Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Long Walk Through Switzerland

For first-time Ottawa filmmaker Neeko Paluzzi, the mid-life crisis came long before he hit his forties.

Five years after planting a letter to his future self in Switzerland, Paluzzi returned last spring to begin the journey of retrieving it. He had it all mapped out.

But fate immediately intervened, and the result - Wanderweg, premiering Thursday March 7th at Ottawa's Mayfair Theatre - is very different from what this Master's of Communications student first envisioned. From his Director's Statement:

I returned to Switzerland on May 3rd, 2012 (a day after my twenty-fourth birthday) with nothing more than a pair of hiking boots, a backpack and a camera. What I was physically carrying with me, however, did not equal the emotional baggage. After only a day of walking and filming, I found myself experiencing a debilitating mental and physical breakdown.
I locked myself in a hotel room for two days, hoping I could return to my filming schedule. I could not. After five years of waiting to return, the first few days of filming Wanderweg were among the most difficult of my life. In that moment, I thought I had failed. And then time past.

Paluzzi spent two months wandering across Switzerland and, somewhat improbably, managed to finagle sponsorship from Swiss Tourism. As he points out on his production blog, he is one of the few foreigners to have spent time in all 26 of the country's cantons - Switzerland's equivalent to a state or province.


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