‘A Piece Of Sky’ Filmmakers Discuss Swiss Oscar Entry – Contenders International – MovieSlay

A critical hit at this year’s Berlinale, Michael Koch’s second feature A Piece of Sky is a sober relationship drama with a difference: It takes place in a picturesque Alpine idyll, with its sections interspersed by a folk choir that acts as an unorthodox Greek chorus. Speaking at MovieSlay’s Contenders International award-season event Saturday, Koch explained: “It’s a story about a couple in a remote mountain village who meet and then are put to the test due to a brain cancer that the man has. The film is about how she deals with it, how the couple deal with it, and how strong love can be.”

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What’s immediately clear from the film is how authentic it is, with a supporting cast of non-professionals who inhabit their roles without the slightest whiff of artifice. Which is not surprising given Koch’s patience. “We shot it during three different seasons and edited for a year,” he recalled. “It took me, like, seven years to make this movie. While writing the script, I met all these people. I asked them if they’d like to participate in the film, and they did, which gives the film, I think, something really special.”

Koch’s female lead, Michèle Brand, also is a non-professional — but not in the way that you might be expecting. “Actually, I’m an architect,” she said Saturday, “and I read [about the film] in a local newspaper: they were looking for females, for non-actresses. I can’t explain it, really, but I had a strong feeling that I wanted to be a part of this. So I got in touch, and I think I’m one of the only ones who really wanted to be in the movie from the beginning. All the other non-professional actors had to be persuaded.”

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