Film Director Stefan Kaspar Passed Away

Obituary by Hans Hodel and Bernd Wolpert

Stuttgart/Bern, 19.10.13 The Swiss born film director and producer Stefan Kaspar, living and working in Lima, passed away surprisingly on October 12 in Bogota.  According to the Peruvian online-news, Stefan Kaspar participated at the alternative film festival “Ojo al sancocho” where he actually had given a speech.

Stefan Kaspar, born in 1948, studied communication in Biel and Bern (Switzerland), where he also worked as an independent journalist and filmmaker till 1978. With a film project about migration from the land to the cities he travelled to Peru, where he fell in love with the country and the people and stayed to create a collective of independent filmmakers called “Grupo Chaski” (1982).

With “Chaski” he produced, realized and distributed films from 1982 to 1990. These are 14 documentaries and two long feature films: Gregorio in 1985 and Juliana in 1989, both accomplished with the participation of street children from Lima. These films won more than 20 prizes at international film festivals, among them the “UNICEF” award for Juliana at the Berlinale in 1990. The Chaski films were successful in the national as well as the international distribution, with 3rd places in the theatrical box office of the year in Peru and world sales to more than 25 countries. They where also distributed in Germany by Matthias-Film and EZEF and in Switzerland by ZOOM.

During several years Kaspar was vice president of the Peruvian Filmmakers Association (ACDP) and worked in a group of specialists to elaborate the new Peruvian film law. In 1992 Kaspar founded the new company “Casablanca Production & Distribution” and other audiovisual companies like “Guarango Cine & Video” (production and postproduction of videos); “Garabato” (distribution and exhibition of educational videos); “Casablanca World Sales” (International distribution of Peruvian and Latin American films) and “Euroamerica Films” (distribution of independent films for the Peruvian market – theatrical, video and TV). He was also executive producer for several Casablanca feature films.

Since 1996 Kaspar organized for many years the Latin American section of the “International Coproduction Meetings” at the film festival Mannheim-Heidelberg, Germany. In this coproduction market producers from Latin American countries met producers from European countries. From 1999 onwards he was also runnning his own movie theatre for independent films in Lima and worked as adviser of the new “Encuentro Latinoamericano de Cine” in Lima. In 2004, representing INTERFILM and WACC, he participated at the Ecumenical Jury in Cannes.

As a pioneer he recently applied the experience Grupo Chaski had made with the distribution of their films in the area of the new digital media. With the Red de Microcines, a network of "small cinemas", Stefan Kaspar had initiated a movement that allowed screenings throughout Peru - and especially in remote regions - of films primarily from their homeland, but also from other Latin American countries. "Cine, Cultura y Desarrollo" - Cinema, Culture and Development - was the motto and principle of this successful grassroots movement.