Grounding

Genre:
Documentary, Drama , History
Year:
2006
Language:
German
Format:
135 minutes
Starring:
Hanspeter Müller-Drossaart
László Imre Kish
Michael Neuenschwander
gilles Tschudi
Rainer Guldener
Katharina von Bock
Directed by:
Produced by:
Produced by C-FILMS AG on behalf of Daedalus Film in coproduction with Schweizer Fernsehen, Teleclub and La Petite Entreprise in association with Beta
The last days of Swiss Air

January, 2001. The Executive Board of the Swissair Group calls an emergency meeting into session. The aggressive and secretive mismanagement by its former Chairman has forced the struggling corporation into a dizzying tailspin.

Enter Mario Corti, the former Chief Financial Officer for the Swiss food giant Nestle and one-time executive of the Swiss National Bank. Chosen by the Board as the new Chairman, Corti's intense dedication and brilliant management skills are now the only chance for the seemingly doomed airline...

For Susanne, a young Swissair flight attendant and her boyfriend Peter, who is soon to be promoted to captain, Corti is a godsend. Finally, here's a man whose business savvy and direct, transparent approach can turn the grave situation around. Once again their future looks promising. As well, the 37 year-long employee Luigi now has reason for hope. An Italian immigrant, Luigi works for a Swissair catering subsidiary, a job of which he is intensely proud.

However, it isn't just the company's thousands of employees that are glued to the unfolding drama...for the country at large, the catastrophe isn't simply economic; it's also a matter of national pride.

For Corti, what would have been simply a clever and successful restructuring of the company turns into a frustrating power struggle with the country's mightiest financial institutions and even the Swiss government. Then, the shocking news of the terrible tragedy at the World Trade Center throws the entire industry into turmoil, and Corti's fight to save Swissair becomes desperate.

Although Corti cares deeply for his employees' welfare, budget cutbacks become unavoidable in his attempts to reduce costs, and Susanne, Peter and Luigi become its first victims...

Investors around the globe are calling in their debts...effectively canceling Swissair's credit. Fuel suppliers, airports and all of the support services the airline depends on are demanding cash, which the powerful banks seem purposefully conspiring to withhold. With no operating capital, hundreds of planes around the world are grounded, stranding thousands of irate passengers. All of Corti's valiant last-minute efforts to save what once was the pride of Switzerland seem in vain.

At a riveting and highly emotional pace, "Grounding" follows the dramatic series of events leading to the downfall of one of the crown jewels of the airline industry, as well as portraying the terrible blow that demise was to the Swiss people themselves, whose faith in their great land was so severely shaken.


ABOUT THE DIRECTOR…

The 36 year-old Michael Steiner, born in the city of Rapperswil on the shores of Lake Zurich in Switzerland, counts "Grounding" (2006) as his fourth consecutive feature film. In addition to "The Inventor" (2002) and "Schatzsuche" (2003), Steiner directed "My Name is Eugen"(2005), which became the second largest-grossing film ever in Switzerland and took home the Swiss Film Prize for Best Film in 2006. For a feature film that he co-directed, "The Silence Within" (1996), he shared in the Audience Award in the International Feature Film Competition at the Torino International Festival of Young Cinema in 1996.
Alongside his big screen efforts, Steiner has shot close to 40 contract films and commercials for such notable clients as Volkswagen, Polaroid and Swiss Mobile.

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Michael Steiner works in his own film studio, the Kontraproduktion AG in Zurich, together with screenplay authors, film technicians and musicians.