Film fest for the entire family
At first blush, Switzerland and the Philippines couldn’t be more different. While the latter’s population is 100-million strong, the former’s is a modest 8 million. But there are similarities, as well, asserted Andrea Reichlin, Switzerland’s ambassador to the Philippines.
For starters, both countries are havens for travelers.
Although our respective tourist attractions may be dissimilar, travelers are inevitably drawn to our white-sand beaches (for the Philippines) and their snow-capped mountains (for Switzerland), the ambassador pointed out.
Quite understandably, a sense of “adventure” is evident in the three films chosen to be part of the first Swiss Film Festival, which will be held from April 28 to 30 and May 5 to 7, at the Shang Cineplex Cinema 4, Shangri-La Plaza mall in Mandaluyong.
“We chose movies that appeal to young viewers,” Reichlin explained. “These films recount kids’ travels all over Switzerland, highlighting their thirst for adventure. Traveling is one of the best ways to connect with diverse people, after all.”
She said the three Swiss films (Alain Gsponer’s “Heidi,” Michael Steiner’s “Rascals on the Road,” and Fredi M. Murer’s “Vitus”) would surely appeal to every member of the family. “It will unite generations: children, grown-ups, lolos and lolas and make them discover Switzerland through its films.”
She described the Swiss film industry as “lively.” “We have many young filmmakers and veterans, as well. The director of ‘Vitus’ is now 76 years old. Interestingly, the filmmaker behind ‘Rascals on the Road,’ who belongs to the younger generation, is married to a Filipino woman.”
According to Reichlin, the multiplicity of filmmakers’ backgrounds ensures that various topics and themes are tackled in Swiss movies.
Filipinos would certainly learn a lot about Switzerland through these films, she remarked. “It will give viewers an idea of the beauty of our country.”
Also, the local audience will get acquainted with the two countries’ shared values. “These stories cross borders and cultures: Deep friendship, homesickness and the aspirations of the youth for a better and just world,” she added.
Mounting a festival of family-friendly films is quite timely, in light of the economic and political crises currently confronting the world.
“We want to highlight fundamental family values, shared experiences and happy moments. Although we hope that these films will provoke discussion on relevant issues, the fest is, more than anything else, a time to relax and enjoy being together.”
The ambassador hopes that each screening would attract an SRO crowd. “We got a spacious theater, and we would like to thank Shangri-La Plaza and the Film Development Council of the Philippines for the support,” she said.
There are also plans to take the films on the road, with screenings in Cebu and Davao soon.