×

‘Chris the Swiss’’ Anja Kofmel, Sereina Gabathuler Re-Team on ‘Frozen Soil’ (EXCLUSIVE)

“Chris the Swiss” director Anja Kofmel and producer Sereina Gabathuler are teaming once again, this time on the near-future sci-fi animated feature “Frozen Soil.” The two are pitching the project at the Cannes Film Market, and have shared early work-in-progress art with Variety.

The feature will reutilize the blend of animation, live action and documentary footage techniques executed so well on “Chris the Swiss,” a festival and critical hit in which the director uses cinema to tell the story of her cousin who was killed mysteriously during the Yugoslav wars when she was only a girl.

Variety’s Jessica Kiang reviewed the film, noting that: “Her (Anja) animations are particularly lovely, evoking the hero worship she felt as a child for her larger-than-life relative.”

While “Chris” was set in the past, “Frozen Soil” will project into the future to examine some of the major themes and questions forming our world today. The film turns on Kai, a woman born blind but granted “sight” with the help of an AI program called Bo(o). In time, Kai begins to question the influence that Bo(o) is having on her, and suspects manipulation.

Gabathuler talked with Variety about using multiple mediums in storytelling, the shift to sci-fi and financing Swiss animation.

You and Anja are best, or at least most recently, known for “Chris the Swiss,” which was an animated documentary about the past. You’ve said “Frozen Soil” mixes live action, animation and documentary, but I wonder; how do you make a documentary set in the future?

“Frozen Soil” is set in the near future. It is dealing with the topic of what impact new technologies and scientific breakthroughs can have on our society.  For us it is important that although “Frozen Soil” is a sci-fi movie, its connection to present issues remains strong. Bo(o) has access to all the information available online and she is constantly showing pictures to Kai, who can only now see thanks to a brain implant, not only from the present but also of the past.

Can you share any details about how you want to utilize the three styles?

The film will closely follow the protagonist Kai and the antagonist Bo(o). We will tell the story out of the subjective perspective of these two characters.  The main part, let’s call it “the reality of the film,” is Kai’s perspective. This part will be animated.  The AI world will be live action in a surveillance kind of way and documentary footage will be used in terms of information that Bo(o) will show to Kai. It is important to Anja to find a way to bridging past experiences and historical key moments to future questions, not in a didactic but a subtle and astonishing way.

Is DV the only company involved so far? Any plans to work with former partners from “Chris” or other productions you’ve worked on?

Yes, DV is so far the only company involved and we are aiming for a two to three country co-production. Mainly dependent on where the animation will be produced. But of course, it makes sense to continue successful collaborations from the past where fitting.

Do you have or are you looking to get any government backing?

Yes, definitely. With “Chris the Swiss” the various funding institutions in Switzerland were very supportive. I am certain that we have a good chance of being supported as well with “Frozen Soil.” Not only for the production, but also for the development, which is a crucial and time-consuming phase in the animation.

Will the animation all be done in Switzerland? Or is that something that will be decided when future co-producers have boarded?

We will develop the project out of Switzerland and go abroad for production as this project is simply too big for just Switzerland. But we hope to get as many Swiss animators involved as possible. Many of them are already living abroad and it is our aim to bring them together and help strengthen the Swiss animation scene doing so.

CREDIT: Dschoint Ventschr

More Film

  • Tarantino Movies Ranked Illustration

    All of Quentin Tarantino's Movies Ranked

    In the history of cinema, has any director done more to elevate the idea of movies as cool than Quentin Tarantino? Certainly, the idea that films could be made by fans dates back at least to the French New Wave, when a group of die-hard critics stepped behind the camera. A few years later, Spielberg, [...]

  • A Stranger on the Beach

    Anonymous Content Wins Film Rights to Michele Campbell's 'A Stranger on the Beach' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Anonymous Content has won the adaptive rights to the forthcoming Michele Campbell novel “A Stranger on the Beach.” In a competitive situation, Anonymous outbid multiple players for the thriller, which it will adapt for the big screen with in-house producers Alex Goldstone and Rosalie Swedlin. “Stranger” has been likened to sensual thrillers like “Fatal Attraction” [...]

  • Ridley Scott Matt Damon Ben Affleck

    Ridley Scott, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener Team on 'The Last Duel'

    Ridley Scott looks to have his next directing job, as he has signed on to direct “The Last Duel” with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck attached to star. Damon and Affleck co-wrote the script with Oscar-nominated Nicole Holofcener. Scott, Damon and Affleck all producing along with Scott’s producing partner Kevin Walsh. Drew Vinton is also [...]

  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas Ed Asner Elliott

    Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Ed Asner, Elliott Gould Seek SAG-AFTRA Board Seats

    Ed Asner, Elliott Gould and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are seeking SAG-AFTRA national board seats as members of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Asner is the former president of the Screen Actors Guild, serving two terms from 1981 to 1985, and winning five Emmys for his role as Lou Grant and two others [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor Comic Con

    Comic-Con: Marvel 'Shock and Awe' Strategy Dominates Twitter Buzz

    Disney’s Marvel Studios handily won the hype trophy from this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego. Marvel Studios — which returned to the 2019 Comic-Con stage with a chock-full Phase 4 slate of announcements — dominated the discussion on Twitter out of the convention, capturing the biggest volume of buzz for nine of the top 10 [...]

  • Chris Rock - Netflix

    Chris Rock's 'Saw' Reboot Moves Up Five Months to May 2020

    Lionsgate has moved Chris Rock’s upcoming “Saw” reboot forward by five months to May 15, 2020, vacating the pre-Halloween date of Oct. 23, 2020. The studio indicated Monday that it decided to move the untitled “Saw” movie into the summer slot after seeing early footage from the set of the film currently shooting in Toronto. The move [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content