Swiss film wins grand jury prize at Berlin film festival

La mif tells the story of seven teenage girls living together in a youth facility. The young actresses helped to develop the characters they play. Stéphane Gros/Lumière Noire

The feature film La Mif (The fam) by Geneva-based director Frédéric Baillif has been awarded the top prize in the youth category at the 2021 Berlinale, the Swiss Films Foundation announced on Thursday.

This content was published on March 4, 2021 - 16:50

La Mif tells the story of seven adolescent girls from difficult backgrounds living together in a youth facility and building a community. It raises questions about how well the youth protection system is working and what it means to be a family.

The international jury for the “Generation 14plus” competition – the programme for films about the lives of teenagers – compared Baillif’s film to “a rushing, energetic, pulsing heartbeat” and praised its “captivating and strong acting performances”. The young actresses who appear in the movie helped to develop the characters they play.

The film was co-produced by Swiss public television RTS. Baillif, a self-taught film-maker and former professional basketball player, trained as a social worker and worked in a youth detention centre. He made his first feature, Tapis Rouge, in 2010.

The winner receives €7,500 (CHF8,343). In 2018, another Swiss feature film, Fortuna, by Lausanne photographer and film-maker Germinal Roaux won in the same Berlinale category.

On Wednesday, a Swiss-German documentary, Wir Waren Kumpel by Jonas Matauschek and Christian Johannes Koch, won a prize endowed with a €5,000 scholarship and an individual mentoring programme under the Berlinale Talents category .

The first stage of the 71st Berlinale features the screening of films in the Generation category and runs until March 5.

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