Bande à part Films in Locarno
Founded in November 2009 by filmmakers Lionel Baier, Jean-Stéphane Bron, Ursula Meier and Frédéric Mermoud, Bande à part Films is a Lausanne-based production company whose output has crossed the regional border and gained attention at international film festivals like Berlin, Cannes and, of course, Locarno. With their latest production, Moka, celebrating its world premiere on the huge Piazza Grande screen, we look back on the four founders’ relationship with the festival.
The Lausanne-born director has been a regular Locarno attendee since 2004, when his feature debut Garçon stupide was selected in the Appellations Suisses section (currently Panorama Suisse). In 2008, Un autre homme, a black-and-white, darkly entertaining look at the world of film criticism, screened in the Concorso internazionale. Two years later he served as a jury member, while in 2011 he paid tribute to one of his mentors with Bon vent Claude Goretta. His two most recent films, Les grandes ondes (à l’ouest) and La vanité, were part of the Piazza Grande line-up in 2013 and 2015, respectively.
One of the most acclaimed directors in the Swiss documentary field, Bron has been a fixture of the Piazza Grande scene for almost twenty years, with the following: Connu de nos services (1997), Mais im Bundeshuus (2003), Mon frère se marie (2006) and L’Expérience Blocher (2013). In addition, he’s made appearances in front of the camera in Lionel Baier’s films Garçon stupide, Un autre homme and Les grandes ondes (à l’ouest), and showcased La bonne conduite in the Perspectives Suisses section in 1999.
The French-born director first graced the festival with her presence in 1994, with the short film Le songe d’Isaac. This was followed by Des heures sans sommeil in 1998 and Tous à table in 2001. Her feature films Des épaules solides (2002) and L’enfant d’en haut (2012) both screened in the Appellations Suisses section. This year she returns to Locarno as a member of the European Casting Director Award jury.
Before his feature debut Complices was selected for the Concorso internazionale in 2009, Mermoud was already a Locarno veteran with five shorts: Son jour à elle (1998), Les électrons libres (1999), L’escalier (2003), Rachel (2006, screened in Piazza Grande) and Le créneau (2007). His second feature Moka, starring Emmanuelle Devos and Nathalie Baye, is part of this edition’s Piazza Grande line-up.Max Borg