×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Switzerland: Up Next!: Anja Kofmel

Kofmel readies animation/real-action debut feature ‘Chris the Swiss’

ANNECY  — During the Balkan War, Swiss journalist Christian Würtenberg was murdered in mysterious circumstances. Twenty five years later, his 15-years-younger cousin tries to clarify the real facts behind his death in a journey into both her own past and the memory of the conflict, a journey told by young Swiss helmer Anja Kofmel, Würtenberg’s cousin, in a mix of animation and live action.

“Chris the Swiss includes interviews with famed terrorist Carlos the Jackal, a Spanish mercenary and journalists.

Wurtenberg had apparently joined an extreme right and ultra Catholic paramilitary group called The First International Platoon of Volunteers (PIV) that was fighting for Croatia, Kofmel said. “On top of that, the PIV was said to be financed by arms trading and drug money and supported by Opus Dei,” she added.

Budgeted at $3.3 million, “Chris” is co-produced by Zurich-based Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion, Zagreb’s Nukleus Film and Leipzig’s MA.JA.DE Filmproduktion. “Chris the Swiss” producer is writer-director Samir who helmed Switzerland’s 2016 Oscar entry “Iraqi Odyssey.”

He calls Kofmel Switzerland’s next star-director, adding: “Anja is putting her craft and imagination [to the service of] a story of relevance, mixing animation and documentary in a new way.”

Educated at Lucerne’s School of Design and Art and Paris’ Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs (ENSAD), Anja Kofmel has certainly sparked expectation over her feature debut “Chris the Swiss,” which follows on from graduation short “Chrigi.” Other early Kofmel shorts include “Boxer Box” and “Strichcode.”

Kofmel completed her documentary training working as assistant director for actor-director Eric Bergkraut, who made “Letter to Anna, the Story of Journalist Politkovskaya’s Death.”

“I decided to mix animation and live action in “Chris” because of the nature of the story,” Kofmel explained. Despite intense research, many aspects of Würtenberg’s death still remain obscure. “At the same time, the film deals with themes such as personal perception, cover-ups  and fading memories,” she added.

“Chris the Swiss” will finish post-production in November.

“What fascinates me are stories which explore the thin border between reality and fiction, experiment with the thin line between inner perception and outside reality,” says Kofmel.

In her Her next project, currently titled “Hello Isabel,” is a fictional story with an again toon-docu format about a blind girl who’s suddenly able to see, thanks to new technologies.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • THE-CURSE-OF-THE-HANDSOME-MAN-photo2

    Filmax Acquires International on ‘The Curse of the Handsome Man’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Barcelona-based boutique studio Filmax has acquired international rights to Argentine producer-director Beda Docampo’s “The Curse of the Handsome Man,” produced by Ibón Cormenzana’s Arcadia Motion Pictures alongside Cados Producciones and Damned Besso –based in Spain—in co-production with Cecilia Díez’s Zarlek Producciones (“Medianeras”) in Argentina. The film is backed by Spanish public broadcaster [...]

  • La-mala-familia

    Javi Tasio Talks ECAM Incubator Title ‘La Mala Familia’

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Via their BRBR collective, filmmakers Nacho A. Villar and Luis Rojo have directed award winning music videos, and commercias. Now they’ll make the leap to features with “La Mala Familia,” a gritty urban drama set in the outskirts of Madrid. Variety spoke with the film’s producer, Javi Tasio, who developed this project at ECAM’s [...]

  • Submerged

    Outsider Takes World Sales on ‘Submerged’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Paul Hudson’s Outsider Pictures has acquired world sales rights to“Submergible” (Submerged) a narco capsule-sub-set drama thriller from Ecuador’s Alfredo León León who debuted with an original prisoner-of-war drama, “Open Wound.” Written by Daniela Granja Nuñez and Alfredo León León, “Submerged” is produced out of Ecuador by León León’s Boom en Cuadro and [...]

  • Charlie-Chaplin-and-Horse-Roy-Export-Co

    Carmen Chaplin to Direct ‘Charlie Chaplin, a Man of the World’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Director-producer-actress Carmen Chaplin is set to direct “Charlie Chaplin, a Man of the World,” a theatrical documentary feature which will add a hardly-explored new facet to the creator of the Tramp, one of the most iconic cinema characters in popular consciousness, plumbing Chaplin’s Romani roots and heritage. Marking the first time that [...]

  • Incitement

    'Incitement' Wins Ophir Award for Best Picture, Becomes Israel's Oscar Submission

    “Incitement” was the best-picture winner at Israel’s Ophir Awards on Sunday night, automatically becoming the country’s choice to vie for the international feature film Oscar. The winning film, a drama about the period leading up to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist in 1995, had its global premiere at [...]

  • LargoAI

    LargoAI Wins Inaugural San Sebastian Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Swiss artificial intelligence and data analytics company LargoAI won Sunday’s first-ever San Sebastian Film Festival Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge. LargoAI’s software provides data-driven filmmaking strategies, similar to those used by major VOD platforms which aggregate and often horde their own user-driven data. From early in the screenwriting process through development and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content