. He says that no one can predict which languages will still be spoken in 200 years and which ones will only survive in the archives of the ELA.
Production: soap factory GmbH, Basel
Written and directed by: Kurt Reinhard and Christoph Schreiber