FACING MECCA in the running for an Oscar
FACING MECCA by Jan-Erick Mack

FACING MECCA in the running for an Oscar

The multi-award-winning Swiss short film FACING MECCA by Jan-Eric Mack (production: Joël Jent, Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion; ZHdK; SRF) has been selected for the Oscar shortlist in the Live Action Short Film category. This was announced today by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Mack has already won an award for his graduation film at the Student Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 23, 2018.

In June of this year, FACING MECCA celebrated its world premiere at the Palm Springs International ShortFest, where it garnered two awards: Best of the Festival Award and Best Student Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes. The next milestone in the international career of the short film from Switzerland was winning the Silver Medal in the category of Narrative (International Film Schools) at the Student Academy Awards in Los Angeles. In November FACING MECCA was also honoured with the Audience Award at the Kurzfilmtage Winterthur.

The 34-year-old Jan-Eric Mack, from Zurich, completed FACING MECCA as his graduation film at the Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK with Joël Jent at Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion and SRF Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (Pacte de l'audiovisuel). Mack wrote the script together with the actress Anna Schinz.

The film is based on a true story about a Syrian refugee living in Switzerland who has to grapple with bureaucratic hurdles when faced with the burial of his wife. Performing in the leading roles are the Syrian star actor Jay Abdo, who has lived and worked in the USA for several years, and the Swiss actor Peter Freiburghaus. Further roles are played by Nicolas Rosat and Ruth Schwegler.

The shortlist comprises ten short films, from which the Academy by mid-January will nominate five short films for the Live Action Short Film category. SWISS FILMS facilitates the Oscar campaign of FACING MECCA with financial and promotional support.

International success for Swiss short film productions

Five Swiss short films were eligible for this year’s shortlist of the 90th Academy Awards as a result of winning awards at Oscar-qualifying festivals. Together with FACING MECCA, these included the animation films WATHEVER THE WEATHER by Remo Scherrer and IN A NUTSHELL by Fabio Friedli, as well as the documentary films EN LA BOCA by Matteo Gariglio and MORIOM by Francesca Scalisi and Mark Olexa.

Last year two short films from Switzerland were shortlisted in the category of Short Film (Live Action): BON VOYAGE by Marc Raymond Wilkins, also produced by Joël Jent (Dschoint Ventschr), as well as LA FEMME ET LE TGV by Timo von Gunten, produced by Giacun Caduff (arbel gmbh), which was subsequently nominated for an Academy Award. In 2015 a Swiss short film was already nominated for an Oscar with PARVANEH, Talkhon Hamzavi's graduation film at the Zurich University of the Arts. In 2009 Swiss director Reto Caffi received a nomination for his short film AUF DER STRECKE. Both films had previously won a Student Academy Award as well.

The Academy will also decide on December 21 whether Switzerland’s official Oscar entry THE DIVINE ORDER by Petra Volpe (Zodiac Pictures) will make the shortlist in the Foreign Language Film category. The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 23, 2018. The award ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on March 4, 2018.

SWISS FILMS, December XX, 2017


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