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UNICA 2010: introduction / socialising / UK contribution / faces / films & results

UNICA 2010 - Hänsli's Triumph

UNICA - the festival where nations compete - took place in Einsiedeln, Switzerland from 28th August to 4th September

Unofficially this was known as Max's Masterpiece ... Max Hänsli had stepped down as UNICA's long-serving President at the Assembly in 2009 and threw his amazing energy and enthusiasm into making this event on his home turf something truly special. Working with his daughter, Ursula, and son-in-law, Thomas Kräuchi he led an excellent team from Swiss.Movie - Switzerland's federation of non-commercial film makers.

With 145 films in competition plus trailers, promotions, impressive computer graphics, film sound, public-address sound and simultaneous translation through headphones to take care of the technical team worked wonders. The reception team were jolly and helpful ... even handing out chocolates each morning to the first couple of hundred people to arrive at the cinema. Dare I say it all ran like clockwork?

Picture of Einsiedeln by 'Roland zh' - Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License.

[Picture by "Roland zh" courtesy of Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License.]

Einsiedeln is a small town built round a monastery, the Benedictine Abbey. The abbey and its black Madonna is an important place of pilgrimage for Roman Catholics. The town is a popular tourist destination with fine views and clean air. UNICA delegates stayed in a number of small 2- and 3-star family run hotels close to the DorfCentrum where the festival took place.


There was a great variety of music at this festival. As part of the opening ceremony there was a performance by a brisk, jazzy dance group, led by 9 year-old girl on violin. Max Hänsli had spotted her on a tv show almost two years earlier and wanted her to open the show for UNICA 2010. She received a rare standing ovation from delegates.

Two members of the carnival band.During the week we also heard from a jolly dance band complete with comedy Scots bagpiper (!), an Alpenhorn player in the lobby, a carnival band dressed in wildly coloured costumes whose task was to play as loudly as possible with a strong beat to encourage dancing in the streets. The closing banquet had a true classic big-band on stage playing sophisticated music and show classics.


At UNICA each national federation presents a programme of about an hour's length. These are publicly discussed and evaluated by a jury.

Still from 'Just Someone'.Britain had success in the contest. Ron Prosser's Letters (a shorter version of Letters from the Front) and Phil Martin's Sidewinder both received Bronze Medals from the jury. The audience decides the fates of one-minute movies in a soccer-style play-off. Bob Lorrimer's Call Back did well but was knocked out before the end. Nuneaton Movie Makers, however, triumphed and took the top award with Just Someone.

More about the national programmes and a chance to see some of the films can be found if you click here ...

In the Monastery Church

The Black Madonna in Einsiedeln Monastery Church.The elaborate church has two, different but almost equally powerful pipe organs, unusually placed in the choir but on either side of the transept. One evening 300 of us gathered there, sat quietly and heard an astonishing concert of organ duets. The music ranged from Bach and Vierne to Rutter ... ending with a magnificent version of Widor's Toccata arranged by Father Theo Flury. The players, Father Flury and Father Höfliger, were 40m apart and synchronised their playing thanks to headsets. In true Benedictine humility neither was visible or took a bow during the prolonged applause.


Zvonimir and Dave sharing a drink.With delegates from Canada to Korea, from Finland to Italy there was always a chance to enjoy a snack or drink and chat with interesting fellow film enthusiasts.

During a week-long festival everyone needs a break, so UNICA usually has one full-day or two half-day excursions. This year it was one day ... and what  a day!

For more on the people and the excursion - click here ...

Photo credits: in all our reports from UNICA 2010: thanks to Mitze Chapovsky (Macedonia) , Odilon Dubost (Germany), Zvonimir Karakatic (Croatia), Ron Prosser (UK) and Dave & Jan Watterson (UK).

Other UNICA Festivals | UNICA 2011 News
UNICA 2010: introduction / socialising / UK contribution / faces / films & results