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Dario Suter joins The Festival Family

By Florian Mueck • Feb 19th, 2009 • Category: Film Theme, Home Zone Switzerland, The Festival Embassy, Top News

The Festival Family has a new member… At the end of 2007, Dario Suter from Home Zone Switzerland started a new venture and career; film producer.

A remarkable step considering that Dario was one of Germany’s top online entrepreneurs as investor and manager at StudiVZ, the country’s leading social online community. Currently, Dario and his partners Christoph Daniel and Marc Schmidheiny from DCM Mitte Productions are co-producing an Iraq war based thriller named Ceasefire (together with Munich-based We want to present a new player in the European film industry and asked for an interview.

TF | During your engagement with StudiVZ you were a successful internet entrepreneur. How did you end up producing movies?

Dario | At StudiVZ I developed the areas marketing and sales and was part of the management. It was a great experience, but then the company’s management underwent a generational shift from younger to older, and since I still consider myself young, I decided to move on. Movie production has always been a dream of mine. There was a chance and I grabbed it.

TF | But it is a big step from running a social online community to producing a movie…

Dario | Of course, and even if I had this dream for a long time, nothing was concrete. In the end, it was mere coincidence which helped me launch my new venture. On a flight I was sitting next to the director of our first project (Waffenstillstand/Ceasefire), Lancelot von Naso. He told me about his script, and I was hooked right away. My final thesis was about war coverage in the Iraq conflict, thus I had a personal affinity with the topic. He gave me his script, I gave him my final thesis. Lancelot included some content from my study, and in the end I thought this was a great opportunity to launch a new project and company.

TF | What is the movie Ceasefire about?

Dario | The story is set in Iraq 2004. A 24 hour ceasefire between Iraqi insurgents and American troops in Falludscha, the rebel stronghold. Two German journalists accompany an urgent medical transport into the closed in town. The trip in-between fronts creates a partnership of convenience between unequal idealists. They want to secure medical provision of the population and, simultaneously, call attention to the desperate situation of the Iraqi civilians by filming the incidents. Everyone seeks to help in a different way… and suddenly they all find themselves fighting for their own life.

TF | With that plot suspense and thrill seem guaranteed. What is the status of production?

Dario | At the end of 2007 we founded the new company, then we invested six months in acquiring the necessary public-private funding of € 2 million and in casting. The second half of 2008 we filmed in Erfoud, Marocco where we also did some retaking till February 5 2009. At the beginning of March we will be filming in Berlin for two days, before we start post production. Test-screenings and festival participations shall pave the way to the German cinema premiere in autumn 2009.

TF | How do you perceive the European film industry in general?

Dario | Every year great movies are produced all across Europe. What I have learned in my short intervention in the industry, so far, is that to make it actually into the cinemas is an art. You have to have a great story, for sure. But you also need a certain portion of luck. We are very confident about the potential of Waffenstillstand and we hope that The Festival community appreciates our work.

TF | The Festival connects Europeans through common interest. Film is a great connector…

Dario | For sure! Film has always helped to integrate through making cultural differences and conflict tangible, by showing others common values, cross-border love is always an interesting topic, … Europe offers material for an infinite number of movies. For European film makers The Festival can be a great plaform to reach out the hand to other European film fans, beyond the national audience. We have so much talent out there. It is time to sneek around the corner. You will be surprised!

TF | Thank you, welcome to The Festival Family and good luck with your project!


Please find more information (in German) about Waffenstillstand/Ceasefire at…

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Florian Mueck is European, initiator and co-founder of The Festival: "Passion for Europe maybe does not exist in the media. But it does exist in many hearts of many people."
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