- Written by ZF Team
The Swiss-Croatian documentary animation feature Chris the Swiss by Anja Kofmel is now online (VOD).
There are many stories to be told about Croatian War of Independence (1991-1995), and Chris the Swiss is a most personal one. The documentary animated feature by Anja Kofmel narrates the killing of 27-year-old Swiss journalist Christian Würtenberg in Croatia (7th January 1992), during the siege of Vukovar by the Yugoslav Army. Würtenberg became a member of the «First Platoon of International Volunteers» only a few weeks earlier.
Eduardo Rozsa Flores, the commander of this force, claims that Serbian snipers killed «Chris the Swiss», but according to the autopsy, Würtenberg was strangled. Paul Jenks, a British photographer friend of Christian's, travels to Osijek in order to learn more about the circumstances surrounding his death.
The story of Christian Würtenberg was never made into a hot news item at the Swiss media. Now his cousin, the animator Anja Kofmel, which was 10 years old at the time of Würtenberg's death, prepares a 2D animated film to narrate her own memories in animated form, but also live-action interviews
Croatia, January 1992. In the midst of the Yugoslav Wars, Chris, a young Swiss journalist is found dead in mysterious circumstances. He was wearing the uniform of an international mercenary group. Anja Kofmel was his cousin. As a little girl, she used to admire this handsome young man; now a grown-up woman, she decides to investigate his story, trying to understand what really was the involvement of Chris in the conflict… - Film Synopsis
Watch Chris the Swiss Trailer:
Production: Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion AG, Nukleus Film, MA.JA.DE. Filmproduktion, IV Films. The film had its world premiere at Cannes' Critics Week 2018.
Zippy Frames included Chris the Swiss in the 20 Best Indie Animation Features of the 2010s (no. 15). We wrote then:
An integrative hybrid of live-action and animation, Anja Kofmel's investigating essay on young people and their impulse to join the war moves between narration, recreation and interviews. The subject-matter is her uncle Chris, a young journalist to fight and die in the recent Yugoslav wars; her treatment is solid, and so is the film's animation; the outcome is a strong piece relating to one of European history's recent horrors - Vassilis Kroustallis, Zippy Frames.