Honorary award 2014

Alexander Seiler

Swiss Film Award 2014:
Alexander J. Seiler to receive honorary award


The 2014 Swiss Film Honorary Award will go to Alexander J. Seiler, one of the founding fathers of the “New Swiss Cinema” movement. Federal Councillor Alain Berset will present the activist filmmaker and producer with his “Quartz” trophy on 21 March during the official Swiss Film Award ceremony at the Schiffbau in Zurich.

The Federal Office of Culture will bestow the 2014 Swiss Film Honorary Award on writer and film producer Alexander J. Seiler, a co-founder of the internationally acclaimed "New Swiss Cinema" movement which emerged in the mid-1960s. The award recognises his important contribution to filmmaking as well as his outstanding achievements as a writer and journalist.

Alexander J. Seiler recognised for his outstanding contribution

Born in Zurich in 1928, Alexander J. Seiler studied in Basel, Zurich, Paris, Munich and Vienna, where he obtained a doctorate. Prior to 1960, he worked as a journalist before turning to filmmaking. He has written and directed some 20 films, including several documentaries on which he worked with long-time collaborators June Kovach (musician) and Rob Gnant (cameraman). In his films Seiler taps into the subjective experiences of his subjects to capture the prevailing mood in Switzerland. One of the recurring themes of his work is familiarity and foreignness, as exemplified in the internationally lauded "Siamo italiani" (1964), a depiction of the day-to-day life of Italian migrant workers in Switzerland and the xenophobia they encounter. In "Septemberwind" (2002), the film-maker revisits the former workers some 40 years later and examines the impact that migration has had on them and their families. His cultural and social activism also informs much of his work, such as "Musikwettbewerb" (1967), "Die Früchte der Arbeit" (1977), "Ludwig Hohl" (1982), "Palaver, Palaver" (1990), and "Roman Brodmann. Der Nestbeschmutzer/Der Unruhestifter" (1995). It is impossible to separate Alexander J. Seiler’s cinematic output from his film policy activism and engaged writing. He is a co-founder of the Solothurn Film Festival and the Swiss Film Centre, today Swiss Films. He was also an active member of the Swiss Film Directors Association and the Federal Film Commission.

2014 Swiss Film Award

The 17th Swiss Film Awards ceremony will take place on 23 March 2014 at the Schiffbau, Zurich. This gala event, which officially recognises the work of the Swiss film industry, is co-produced by the Federal Office of Culture and its official partners, SRG SSR and the Association "Quartz" Genève Zürich, and is organised in collaboration with SWISS FILMS, the Swiss Film Academy and the Solothurn Film Festival.