Swiss animation in the spotlight at the Annecy Festival

“Olga” by Elie Grappe won the award for best feature film 2022 and “Ostrov” for best documentary on Friday. The resonance between these films and the war in Ukraine may have outweighed the number of nominations.

“Olga”, the first feature film by Elie Grappe, 28 years old and educated at ECAL, tells the story of a young Ukrainian gymnast who flees to Switzerland at the time of the pro-European Maidan revolution in 2013 and 2014. His film , co-produced by Point Prod and Jean-Marc Fröhle Genevaagain wins the award for best screenplay and best sound.

The actress of “Olga” in Switzerland

Anastasia Budiashkina, the young 20-year-old gymnast who plays the lead in Olga, was stranded for several days in an air-raid shelter in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, and ended up in Poland and then Switzerland. She was present in Zurich on Friday evening, where she spoke briefly, emotionally and modestly, about Russia’s aggression against her country.

With recent events, “Olga” is experiencing a second life, as shown in England, Germany and the United States, where she is “used” to raise funds for Ukraine. “We have to stay awake, we have to continue to participate in donations and collections,” emphasizes Elie Grappe.

In the film, Olga is torn between her sports training in Macolin for the Olympic Games and the demonstrations in Kyiv involving her mother, a journalist. “My character also experiences this tension between gymnastics and documentary images of the revolution. These two images have nothing to do with each other and at the same time continue to clash.”

The sound is about the same lexical field: the cracking of the metal bar is an echo of the beatings during the demonstrations, she said in an interview with Keystone-ATS.

Ostrov’s metaphor

Russian director Svetlana Rodina and Laurent Stoop’s documentary Ostrov focuses on a Russian island where life once flourished before dying with the fall of the USSR. Today, residents have little more than their belief in the “savior” Vladimir Putin.

“With the war in Ukraine, our film has become a much deeper metaphor,” Svetlana Rodina said on RTS. “Russia isolates itself by attacking Ukraine, turns into an island”.

“During filming, we had indications that war was in the works, but without really understanding it,” she continued. “Our protagonists watched the news on Russian television every night and we filmed it several times. And every day one, two or three topics mentioned the so-called Nazis in Ukraine.”

Claudia Grob best actress

The rain of nominations attributed to other films will have weighed less heavily. In “La Mif” (6 nominations), Geneva native Frédéric Baillif worked with the residents and the director of a real home. And that last Claudia Grob won the Quartz for Best Actress.

Still, she doesn’t see herself as an actress: “We played our own role, but not our own story,” she told Keystone-ATS. Best Supporting Actress also goes to an amateur actress from La Mif, Anaïs Uldry – Audrey in the film. “La Mif” still wins the Best Editing award.

Pablo Caprez rewarded

The best male interpretation goes to Pablo Caprez (Gabriel) in “Soul of a Beast” by Zurich director Lorenz Merz, nominated eight times, a record. This film still wins Best Music and Best Cinematography awards.

The Swiss Film Prize is awarded by the Federal Office of Culture (BAK) in cooperation with the “Quartz” association. Geneva Zurich and the SSR. In addition to mentions of the war in Ukraine and the upcoming Netflix Lex vote in May, this edition featured a heavy presence of non-professional actors and actresses.

Federal Councilor Alain Berset presented the honorary award to the filmmaker Fredi M. Murer. He is the director of L’Âme-soeur, Pleine lune and Vitus, among others.

The five feature films nominated for this 2022 edition and four out of five documentaries have been co-produced by the SSR under the Audiovisual Pact. Three of the five feature films selected (“Olga”, “La Mif” and “Azor”) were directed or produced by Romands, as were two of five documentaries (“Les Guérisseurs” and “Réveil sur Mars”).

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