«Ma vie de Courgette» is Switzerland's entry for the Oscar race

«Ma vie de Courgette» is Switzerland's entry for the Oscar race

Switzerland sends the animated film “Ma vie de Courgette” (“My Life As A Courgette”) by Claude Barras (Rita Productions, Geneva) into the running for an Oscar nomination as Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.

The first full-length animation film by Swiss director Claude Barras celebrated its world premiere in May of this year at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. In June, “Ma vie de Courgette” won both the Cristal for Best Feature as well as the Audience Award at the well-known Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The Swiss-French coproduction is currently showing at the International Film Festival in Melbourne. The participation in further prestigious festivals will be announced this fall.

The stop-motion animation was produced by Rita Productions (Producers: Max Karli, Pauline Gygax) in coproduction with Blue Spirit Productions, Paris and Gébéka Films, Lyon and KNM, Monte Carlo. World rights were acquired by Indie Sales in Paris. The screen rights have already been sold to over 20 European countries as well as countries in the Middle East and Asia. The rights for UK/USA and CND are in negotiation. The theatrical release of “Ma vie de Courgette” begins with Switzerland in September (distributor: Praesens Film). The film will be released in France (Gebeka Films) and Belgium (Cinéart) in October. In December 2016, it will run in German (Polyband) and Italian cinemas (Teodora Film Distribuzione).

Ma vie de Courgette” tells the story of nine-year-old Icare, called Courgette, who has to find his way in an orphanage after his mother’s death and is eventually taken in by a policeman. It is based on the novel “Autobiographie d’une courgette” (“Autobiography Of A Courgette”) by Gilles Paris and was adapted for the screen by renowned French screenwriter Céline Sciamma (“Girlhood”, “Being 17”). The film music is by Swiss singer-songwriter Sophie Hunger. “We can say that this is a film about childhood rather than a children’s film, a melodrama full of emotion and humor,” Claude Barras, (May 2016).

Director Claude Barras (*1973) has already realized several award-winning short animation films, most recently “Chambre 69” (2012), which was selected by numerous festivals. “Banquise” (2005) was also presented on the Croisette in the International Short Film Competition in Cannes, while “Le genie de la boîte de raviolis” (2006) became a festival hit, screening at more than 50 festivals.

The Swiss Oscar Jury statement: “Ma vie de Courgette is an original film guided by luminous artistic direction. It's story is packed with emotion, marked by resilience and a hopeful vision of human society. Director Claude Barras and screenwriter Céline Sciamma succeeded in giving children a voice: While adressing children at eye level they still speak to all generations."

The promotion agency SWISS FILMS coordinates the Oscar campaign on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture. In December, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood will announce the shortlist of films that are in the running for the five nominations in the Foreign Language category. The definite Oscar nominations will be published on January 24, 2017. The award ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on February 26.

Annecy International Animation Film Festival: Cristal for Best Feature Film 2016
Annecy International Animation Film Festival: Audience Award 2016
Official Selection of the LUX Prize 2016 of the European Parliament (one of 3 films)
Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2015 for «Work in Progress»

Festivals (selection)
Cannes Film Festival 2016: Directors’ Fortnight section
Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2016: Feature Films Competition
Melbourne International Film Festival
Angoulême Festival du Film Francophone: Competition
FANTOCHE International Animation Film Festival

Switzerland: Up Next! Claude Barras (by Emilio Mayorga, Variety)
Rita Productions, Genf
Indie Sales, Paris

«What Barras has achieved here is nothing short of a miracle» Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

«Lovingly told and gorgeously rendered story» Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

«While “My Life as a Courgette” falls into that zone of animation that’s mature enough for adults to appreciate, it deals frankly with the facts of life in a way that neither condescends to nor scars younger audiences»
Peter Debruge, Variety

«A compact triumph of stop-motion animation in the service of a bittersweet tale, My Life As A Courgette is as delightful as it is affecting»
Lisa Nesselson, Screen

«Screenwriter Céline Sciamma splendidly adapted the source book. Manipulating wonderful sets and touching protagonists, director Claude Barras delivers the message that tragedy needn’t determine the rest of a young person’s life» Lisa Nesselson, Screen

«All but the most hardened adult hearts will be moved» Lisa Nesselson, Screen

SWISS FILMS 5.8.2016