Ursula Meier (born 24 June 1971) is a French-Swiss film director who received the Best Director award at the 2008 Festival du Film Francophone d'Angoulême [Angoulême French-language Film Festival] for her first theatrical feature, Home, which won the 2009 Swiss Film Prize for Bester Spielfilm [Best Film] as well as Bestes Drehbuch [Best Screenplay] (shared with Antoine Jaccoud). It also received France's César nomination for Meilleur Premier Film [Best First Film] and a Best Film nomination at Argentina's Mar del Plata Film Festival.
A native of Besançon, the capital of the Franche-Comté region in eastern France, near the Swiss border, Ursula Meier graduated from Belgium's Institut des Arts de Diffusion [Institute of Visual Arts] and served as assistant director to the internationally-renowned Swiss auteur, Alain Tanner, on his films Fourbi [Gear] (1996) and Jonas et Lila, à demain [Jonas and Lila, 'Till Tomorrow] (1999). She won her first major film award for the 1998 short, Des heures sans sommeil [Sleepless], which received the Special Jury Prize at the Festival International du Court-Métrage de Clermont-Ferrand [Clermont-Ferrand International Festival of Short Films] as well as the International Grand Prize at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival and a Best Short Fiction Film nomination at the Molodist International Film Festival in Kiev. In 2002, her film Tous à table [Table Manners], which had already won the Audience Award and the Press Award at the 2001 Clermont-Ferrand Festival, as well as the Best French-Language Short Film award at the 2001 Créteil International Women's Film Festival, received a Swiss Film Prize nomination for Bester Kurzfilm [Best Short Film].
In 2003, Ursula Meier served as a member of the jury at the Brest European Short Film Festival and won the Cinema Prize—Feature Film award at Portugal's Avanca Film Festival as well as Bester Spielfilm [Best Film] Swiss Film Prize nomination for her made-for-TV movie, Strong Shoulders. In April, with the selection of Strong Shoulders for New York City's New Directors/New Films series at the Museum of Modern Art and Film Society of Lincoln Center, she made the journey to introduce the film and participate in question-and-answer sessions. Six years later, Home was also selected for New Directors/New Films and, in April 2009, she once again made appearances at the Museum of Modern Art and The Walter Reade Theatre, introducing the New York premiere of the film.
Her 2012 film L'enfant d'en haut competed in competition at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Special Award - Silver Bear. It has also been selected as the Swiss entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, making the January shortlist.
Filmography (as screenwriter and director)
- 2000: Autour de Pinget [About Pinget] (documentary film)
- 2002: Strong Shoulders (made-for-TV movie), starring Louise Szpindel and Jean-François Stévenin
- 2008: Home, starring Isabelle Huppert and Olivier Gourmet
- 2012: L'enfant d'en haut [Sister]
- 1994: À corps perdu [To the Lost Body] (with writer and co-director Cédric Havenith)
- 1998: Des heures sans sommeil [Sleepless]
- 2001: Tous à table [Table Manners]
- List of awards won by Home at international film festivals
- New Directors/New Films '09 program guidebook
- Ursula Meier Arte interview (in French)
- Home at The Film Society of Lincoln Center
- "Press Release, 9th Jan". berlinale.de. 2012-01-09. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
- "Prizes of the International Jury 2012". Berlinale. 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- Blaney, Martin (21 September 2012). "Ursula Meier's Sister entered for Oscar race". Screen International (EMAP). Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- "9 Foreign Language Films Vie For Oscar". Oscars. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "Main Competition Jury". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
- Ursula Meier at the Internet Movie Database
- Mitchell, Elvis. "NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS REVIEWS; Racing to Prove She's Just as Good as the Guys" (The New York Times March 25, 2004 review of Strong Shoulders)
- Home - released in Switzerland in October 2008
- Home - released in France in October 2008
- Home - released in Belgium in November 2008
- Biographical sketch at Swissinfo.ch (in French)
- "Home Triumphs at Swiss Oscars" (Swissinfo.ch, 8 March 2009)