Stefan Eichenberger • Producer of Contrast Film

“We look for stories that create contrast, that show things in a new light.”

Selected as part of Producers on the Road, the Swiss producer tells us what sets him apart as a producer and how much he believes in the emerging Swiss film industry.

As the main producer of contrast film, Stefan Eichenberger Responsible for several award-winning films, including the documentary unknown territory [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
Which won the First Steps Award in Berlin and the Golden Eye at the Zurich Film and Film Festival midnight runner [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hannes Baumgartner
film profile
]
It premiered in competition at the San Sebastian International Film Festival and received a special mention from the International Jury at the Zurich Film Festival. Besides, Eichenberger has completed several development and training programs, including Torino Film Lab, EKRAN+, Trans Atlantic Partners, and Full Circle Lab. Now, he’s been shortlisted for EFP’s on the Move 2022 producers.

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Cineuropa: How do you decide which stories or talents to highlight? What kind of stories catch your eye as a producer?
Stefan Eichenberger: In Contrast, we look for stories that create contrast, and expose things in a new light. Our films should stimulate the viewer both emotionally and intellectually. Ideally, this stimulus initiates a process of reflection within the viewer.

What sets you apart as a producer?
I see myself as a creative producer. Meaning I’m not only responsible for budget, funding and rights, but I’m also a creative partner for writers and directors. I see my role as a producer also as a creator who puts together themes and themes and gives them to the right writers and directors. So about half of the ideas for our films and series come from us, the creative producers at Contrast Film.

How do you see the future of filmmaking (and film production) after the pandemic?
I think there will be a major shift in exploitation: from cinema to streaming platforms. Cinema will not die, but it will change, there will be fewer and fewer films being tapped for the first time in cinemas. We’re already seeing it on a small scale here at Contrast Film: While a few years ago we had almost exclusively theatrical films on our slate, about half of our projects today are movies and series for streaming platforms.

How do you see the current state of the Swiss film industry?
In my eyes, the Swiss film industry is emerging! There is a group of young directors with strong voices and their own style, especially in fiction. This is also reflected in the choice of the festival: while a few years ago Swiss films flew under the radar, now they are shown in competition at the Berlinale, Cannes, San Sebastian, etc.

What projects are you working on now?
We have about 20 projects on our list, half of which are series. Among them is also the largest series in the history of Switzerland, the spy drama Davos With a budget of more than 17 million euros. At the cinema level, we are preparing, among other films, artistic dramas Antonia Garten by Kristen Ribbon. The film tells the story of a young woman who wants nothing more than to live a normal life with her husband and child – but how is that possible if she feels sexually attracted only to underage boys?

What are your expectations for Producers on the Road 2022?
Mobile Producers offer me a one-time opportunity to expand my network and knowledge at the same time. Getting to know the latest industry trends and at the same time getting to know new promising producers who share the same relentless love for the art of filmmaking is a unique source of inspiration!

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