30 APRIL / 11 MAY


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Director:Fernand Melgar
Screenplay: Fernand Melgar
Photography: Camille Cottagnoud, Fernand Melgar
Sdition: Fernand Melgar
Sound: Blaise Gabioud, Gilles Abravanel, Fernand Melgar
Music: Julien Sulser
Production: Climage - Lausanne
Associate Producers: Les Productions JMH, Neuchâtel, Télévision Suisse Romande TSR, SRG SSR, ARTE


Wednesday 4th - 22:00
documentamadridCINETECA - PLATÓ

International Sales:
Climage - Lausanne
Association Climage
Rue du Maupas 8
CH-1004 Lausanne Suisse
tél ++41 21 648 35 61
fax ++41 21 646 27 87

Collection "Premier Jour" ("First Day" Collection)

Fernand Melgar
52' / 2003 / Switzerland
Spanish subtitled

The First Day is a collection of short documentaries by Fernand Melgar and supported by Jean-Marc Henchoz. The idea is simple: during the course of our lives, all of us have moments that define us and which we remember fondly. A birth, a first day at school or an encounter...those moments strip us bare and put our lives on another course. Each film accompanies someone for a day as they go through a key moment in their lives.

The Combat (Le Combat)
Randy, a young teenager, listens to his coach's advice before his first boxing match.

The Arrival (L'Arrivée)
A family goes to Geneva airport to collect something that will change their lives forever.

The Apprenticeship (L'Apprentissage)
16-year-old Béatrice is worried about starting her professional training.

The Visit (La Visite)
Denis recently lost his sight. He has just got his first guide dog to help him get around freely.

The Sale (La Vente)
Denise tragically lost her husband 10 years ago. Today, she faces a new challenge.

Back To School (La Rentrée)
Lucienne is a French teacher but for her students, going back to school is a little different... None of them speak our language.

The Ordination (L'Ordination)
The big day has finally arrived for Jean, a seminarian and Vietnamese refugee.

Main Festivals & Awards

Festival Cinéma Tout Ecran – TV5 Prize
Geneva Audience Prize
Winterthur Short Film Festival
Shortlisted twice for the Swiss Film Prize for Best Short Film Quality Award

Director's Biography

Fernand Melgar was born into a family of Spanish unionists exiled to Tangiers (Morocco). His parents smuggled him in with them when, in 1963, they emigrated to Switzerland as seasonal Labourers. In the early eighties, he cut short his business studies in order to found, together with several friends, the Cabaret Orwell in Lausanne, soon a mecca for French-speaking Switzerland’s underground culture; later, he created the internationally renowned rock music venue La Dolce Vita, also in Lausanne. After endowing the latter night spot with a programme of creative video projections, he became a self-taught, freelance film director and producer. In 1983, he began putting together various experimental films and iconoclastic reportages for television. In 1985 he joined Climage*, a collective to which he belongs to this day, and with whom he produced around a dozen documentaries, now considered as benchmarks on the topics of immigration and identity. His documentary Exit –The Right to Die has garnered several international awards, including the prestigious 2006 EBU Golden Link Award for the Best European Co-Production, and the 2006 Swiss Film Prize. Winner of the screenplay competition launched by Télévision Suisse Romande (French-speaking Switzerland’s broadcasting centre) in 2007, Melgar is currently working on his first fiction feature film, Far Behind the Mountain. He lives and works in Lausanne.

*Created in 1985, Climage groups together several individualists who have similar ideas on independent and engaged filmmaking. Today, Climage has become one of Frenchspeaking Switzerland’s most prolific producers of documentaries.



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