Christian Frei

Authenticity in documentary filmmaking

Frei studied television at the Department of Journalism and Communications of the University of Fribourg. His first feature length documentary RICARDO, MIRIAM Y FIDEL (1997) takes a critical look on Cuban society by portraying a complicated situation of a family. The movie WAR PHOTOGRAPHER (2001) has made a breaking point in Christian’s career. The intimate story of a man, that photographs different war zones around the world, has brought him many festival awards including the Academy Awards nomination.

“I believe in authenticity and I love the complexity and texture of real situations and emotions. And yet, I am also a storyteller! I love to tell a story and therefore I want to reduce the complexity and complications of the real! A contradiction? No!”

In THE GIANT BUDHAS (2005) Frei takes a trip to Afghanistan. He investigates the circumstances of the destruction of two Buddha statues. This film celebrates the diversity of opinions and cultures. In his feature called SPACE TOURIST (2009) Christian questions the meaning and boundaries of the human spirit and our hunger for adventure and discovery. This movie won the World Cinema Directing Award at the Sundance film festival in 2010.

Christian Frei has recently finished work on his last documentary SLEEPLES IN NEW YORK. This time is dealing with the subject of lovesickness, the path of self-destructive behavior to a new self.


Since August 2010 he is the president of the Swiss Film Academy.