EUROFILMER
Europäischer Autorenkreis für Film und Video e. V.
European Film & Video Makers Circle

Eurofilmer interview

An interview with the EAK President
The journey to Switzerland - EAK President Uwe Haase and LB Werner Scheffknecht visit the General Assembly of SIFA in Hausen

Eurofilmer:
What intentions and expectations did you have, when you and Werner Scheffknecht went to visit the film enthusiasts in Switzerland?

Uwe Haase:
The trigger was an assignment from the EAK board meeting of 10 to 12 February 2017 in Weidenbach. It was necessary to clarify what ideas the SIFA (the Swiss company of the film amateurs) represents in cooperation with the EAK. What do they expect from us? What can the EAK offer the Swiss? In what form can we establish cooperation on a reliable and free basis? What is the structural cooperation? Who represents the Swiss in the EAK?

Eurofilmer:
Who did you talk to in Switzerland?

Uwe Haase:
We had been invited by the President, Reto Stocker, and the ten-member board of the SIFA, and we received a warm welcome.

Eurofilmer:
What exactly were the results of your conversations?

Uwe Haase:
From the start this contact between our German delegation and the Swiss friends showed that we were in broad agreement but there was also a clear demarcation between the two associations. The Swiss have no interest in interfering with the intra-German EAK affairs. This also applies to the elections. The SIFA has its own structures which are binding on them. The interest of membership in the EAK is based on the possibility to show their own films at the respective international festivals in Germany. Added to this is a decade-long relationship and, in many cases, friendship that should be preserved and further developed.

Some clarification of the form of bicultural cooperation at association level was necessary; SIFA represents a third of all EAK members. For health reasons Hansruedi Wiget, a long-standing Swiss national, was not a candidate for the newly elected board. This gap must be filled. To my great pleasure, Martin Stumpf has agreed to think about working as a second chairman on the board of the EAK. This would not only close a gap, but at the same time ensure the continuity of long-term cooperation with Switzerland. Of course, Martin Stumpf needs time to think and, in addition, the approval of the SIFA headquarters.

It is very pleasing that Hansruedi Wiget will continue to serve as a jury commissioner for the EAK. For this I especially thank him!

Eurofilmer:
How was your trip to Switzerland in a nutshell?

Uwe Haase:
After years of uncertainty about the status of SIFA in relation to the EAK, it became clear that the Swiss film friends, being a completely self-sufficient organisation, saw the main point of their relationship with the EAK as the chance to show the films of their authors at the Euro-Filmfestivals. In addition, we have a creative friendship, which should be cared for as intensively as possible. Controversies, partly polemical, about internal matters of both associations are thus off the table. The entry regulations continue as before, and at the board level, we are going to welcome Martin Stumpf as a second vice-chairman of the EAK.

I can only thank our Swiss film friends and I am sure that the cordial connection between us, which was clearly felt at last year's Euro-Filmfestival in Ahrensburg, has now been put on a clear organisational basis. The friendly reception in the circle of the SIFA Board of Management and the intensive clarifying discussions were necessary and will strengthen our relationship for the long term. What connects us across the borders of our countries is the passion for international amateur film and we are looking forward to many more contacts, in line with our motto "where authors meet".

The interview was conducted by Peter Klüver