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

Newsletter from the Board of Management

We mourn our founding member and former vice president Günter Viereckt

A farewell to Günter Viereckt

I still remember very well that Beat Ricklin, my father and I founded a film club in Zurzach. I was responsible for technology and as a youngster I thought I was ready for any eventuality. One evening a club member brought Günter Viereckt to the film club.  His films were watched. I can still remember: "The city of Saint Blasius" (Dubrovnik) and "Stop a while", about hunting with a camera instead of a gun. These were films that impressed me very much, as we had been mainly technical in our club to that point. It immediately became clear to me: if you wanted to make good films, you didn't just have to master the technology, but also to captivate the audience with a good story.

It was also the time when Röbi Lutz founded the SIFA and the young Zurzacher Club made a name for itself there from the start.

Günter was very interested in judging and in endless discussions with Hans Rüdisühli and I then developed a first SIFA jury system. It still contained criteria like: "cleanliness of the film" or "exposure and sharpness" etc. Today we smile about it, but there was a philosophy behind it. Günter wanted to reward the authors at the SIFA festival, not to "bawl them out", those were evaluation points that anyone could earn. So it was possible for less experienced authors to get a good rating in such a system.

As Günter said: "We want to get the authors to make another film for the next festival!" If we tell the authors what they did well and very well (criteria that had to be rated badly, were mention only marginally) we can "tickle" them and have them come to the competition with a film the following year.  Günter always remained true to this basic idea for the jury.  That is why Günter always resisted  awarding fewer medals:  "If the author can take a medal home with him, he will make competition films again.”

Soon Eurofilmer were founded in Germany and Günter wanted to merge with SIFA. In addition, he immediately saw that the Eurofilmfestival would enable him to offer Swiss SIFA authors a higher level of international competition. This possibility is still enjoyed by Swiss authors today.

What a festival it was back then! The ladies came in long gowns and the gentlemen in suits and ties. The dinner followed by the award ceremony was always the highlight and Günter was a born speaker and award presenter. He did this so skilfully that in the end everyone was satisfied, even those who were not rewarded with precious metal.

Günter was not only active in Switzerland as SIFA President, but also as Vice President of the Eurofilmer and at the same time as the person responsible for the jury. The many years with Ruth König as President were probably the most successful for the Eurofilmer, the SIFA and also the amateur filmmakers throughout Europe. On the horizon, however, it became apparent that major upheavals were imminent, and that the film industry would be completely revamped technically.

Digital instead of analogue was now the watchword and this technical revolution brought new possibilities for film makers: original sound was always available, faster recording cameras, later influence by PC etc.  For Günter, this was always a world in which he never got a foothold. For him, filming meant: Bolex and Kodachrome, clean soundtracks and of course the narrator who captivates the audience with the script.

Soon criticism was levelled at the long-standing jury procedure, and apparently the calculations were overstrained as well with 20 evaluation criteria. In addition, there were evaluation criteria for the new era, i.e. film production with digital tape and computer. At the same time there were changes at SIFA and the Eurofilmer board of directors. Günter gave up the SIFA Presidency and also the Vice-Presidency of Eurofilmer. But when his jury system was changed (only 8 evaluation criteria and they can be summed up by PC) he came out into the spotlight again.  He fought vociferously against the new kind of calculation and against the new criteria. For me it is understandable, because during previous attempts to renew the jury system with him, I noticed that he could not understand how films were made in the video age.

It was the beginning of a difficult time for Günter. Kodachrome films were no longer produced and his health made it difficult for him. He survived several surgeries and probably also realised that it was a mistake to shut oneself off from the new technology. He even bought a Casablanca editing system and until a year ago he also wanted to buy a video camera. Too late!

He found sound on the PC very difficult and he was about to throw the Casablanca out of the window. He probably realised that he had missed the right time to make the switch.

When we talk about Günter, however, I always think about his outstanding films, especially "Music, the Image of Life" and the exciting and warm-hearted award ceremonies. I will also never forget the social club evenings and excursions.

In addition, his credo of film judging has survived to this day: The author should be rewarded at the festival and not punished.  This is the only way to maintain a lively amateur film scene with well-attended festivals.

Thank you Günter, for this noble attitude, we will continue to judge according to this motto in the future.

Hansruedi Wiget

A painful message

We all know Günter very well, because he was not only SIFA President in Switzerland, but also Vice President of the EAK. Günter was always very active and almost every year he screened a new film. Last year he created the film "Das Alter". Considering that he had worked on 16 mm so far, it was remarkable to see this film now in H8 format. No easy task this switch! But this was Günter, time and again ready for something new.

At every festival during his active years he was in charge of reviewing the submitted films, and this with up to 120 entries. He did it with humour and especially with great praise for the authors of the films. His interaction with the filmmakers was always excellent. He knew not only the film, but also the author very well. Through this knowledge he established many friendships.

Günter himself has won the "Goldene Filmband" several times:
" Stop a while" 1977
"Music, image of life" 1978
"Have reverence for her music" 1984
Günter was for all the years I knew him, very reliable and always ready to give good advice.

And I'll tell you a little more. One can imagine that in an association problems occur again and again, which must besolved. A phone call from me to Günter quickly settled the matter, because he knew how to to answer critical questions.

Many filmmakers will now remember him and wish that he was still among them, in order to to give them advice and to examine their newly created film. So now it's time to say goodbye to a good friend - and again and again comes the memory of his good advice and of his humour.

Thank you, Günter, for being my friend for years. I will never forget you.

Ruth M. König
Honorary President of the EAK

He has had a lasting influence on the EAK

Not every officer can be said to have had a lasting influence on the association. But Günter Viereckt, who passed away in mid-February, is one of them. He was one of the founding fathers of the EAK and played a key role in developing the non-verbal evaluation system.

For many years Günter was the number two man of the group under the presidency of Ruth Maria König. He was headstrong, combative and always with the aim of standing up for the best of the many members of the EAK at that time. A large number of the authors rate Günter Viereckt first and foremost as a personality on forums and at festivals.

Rarely since has there been someone who presents authors so sensitively, both linguistically and in terms of content, and awards prizes to them. With his sonorous, husky voice he was able to captivate his audience and contribute to the legendary friendly and familiar atmosphere at the EAK events.

But outstanding personalities don't have just one profile. Independence of mind and a lack of willingness to compromise have led behind the scenes to troubles that have caused long-lasting feuds. The last years of his life were marked by severe disease. Günter Viereckt bore this with strength and dignity. His attitude to life and also acceptance of death had admirable traits of serenity and wisdom.

The contents of his last films reflect his thoughts about the cycle of passing and becoming. His life, he told me in one of our last conversations, was as if in different radii, as if in concentric circles that became ever tighter.

Günter Viereckt has now reached the centre.

I think of him and the many hours of enrichment and understanding.

Peter Klüver

Impressions of the 2017 Sifa Festival in Hinwil

A novelty was that this year it was not a SIFA club that was responsible for the organisation of the event, but the President of the SIFA, Reto Stocker, who took charge. With the help of a few people he had gathered from the separate clubs, he set up the whole festival. Bravo! It was excellent and everyone who helped can proudly beat their chest: We put a very successful festival on its feet.

The organisers were very pleased to receive important guests from the Eurofilmers. Anni Bergauer and Werner Scheffknecht with their spouses were not put off by the long trip to Switzerland and they were able to watch the films and were also guests at the evening meal and the awards. So they were able to take home with them a good impression of how a SIFA festival runs.

What was striking was an absolutely perfect presentation on the big screen! This was possible thanks to new video technology (a new full-HD projector with a new screen for rear projection) in the Hirschensaal in Hinwil. In the ideal place in the hall were the sound mixing console and the PC from which the films were sent to the invisible projector. Since Roland Mees had transferred all the movies to HD, there were also no problems with conversion from 16: 9 to 4:3. For the imposing video projection, the ZOFA technical team received much praise from viewers and film makers. Quite superb: Each film was announced with title, author’s name etc. on the screen. In addition, the film makers, who were almost all present were introduced by the speaker to the large audience of up to 120 people.

The variety of subjects was within the same range as previous years, the organisers were happy about two successful fiction films. Animal films were again well represented, but a reportage by Urs Schadegg about an illegal gold mine in the Philippines was at the top. "The Golden Mountain" showed the working conditions in impressive pictures, even on days where the water was literally up to the workers’ necks. Obviously a film about gold production was awarded a gold medal.

Also receiving gold medals were: "Call of the Icy Autumn Winds" a film about polar bears in Canada by Willi Grau, as well as an elaborate production by Markus Beerli: "The Last Ride". He accompanied a locomotive driver on his last ride before retirement on the legendary Gotthard route, which is now replaced by the Basistunnel.

There are no trends towards new film directions, so our filmmakers will continue to bring what they like and what interests them. This is also in line with the principles of amateur filming, no prescriptions, no restrictions, complete freedom in the choice of subject. It is difficult for the film makers to discover that the entire audience (and thus the jury) do not see the film as they intended it. If you give your film to the competition, it will be made public and you will have to be able to face the fact that one film does please the audience at the SIFA / Eurofilmer and another less so. This does not mean that a badly rated film is not a good one, you just have to change the audience (jury).

There were 25 films at the start of the 2017 SIFA Filmfestival and they are all works that do not deserve to be hidden. 19 of them will be forwarded to the Eurofilmfestival in Harsefeld near Hamburg.

At the end of the concert, the audience wore satisfied looks. After a good dinner and musical performances, came the time the film makers had been awaiting, and for many, the happy message: "We are going to Harsefeld near Hamburg, my film will be shown at the Eurofilmfestival between 5th and 7th October 2017 ".

Hansruedi Wiget

SIFA Festival / EURO forum in Wald

"Variety of topics at the film festival" was the headline in the local press. Although only 21 films were submitted, the headline was true. Good advertising meant that 70 viewers were in the hall for the first film, which naturally made us very happy, because besides a few film makers, these were mainly people from the village who watched the films. But one has to say that the screenings did not start until around 9:30. This is the advantage of the smaller number of competition entries, you do not have to start screening at 8:00 or even earlier. The number of viewers increased then so that in the afternoon there were around 100 spectators present. Technically, everything went smoothly and without a hitch, even the 16mm film by Günter Viereckt ran flawlessly.

The "Filmerbeiz" had their hands full, "Mince with macaroni and apple sauce" went like hotcakes and finally some would-be lunchers had to be given a refund, because there simply was no more. But cake was sold, which helped the club coffers, since all baked goods had been given free by our lady filmers.

The Banquet in the Windegg and subsequent award ceremony was the culmination of a successful day. An excellent dinner and an atmospheric prize giving ceremony rounded off the day.

Conclusion: Even with fewer films a nice and warm festival can be held.

SIFA 2015

45. Sifa Film Festival / Forum Euro 2015 Wald ZH - results

Filmtitel Autor/-in Auszeichnung Euro
Moor Zeiten Heinz-Werner Breiter Gold *
Rhapsodie in Blue Manfred Klein Gold *
Ein Tag am Rio Jandula Hansruedi Wiget Silber *
Leben am Geleise Urs Schadegg Silber *
Das gestohlene Tor F. Lubiato & Kinderstudio Silber *
Bergland in Grün Wili Grau Silber *
Unsere Kreuzfahrt mit der Costa Fortuna Roland Mees, Doris Graf Silber *
Schalom Franz Plessel Silber *
Ein aussergewöhnlicher Besuch Peter Fasolin Silber *
Abenteuer Australien Hanspeter Ortner Silber *
Kunstmaler Hans Zeller Ueli Bietenhader Silber *
Das Buchenhaus Wili Waser Silber *
Wo Wasser ist, da ist auch ... Günter Viereckt Silber *
Costa Rica Heinz Führi Bronze  
Care for Dogs Dieter Amsler Bronze *
Der Baukran Eckhard Meyer Bronze  
Die Bank Francois Elmiger Bronze  
Der professionelle Schliff Fritz Hofman Bronze *
Einachsertreffen Hansrudi Huwiler Bronze  
"Vo mir uus chan er choo" Robert Brunner Bronze *
Alpabzug Flims Bill O Ritter Anerkennung  
Sonderpreise für (den)
Einblick in ein wenig bekanntes Handwerk Der professionelle Schliff Fritz Hofman
Aktuell und völkerverbindend Das gestohlene Tor F. Lubiato & Kinderstudio

Gold and silver results in order of ranking. Bronze in alphabetical order.