You might not know it but the short film industry is thriving. Swiss Short films are finding their way to an ever-larger audience thanks to the help of international film festivals and video streaming sites like YouTube and Sofy.tv.
At present, Switzerland is home to several popular film festivals and other organizations that celebrate short films. These festivals reward the creative talent of short film creators and help them promote their films so that more people can enjoy them.
Some of the most famous film festivals in Switzerland include the Fribourg International Film Festival (March), Locarno International Film Festival (August), Zurich Film Festival (September), and the Geneva International Film Festival (November).
These Swiss film festivals all feature short film competitions. The winner not only gets a prize but gains the opportunity to qualify for entry into the next Academy Awards.
Every year, Swiss film festivals receive thousands of short film submissions from filmmakers from all over the world. Entries are scrutinized by a film jury and successful applications get featured in the festival. The sheer number of applications shows just how healthy the global short film industry has become.
There is no denying that the popularity of short films in Switzerland is growing. This is thanks to the support of dedicated organizations and short movie streaming sites like Sofy.tv.
With so many great films having been produced in Switzerland, the real question is where to start? If you are not familiar with Swiss shorts, then here are some of the best Swiss short films ever made.
1. Facing Mecca (2017)
Directed by: Jan-Eric Mack
Duration: 25 minutes
Awards and Notable Citations: Best Short Film, 2018 Swiss Film Awards; Best of Festival, Palm Springs International Shortfest 2017; Best Student Film, Fargo Film Festival 2018; Shortlist for Best Live Action Short, 90th Academy Awards
Facing Mecca tells the story of Fareed, a Syrian refugee whose wife has just died of cancer. He is assisted by Swiss pensioner Roli in burying his Muslim wife, but they still encounter problems. Fareed wants his wife to be buried according to Muslim rites but the graves in the cemetery are not aligned to face Mecca. Together, they try to overcome a bewildering amount of Swiss bureaucracy. Finally, Roli manages to devise an amazingly simple solution.
2. Bon Voyage (2016)
Directed by: Marc Raymond Wilkins
Genre: Drama, Fiction
Duration: 20 minutes
Awards and Notable Citations: Best Live Action Short over 15 minutes, 2016 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films; Best Narrative Short, 2016 San Diego Film Festival; Shortlist for Best Live Action Short, 89th Academy Awards
Bon Voyage tells the story of two holiday sailors (Jonas and Silvia), and how their cruise in the Mediterranean Sea gets interrupted by a sinking, overloaded refugee boat. Together, they do their best to save as many Syrian survivors as they can.
3. Parvaneh (2012)
Directed by: Talkhon Hamzavi
Duration: 25 minutes
Awards and Notable Citations: Light in Motion Award for Best Short Film, 2013 Foyl2e Film Festival; Silver Medal (Foreign Category), Student Academy Awards 2013; Nominated for Best Live Action Short, 87th Academy Awards.
This film tells the story of Parvaneh, a young Afghan immigrant who lives in a Swiss transit center. When she finds out about her father’s illness, she travels from the Swiss mountains to Zurich to send money to her family. Her journey is met by several surprising encounters.
4. Rewind Forward (2017)
Directed by: Justin Stoneham
Genre: Documentary Short
Duration: 24 minutes
Awards and Notable Citations: Golden Pardino Winner, Locarno International Film Festival 2017; Grand Prix Winner for Documentary Short, Festival International Du Court Metrage Au Saguenay 2018; Best Short Film Nominee, Swiss Film Prize 2018.
This short film tells Justin’s story as he takes a trip down memory lane after he finds a box full of old family VHS tapes. He discovers that he has to pay his respects to his deceased father and decides to seek out his estranged mother.
5. La Femme et le TGV (The Railroad Lady), 2016
Directed by: Timo von Gunten
Genre: Drama, Family, Romance
Duration: 30 minutes
Awards and Notable Citations: People’s Choice Award Winner for Best Short Film, 2017 Boulder International Film Festival; Audience Choice Award Winner for Narrative Short, 2016 Heartland Film Festival; Oscar Nominee for Best Live Action Short Film, 2017 Academy Awards.
La femme et le TGV is the story of Elise Lafontaine, a lonely widow who everyday waves at the express train that passes her house. Her daily routine helps her to get to know Bruno, the TGV train driver. The two develop a relationship through the poetic letters that they write for each other.
6. Operation Commando (2016)
Directed by: Jan Czarlewski
Duration: 21 minutes
Awards and Notable Citations: Best Short Video Award Nominee for International Competition, 2017 FEC Festival (European Short Film Festival); Grand Jury Award Nominee, Palm Springs International ShortFest 2016; Best Short Film Nominee, Swiss Film Prize 2017.
A film about two brothers in a summer camp who play at war. When the brothers get separated, the older brother sets to find his lost sibling.
7. En la Boca (2016)
Directed by: Matteo Gariglio
Genre: Crime, Drama, Family
Duration: 26 minutes
Awards and Notable Citations: Best European Short Film Winner, 2017 Krakow Film Festival; Festival Prize Winner for Best Documentary Short Film, Guanajuato International Film Festival 2017; Short Film Nominee for European Film Awards 2017.
The short film tells the story of the Molina family as they struggle to make a living selling fake tickets to soccer games. The family falls deeper and deeper into their life of crime. Eventually they get into conflict with the police and the mother has to try her best to keep her family from falling apart.
8. Nirin (2015)
Directed by: Josua Hotz
Duration: 16 minutes
Awards and Notable Citations: Special Jury Mention Award, 2016 Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival; Best Short Film Nominee, Swiss Film Prize 2017.
This short film details the journey of Nirin, a 6-year old boy who leaves his native village to explore the country of Madagascar. His journey gives him takes an unexpected turn of events.
9. Analysis Paralysis (2016)
Directed by: Anete Melece
Genre: Drama, Animation
Duration: 9 minutes
Awards and Notable Citations: Animalab Award Winner for Best Short- International Animation, 2017 Sedicicorto International Film Festival; Swiss Film Prize Nominee for Best Animation Film of 2017.
This animated short film is about a gardener called Anton who goes to the park to look for the mysterious thug who has destroyed his flower beds.
10. The Bridge Over the River (2016)
Directed by: Jadwiga Kowalska
Genre: Drama, Romance, Animation
Duration: 6 minutes
Awards and Notable Citations: Festival Award Winner of Special Jury Mention, ECU European Independent Film Festival 2017; Nominee for the Pardino d’Oro for Best Swiss Short Film, 2017 Locarno Film Festival.
This animated short film tells the story of a man who decides to look for the love of his life in the afterlife.
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