Switzerland’s Noah Bohnert, producer of Locarno’s Pardo di Domani-contending short “Eva,” is joining forces with brothers Flurin and Silvan Giger to produce their feature film debut, drama “The Last Field.”
Set-up at Letterbox Collective Filmproduktion, “The Last Field” is scheduled to shoot in fall 2019, possibly in the Swiss mountains of Grabünden, where the Giger brothers come from.
The Gigers’ second short, “Schächer,” world premiered at this year’s Cannes Festival Critics’ Week; “Ruah,” their debut short, launched at the 2016 Venice Film Festival.
“The Last Field” is set during a draught in the early 19th century, following an aging peasant who has nothing left but death itself. After a suicide attempt fails, he goes blind and becomes a burden for his wife.
When a column of thick black smoke suddenly appears in the distance, the wife’s hope rises, presuming help where the smoke originates. Awaiting a better future, the aging couple set out on a long journey, heading towards even greater doom.
Writer-director Flurin Giger, who regularly teams with brother Silvan as d.p., drew inspiration for “The Last Field” from a painting by an unknown Russian artist from the 18th century, where death is a figure sitting next to a farmer, he told Variety.
“We are not going to make a classical historical movie. This time setting just allows the right space to ask the questions I have, and I want to ask them in a different way than I did with my last works,” Giger said.
“It’s like painting for me, every new film gives me the freedom to start with an empty canvas,” he added.
“The Last Field” shares common aspects with Giger’s short “Schächer,” a love story hiding under the ghostly sheet of a thriller.
“Story, style and language are completely different in the two works. But there is one challenge all characters have to deal with: Death and all the questions that come with it. And with such an invincible enemy, one theme comes up that seems to find me again and again: Faith,” he said.
Currently in development, “The Last Field” has won support from Switzerland’s Migros-Kulturprozent and Kulturförderung Graubünden funds.
“The project has a lot of international potential,” said Letterbox Collective’s Noah Bohnert, who is attending the Locarno Festival to support “Eva.”
“We therefore hope to set up a European co-production and are already in talks with some trusted partners,” he added.
Zurich and Basel-based company Letterbox Collective focuses on artistically ambitious Swiss and other-European projects, often backing young film talents and video artists. Further art films in development at Letterbox encompass Valerie Anex’s “Nebula” and “The Wound,” by Tillo Spreng, co-written by Stefan Staub (“Midnight Runner”).
A short film by Swiss resident and Albanian women director Xheni Alushi, “Eva” plays in national competition at Locarno’s Pardi di Domani sidebar.