The Solothurn Film Festival ranks among the oldest film festivals in Switzerland and is the most important festival for Swiss film productions. In 1966 the Solothurn Film Guild organised a conference called “Swiss film today.” The aim was to generate new ideas and inspiration for young, independent Swiss filmmakers. From this evolved the association called “Schweizerische Gesellschaft Solothurner Filmtage” (SGSF), which is responsible for organising the festival.
Although the Solothurn Film Festival has already existed for nearly half a century, there have only been three directors throughout its history: Stephan Portmann was the festival’s first director in 1967; in 1987 he was replaced by Ivo Kummer. When Ivo Kummer accepted the position as head of the Film Department for the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (SFOC) as of August 1, 2011, Seraina Rohrer was appointed as his successor.
Between 1998 and 2008, Solothurn hosted the award ceremony of the Swiss Film Prize during the festival. In 2009 the award ceremony was relocated to the KKL Luzern (Culture and Convention Centre Lucerne). The nominees for the Swiss Film Prize are selected and announced in Solothurn during the festival.
The "Swiss Panorama" section is the centrepiece of the Solothurn Film Festival. It presents a selection of current Swiss film productions of all genres and lengths from all four linguistic regions of Switzerland. The program reflects the diversity of filmmaking in Switzerland, encompassing documentary, fiction, experimental, short and animation films, as well as music clips.
Every year the special “Rencontre” program honours an individual whose work has played a significant role in Swiss filmmaking. The program presents a selection of film productions, while also enabling personal encounters. With “Rencontre,” the Solothurn Film Festival offers the opportunity to gain in-depth insight into the works of well-known Swiss cineastes and to meet with them.
Previous honoured individuals:
2014 Peter Liechti
2013 Silvio Soldini
2012 Marthe Keller
2011 Ruth Waldburger
2010 Niki Reiser
2009 Léa Pool
2008 Walo Lüönd
2007 Renato Berta
2006 Maximilian Schell
2005 Bruno Ganz
2004 Jean-Luc Bideau
2003 Pio Corradi
2002 Paul Riniker
2001 T&C Film AG, Marcel Hoehn
2000 Jacqueline Veuve
1999 Alexander J. Seiler
1998 Claude Goretta
1997 Reni Mertens and Walter Marti
1996 Alain Tanner
The Focus section addresses topical issues and was presented for the first time at the Solothurn Film Festival in 2012. In Focus 2012, ten films were screened in a program called “Beyond cinema” (Jenseits des Kinos). The films explored the boundaries of classic cinema, examining closely the current audio-visual landscape at home and abroad to discover new narrative styles as well as atypical production and distribution forms. A panel discussion and workshop were also held in conjunction with the Focus program, prompting the exchange between experts and the audience.
The Focus section evolved from the former Invitation section, which was geared to the cultural exchange and collaboration with the neighbouring regions in Europe.
Initially in the 1960s, individual directors from abroad were invited. By the 1990s entire guest countries were presented in Solothurn.
The festival’s supporting program offers a diverse number of information events, special screenings for children, as well as theme-specific panel discussions and workshops examining issues concerning the Swiss film culture and film industry in collaboration with various Swiss film institutions and film associations. These events address current topics in Swiss film culture and are geared directly to filmmakers and those who take an active interest in film.
One of the festival’s signature features is the Film Club panel discussion: international film critics are invited to discuss current Swiss film productions.
Numerous awards are presented at the Solothurn Film Festival. The awards not only honour filmmakers and their works, but also pay tribute to individuals whose work in the Swiss film industry actively contributes to the success of national filmmaking. All award-winners are listed on the official Website of the Solothurn Film Festival.
The Prix de Soleure, endowed with CHF 60,000, was awarded for the first time in 2009. It honours an outstanding Swiss film produced for the cinema with a distinctive humanistic message and impressive cinematic form. The Selection Committee of the Solothurn Film Festival nominates five to ten films every year; a jury, newly comprised every year, decides on the winner of the award.
2014“L'escale” by Kaveh Bakthiari
2013 “Der Imker” by Mano Khalil
2012 “Vol special” by Fernand Melgar
2011 “Cleveland contre Wallstreet” by Jean-Stéphane Bron
2010 “Nel giardino dei suoni” by Nicola Bellucci
2009 “No more smoke signals” by Fanny Bräuning
The Audience Award has been an integral part of the program of the Solothurn Film Festival since 2007. The audience votes on its favourite from approximately ten film productions screened in the festival’s evening program are nominated. The PRIX DU PUBLIC is endowed with CHF 20,000 and awarded by the festival’s principal sponsors, Swiss Post and Swiss Life, in collaboration with the Solothurn Film Festival.
2015 Usfahrt Oerlike by Paul Riniker
2014 “Neuland” by Anna Thommen
2013 “More Than Honey” by Markus Imhoof
2012 “Die Wiesenberger” by Bernhard Weber and Martin Schilt
2011 “Sommervögel” by Paul Riniker
2010 “Bödälä – Dance the Rhythm” by Gitta Gsell
2009 “Maman est chez le coiffeur” by Léa Pool
2008 “Das Geheimnis von Murk” by Sabine Boss
2007 “Vitus” by Fredi M. Murer
There are three competitions in conjunction with the “Upcoming” section, which was initiated in 2012 to showcase emerging filmmakers, place new talent in the spotlight and examine current trends.
Upcoming Talent: SUISSIMAGE/SSA – Newcomer Prizes: The SUISSIMAGE/SSA (Swiss Authors’ Rights Cooperative for Audiovisual Works/Society of Swiss Authors) endowed the Newcomer Prize for Best Short Film which was presented by a three-member jury, amounting to CHF 15,000, as well as the Audience Prize for Best Animation Film, amounting to a total of CHF 10,000.
Upcoming Music Clips: Jury Prize: The SUISA Foundation for Music presents an award in conjunction with the “Music Clips” program the Jury Prize, endowed with CHF 5,000, presented to the director of an outstanding clip by a jury of experts.
Upcoming Lab: In 2012 the Solothurn Film Festival and SRG SSR, together with the web portals Frischfilm.sf.tv and moncinema.ch searched for the most original 60-second remake of the classic Swiss film production “The Swissmakers.” Approximately 40 filmmakers submitted works which were uploaded on the two portals, and a jury and the audience selected two winners.
Upcoming Talent: “La Noyée” by Vincent Weber
Upcoming Music Clips: “Hailey Fought the Law” (Blanket) by Piet Baumgartner
Audience Prize SUISSIMAGE/SSA: “Gypaetus Helveticus” by Marcel Barelli (CHF 5,000); “Bon Voyage” by Fabio Friedli (CHF 3,000); and “Borderline “Dustin Rees” (CHF 2;000).
Upcoming Lab: “Die Schweizermacher” in 60 seconds: “Die Schafmacher” by Thaïs Odermatt (Jury Prize) and “Swiss Maker” by Raphaël Tschudi (Audience Prize).
Upcoming Talent: “A World for Raúl” by Mauro Mueller
→ Article: Swiss Film Prize
The nominations for the Swiss Film Prize QUARTZ are announced on the Night of the Nominations by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture. During the Solothurn Film Festival members of the Swiss Film Academy, founded in 2008 by the film industry associations and presided over by film director Christian Frei, view the submitted films in the Academy Lounge or in the festival cinemas and submit the names of their nominees via secret ballot. The nominees (in nine categories) are announced on the “Night of the Nominations.”
The award ceremony was held in Solothurn until 2009. Since then it has been held, about two months after the Solothurn Film Festival, in the KKL Luzern (Culture and Convention Centre Lucerne) in collaboration with SRG SSR, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, SWISS FILMS and the Swiss Film Academy.
The “Prix Pathé - Film Critic Prize” honours film critics for outstanding contributions to current Swiss film productions. Since 2010 the Prix Pathé has been awarded in both the “Print Media” category and in the “Electronic Media” category, each of which are endowed with CHF 10,000. Benefactors of the prize are Pathé Schweiz and Pathé Films AG.
Previous prize-winners – Print Media
2014 Mathieu Loewer for his dossier on the film "L'expérience Blocher" by Jean-Stéphane Bron (Le Courrier, 14.8.2013).
2013 Florian Keller for his contribution "Ein Land von Schissfilmern" (Das Magazin, 14.1.2012).
2012 Flurin Fischer for his film critique “Godards göttliche Komödie” on the film “Film Socialisme” by Jean-Luc Godard (Bündner Tagblatt, 3.12 2010).
2011 Christian Jungen for his critique “Bitte mehr Mut und Haltung” (NZZ am Sonntag, 17.1.2010).
2010 Christoph Egger for his film critique “Ein kurzer Sommer der Anarchie” on the film “Home” by Ursula Meier (NZZ, 19.2.2009).
2009 Martin Walder for his film critique “Szenen einer Ehe” on the film “Giorni e nuvole” by Silvio Soldini (NZZ am Sonntag, 30.3.2008).
2008 Matthias Lerf for his film critique “Jenseits und todlustig” on the film “Sieben Mulden und eine Leiche” by Thomas Hämmerli (Sonntags Zeitung, 25.3.2007).
2007 Alexandra Stäheli for her Filmbesprechung “Edelmiezen erstarren im Design” on the film “Nachbeben” by Stina Werenfels (NZZ, 3.3.2006).
2006 Antoine Duplan for his article “Regarder la mort en face” on the film “Exit” by Fernand Melgar (L’Hebdo, 1.9.2005).
Previous prize-winners - Electronic Media:
2014 Vincent Kucholl and Vincent Veillon for their satiric contribution on Swiss films ("120 secondes", Couleur 3, 25.01.2013 und 24.05.2013).
2013 Lisa Röösli for her TV-Beitrag "Thorberg" on the film "Thorberg" by Dieter Fahrer ("Kulturplatz", SRF1, 29.8.2012).
2012 Brigitte Häring for her Radio-Beitrag “Filmischer Einblick ins Teenie-Dasein” on the films “Romans d’ados” by Béatrice Bakhti and “Mit dem Bauch durch die Wand” by Anka Schmid (“Reflexe” program on DRS2, 1.2.2011).
2011 Daniel Hürlimann (1968 – 2011) for his Radio-Beitrag on the filming of “Lionel” by Mohammed Soudani (“Geronimo” program on Radio Svizzera Rete Due, 11.12.2009).
2010 Michael Sennhauser for his film critique “Maman est chez le coiffeur” by Léa Pool (DRS2 aktuell, 8.4.2009).
The «Prix d'honneur» (founded by the Wasseramt Communities) honours a Swiss professional in the industry whose achievements have made an outstanding contribution to the Swiss film culture. The prize has been awarded since 2002 and is endowed with CHF 10,000. The decision is based on a proposal submitted by the Selection Committee of the Solothurn Film Festival.
2014 Martine Felber, makeup artist
2013 Beki Probst, Bernese cinema operator and head of European Film Markets, Berlinale
2012 Christian Schocher, director and cinema operator
2011 Françoise Deriaz, editor-in-chief Ciné-Bulletin
2010 Carlo Varini, cinematographer
2009 Ilona Stamm, distributor Stamm Film
2008 Mathias Kälin, cinematographer
2007 David Streiff, cultural administration
2006 Renato Berta, cinematographer
2005 Freddy Buache, intermediary of Swiss films as filmmaker and critic
2004 Hugues Ryffel, cinematographer
2003 Erich Langjahr, screenwriter, director, cinematographer, producer and distributor
The Swiss Television Award honours Swiss actors for the Best Leading Role and the Best Supporting Role in a Swiss television production. The award in each of the four categories is endowed with CHF 10,000. The award is endowed by SWISSPERFORM and presented by a jury of representatives from SWISSPERFORM and the Solothurn Film Festival.
The Swiss Television Award was established in 2001 and awarded at the Solothurn Film Festival for the second time in 2012.
2012 Lea Hadorn (leading female role in “Liebe und andere Unfälle”)
Roland Vouilloz (leading male role in the CROM series)
Marina Golovine (supporting female role in the CROM series)
Peter Wyssbrod (supporting male role in “Mord hinterm Vorhang”)
2011 Markus Fischer (Snakefilm GmbH) and Stefan Jäger for the film “Hunkeler und der Fall Livius”
The "Schweizerische Gesellschaft Solothurner Filmtage" (SGSF) is the sponsoring organisation of the Solothurn Film Festival. This non-profit, politically and denominationally neutral association was founded in 1967 and is based in Solothurn. It is responsible for organising the Solothurn Film Festival and increasing public awareness of Swiss film productions. Some 580 members belong to the “Schweizerische Gesellschaft Solothurner Filmtage.”
The selection committee has four representatives from the Solothurn Film Festival and four external experts from the film industry. The latter are newly appointed every two years and, when possible, come from all four linguistic regions of Switzerland. The selection committee is presided over by the director of the Solothurn Film Festival and is responsible for selecting the films screened in the Swiss Panorama programme.