Film edition 2021

THE FAM

Category: Generator +16

A group of teenage girls have been placed in a residential care home with social workers. This forced “family” experience creates unexpected tensions and intimacies. An incident triggers a chain of overreactions. The fall-out reveals the weaknesses of the retrograde juvenile system, as well as the demons that haunt ‘La Mif’.

Original Title La Mif
Category Official Competition
Section Generator +16
Tipology Feature Film
Duration 110'
Production Year 2021
Nationality Switzerland
Directed by Fred Baillif
Screenplay Fred Baillif
Director of photography Joseph Areddy
Editor Fred Baillif
Costume Design Lucy Mann
Sound Maxence Ciekawy, Samuel Levy
Main cast Claudia Grob
Anaïs Uldry
Kassia Da Costa
Amélie Tonsi
Amandine Golay
Joyce Ndayisenga
Charlie Areddy
Sara Tulu
Produced by Agnès Boutruche, Véronique Vergari, Fred Baillif
Production Fresh Production (Switzerland)

Fred BFred Baillif

Fred Baillif is a self-taught filmmaker who grew up in the countryside of Geneva, Switzerland. After a 7-year career as a professional basketball player and member of the Swiss national team, he graduated in 2000 at the Social Work Institute of Geneva and found a job as a social worker in a youth detention center. Then he moved to New York where he worked as a PA on documentary series THE IT FACTOR, during the day, and as a DJ at night. Back in Switzerland, he directed his first documentary SIDEMAN. He started working for the city of Geneva as a street social worker but he left his job to direct the feature length documentary GEISENDORF that received the Best Documentary Award at Visions du Réel in 2006. He spent the next 10 years directing films such as: LE FOND ET LA FORME, LA VIE EN DEUX, BELIEVERS per Canal+. He also worked for Swiss news program Temps Présent at RTS, before directing his first fiction feature film in 2010: TAPIS ROUGE, a no-budget film made with teenagers from a Lausanne suburb. The film won the GIFF Best Feature Film Award and many others. He started developing his own directing technique for non-professional actors. In 2017, he directed his second feature film, EDELWEISS REVOLUTION, a comedy with Jean-Luc Bideau and Irène Jacob. LA MIF is his third fictional project, created in collaboration with a nursing home for adolescents in Geneva and presented in competition in the “Generation” section of the Berlinale 2021.

Director’s statement
“In recent years, several women who had been sexually abused opened up to me. Carried by the desire to make films that are socially engaged, I collected their testimonies and used them as a basis for this project. One topic was recurring: the denial of the victim’s relatives, which turned them into accomplices.
In need of characters and a setting for the story, I had the intuition that a children’s home would be a breeding ground for situations of abuse. Faithful to my ‘cinéma vérité’ style, I decided to start a process of immersion. This is how I contacted Claudia, more than 20 years after having worked with her as an intern when studying social work. She was to retire soon and agreed to help, before sharing with me her strong frustration towards the youth protection system. This immediately inspired my story. [...]
Even though the children’s home director Lora, interpreted by Claudia Grob, was to be the lead character, my desire to show various points of view pushed me in the direction of a hyperlink film. The young girls all had equal opportunities to occupy the story, depending on their desires and their inspiration ‘in the moment’ while shooting. Alongside, all the home’s social workers also agreed to be part of the film and to interpret characters that would be close to their reality. Three professional actors were added to the group, Frédéric Landenberg (Seb), Nadim Ahmed (Malik) and Blaise Granget (François), the latter two having also trained as social workers.
They were key in facilitating the improvisations and helped with the non-professional actors’ confidence. These multiple protagonists all helped to bring other themes to the story, which is the goal of this method. I wanted to be surprised by elements and dialogues that could arise at any moment.”

Production
Fresh Production (Switzerland)
www.freshprod.com 

International distribution
festival contact
Latido Films (Spain)
www.latidofilms.com