Screen Time: 85%
Age: 13 years old
Directed: Mathieu Seiler
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Noir
Sweet, 12 year-old Stefanie, played by child model Soraya Da Mota, dreams of attacking her parents with a flail. Not because they treat her particularly badly, you understand, but because, like any right minded-adolescent, Stefanie is rebelling against normality. As she escapes into a fantasy world, the boundaries between dream and reality blur until, real or not, Stefanie's dad gets one hell of a birthday present.
"It's left to the audience to decide what is real and what is dream," says producer Andi Huber of Zurich-based Klusfilm Productions. "There are no haze filters or wavy effects; all the cuts are hard and sharp so everything seems real. Stefanie even sees life after death as real, as a freedom."
Shot on location in Zurich last year, the $US 364,000 black and white feature is Swiss director Mathieu Seiler's professional debut. Financed by Seiler himself, with assistance from Condor Films and Swiss producer/exhibitor Edi A Stöckli, it previewed at San Sebastian last year.
Highlighting the Prague Festival's growing international reputation, Huber believes the film's "art-house plus action" style will make it popular with foreign audiences. Either way, Stefanie's Present proves that the supposedly reserved Swiss have a very dark side indeed.