Bettina Oberley on tearing up the family to get them together in “Wonderful Wanda”


“North Wind”, one of the leading directors in Switzerland, was shown at the San Sebastian International Film Festival for the first time. Her second movie, “Late Bloomers,” was a box office success in Switzerland. Her next film “With The Wind” won the Variety Piazza Grande at the Locarno Film Festival.

“My Wonderful Wanda” premiered at the Zurich Film Festival, the first time that a female directed film had opened. the film Now in virtual theaters and cinemas.

W&H: Describe the movie in your own words.

Boo: It’s a story of a family who is forced to look so deeply into an abyss – and grow so far from each other that they almost collapse, only to finally get close. And it’s also the story of Wanda, who finally really has a choice for the first time in her life.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Boo: Family is a topic that I take up over and over again in my films. How about this weird little world, this genetically random family unit in which you feel safe or maybe even restricted? The family is a very broad narrative space, and everyone can feel their way in it somehow because everyone has a family.

There was also a political reason: often, over-qualified women from Poland and Hungary moved monthly between their families and their families in Switzerland. I was interested in what happens when a complete stranger gains a deep insight into the structure of a family, and the inevitable familiarity that ensues.

The model is often referred to as a win-win situation: Relatives in need of care don’t have to be put in a home, family saves money, and caregivers here earn much more than they earn back home. But this opinion is very one-sided.

We ignore the fact that these women have a private life, their families, and a daily routine that they have to give up, however, money remains scarce back home. So the benefits are very one-sided.

What needs to happen for these parties to meet on an equal footing and for these exchanges to be fair? This is the question we examined in “My Wonderful Wanda.” The story could take place anywhere in the world where the rich take advantage of the less fortunate – in Europe, Asia, or the USA.

W&H: What do you want people to think about after seeing the movie?

Bo: Despite economic inequality, people can come together on an equal footing by going through situations together that bring them deeper pain and greater pleasure.

W&H: What’s the biggest challenge in making a movie?

Boo: The biggest challenge was also the biggest fun: Bringing out this amazing group of totally loyal artists. The energy they created was really contagious. We all got along fine and developed a lot of affection for each other that lasted even after our shooting.

It has been a great pleasure to work with the first-rate cast. Almost all of them act on stage and are true theater enthusiasts. Working with them is inspiring because they are passionate about their art. We developed several scenes together. There was room for their imagination and suggestions, and I was happy about that [incorporate] Much of what they created.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some ideas on how to make the movie.

Bo: It’s a Swiss-funded movie 100 percent of public money. The budget was 3.6 million Swiss francs [about $3.9 million USD], Mainly through cultural financing.

This is a natural way to finance in Switzerland. Cultural finance is an investment in education and society.

W&H: What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Bo: My father. He is not a filmmaker, but a surgeon who is totally loyal to his profession. He taught me that if you’re going to do something, do it right, profoundly, and sustainably.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

Boo: Always work with the best, those who are better than you.

W&H: Name your favorite movie directed by women and why.

Boo: All Jin Campion movies. Through her work, she realized that as a woman you could be a manager.

W&H: How do you adjust to life during the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you maintain your creativity, and if so, how?

Bo: I develop new cinematic material every week, and apply for funding as well. COVID-19 unleashed a new energy within me and made me realize that we are at a tipping point – perhaps it will be easier to create other physical and narrative forms in the future.

Also, I don’t think it’s a bad time for women to make their voices heard in the market. Hiring a woman now is often an advantage – we must seize this self-confident opportunity and make the place we deserve for ourselves anyway.

W&H: The film industry has a long history of underrepresenting people of color on screen and behind the scenes and reinforcing – and creating – negative stereotypes. What measures do you think should be taken to make Hollywood and / or the world of documents more inclusive?

Bo: Art is for everyone, and metrics like gender, color, or origin shouldn’t be important to him.

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