Switzerland holds first Swiss Film Festival

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The Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines, in partnership with Shangri-La Plaza and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), presents the first ever Swiss Film Festival in celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and the Philippines.

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The festival will feature three family-friendly movies namely Heidi, Vitus and Rascals on the Road/Mein Name ist Eugen, and will take place over two weekends—April 28 to 30 and May 5 to 7). The films will be shown with English subtitles with the aim of promoting and fostering cultural exchange and people to people relations.

Based on the biggest best selling Swiss novel written in the 1880’s by Johanna Spyri, Heidi is the classic story about a young orphan girl living with her grandfather Alm in the Alps. Heidi’s Aunt Dete then whisks her away to Frankfurt to live in an upper-class household and serve as the companion of the wheelchair-bound child Klara. A fish out of water in a strange new city, Heidi becomes lonesome and falls ill with homesickness leading her to go back home to the mountains. Klara then visits Heidi one Summer which causes Heidi’s friend Peter to become terribly jealous.

Mein Name ist Eugen also known as Rascals on the Road is another film based on a popular 1955 children’s book by Swiss author Klaus Schädelin. It’s the story of four little rascals told through the eyes of 12-year-old Eugen. Eugen and his three friends go on a quest to follow the footsteps of “the biggest rascal of all time” Fritzli Bühler and to search for long lost treasure. Their sudden disappearance leads their parents to follow them and as the boys continue their rambunctious journey to Zurich, they begin to doubt if Fritzli Bühler even exists at all.

Vitus is a 12-year old piano prodigy whose parents, though they mean well, suffocate him with their big and ambitious dreams for him. All Vitus wants is to live a life like an ordinary kid, so he decides to rebel and chase his own dreams instead with the help of his eccentric grandfather who loves flying.

The Swiss films being featured wonderfully illustrate Switzerland’s sceneries and lifestyle. They take any grown-up back to his childhood and illuminate the eyes of all children.

“Swiss Film Festival was made for Filipinos to discover Switzerland’s inspiring stories. Travel is what we have in common. In the Philippines, it’s from island to island and in Switzerland, it’s mountain to mountain. This is what Swiss films are about. There are very different stories of course but they all reflect somehow the thirst for adventure. Travel also means to connect, whereas the stories talk about cultures, friendships, and aspirations,” Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines, Andrea Reichlin said to members of the media during the launch.

All screenings are open to the public and is free admission. First come, first served seating, no reservations required.

The opening reception (by invitation) for the film fest will be on April 27, 6:30 p.m. at the 4th level, East Wing, Shangri-la Plaza. Cocktails will be immediately followed by the Philippine premiere of the film Heidi.

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