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GIFFONI EXPERIENCE 2014 - 18.27 July

Sections & Films


Category: Edition 2014


In the city of Saint Petersburg, over 8,500 children live on the streets because of difficult family circumstances often marked by violence and alcohol abuse. But there’s the circus Upsala with its founder Larissa, who tries her utmost to get these children off the streets and to infuse them with new hopes and desires. LUCKY DEVILS takes us on a journey from the Russian slums to the lights of the big top. The film follows the circus rising star, the 6-year-old orphan Danja, who discovers the pleasure of playing and performing and is seeking adoptive parents so that he can continue with his training at Upsala circus. Then there’s the oldest circus kid, Mischa, who now works as a trainer in the circus. The newest circus kid, Igor, is just trying to grow up with a single mother unable to cope with her four children, while Nastja was homeless for 10 years but was never lucky enough to meet Larissa.

Original Title GLÜCKSPILZE
Category Official Competition
Section GEx Doc
Tipology Documentary, Feature Film
Duration 95'
Production Year 2013
Nationality Russia, Switzerland
Directed by Verena Endtner
Screenplay Verena Endtner
Director of photography Verena Endtner, Dan Riesen
Editor Loredana Cristelli
Sound Peter von Siebenthal
Music Jan Galega Brönnimann
Produced by Dan Riesen

portrait verena endtnerVerena Endtner

Born 1973, Bern (Switzerland). She studied Biology at the Universities of Bern and Basel, focusing on Environmental Sciences. Then she studied at the Film Schools of London and Vancouver, graduating in Documentary Filmmaking. In 2004, in Switzerland, she founded, together with Dan Riesen, the film production firm ALOCO GmbH. She directed several documentaries, such as THE STRIKE BECOMES ACCEPTABLE (DER STREIK WIRD SALONFÄHIG, 2004), A LOSING BATTLE (AUF VERLORENEM POSTEN, 2005), SWISS TEXTILE INDUSTRY IN TRANSITION (DIE SCHWEIZER TEXTILINDUSTRIE IM WANDEL, 2006). LUCKY DEVILS is her first feature length documentary film.







Director’s statement

“We experienced St. Petersburg bathed in optimism: capitalism is thriving and everyone is trying to establish their own business in line with the motto: if you can’t make it now, you’ll never make it and it’s your own fault! But there is also a layer of society that has missed the boat, slid into poverty and mourns the passing of the Soviet era, with its right to work and housing. Our film tells the story of children growing up in this environment – with no prospects, no future. Many fled to the streets, slipping into petty crime, getting caught by the police and being placed in state boarding schools, where they break out again a little later. A vicious cycle! For these young people, Upsala Circus is like a lifeline. With untiring zeal, Larissa, the circus director, offers the children a refuge and infuses them with new hopes and desires. What fascinates me most about Upsala Circus is its concept, for making the impossible possible. In line with the motto ‘Where there’s a will there is a way, even if it’s a detour’ the circus has survived for ten years, changed, renewed itself, nearly quit but recovered again. And I can sense this attitude in our protagonists as well, in their everyday battle for a better life. In selecting our protagonists, we have tried to represent as wide a range as possible from the socially vulnerable children, also with regard to their ages. At the same time, we make clear how fateful and important certain encounters can be”.


festival contact

Hirschengraben 8, 3011 Bern - Switzerland
phone +41 313514535 / +41 797525108
fax +41 860313514535
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distribuzione internazionale/world sales

J.M.T. Films Distributionco-productions & world sales
20 Bialik st., Tel-Aviv 63324 - Israel
phone +972 35254782
fax +972 35254782
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