The Historical Background

The KREIS, which was founded in the 30‘s, arose from the early gay movement of the 20th century and stood for an idealized gay self-image. As it was the only gay „self help organization“ in the world that survived the Nazi period in Europe, it became a model for similar organizations in many other countries in Europe and even in the USA.

The founder of the KREIS was ‚Rolf‘, a pseudonym for the famous actor Karl Meier. He built up an international network. The most important means of communication was the publication called DER KREIS – LE CERCLE – THE CIRCLE. Amongst short stories, poems and photos, the trilingual magazine also published articles about the activities of homosexual groups all over the world – and thereby contributed to the international exchange of ideas. Rolf was in contact with gay groups in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Germany, France and the USA. Amongst the magazine‘s subscribers there were many important personalities.

From 1948 the KREIS run a rented pub in Zurich in the building which is now the Theatre at the Neumarkt, a club in which „homophiles“ from all over Switzerland could meet, exchange ideas and get to know one another. The KREIS united all those who were fighting for the rights of homosexuals – not only on a legal basis, but more importantly in a scientific and cultural sense. At the same time the club was one of the few save havens for gays. At their large and regular costume balls held in the 50‘s, each party was attended by up to a number of 800 gays, who travelled from all over Europe to take part. From 1959 onwards in Zurich there was an increasing amount of social repression, largely due to several murders that took place in the so called „Stricher-Milieu“ (the gay prostitute scene): the Zurich state police made a register of homosexuals, and frequent raids took place. Homosexuals were hunted, interrogated and mistreated.

At the same time as this growing repression, the KREIS also went through a structural change. Rolf, the founder and father figure of the organization, supported a more moderate course of action that was willing to compromise, constantly looking for agreements between the organization and the authorities – and was even willing to respective compromises with the vice squad. This view was in contrast to most of the younger members of the KREIS, who had a different image of themselves.

Due to a law passed by the City Council in 1960 which forbid same sex dancing for men on municipal property, the KREIS lost one of their most important sources of income, the large costume balls. In 1961 the KREIS’ local venue had to close. The additional internal disagreements eventually led to the closing down of the magazine, and the whole organization dissolved in 1967. Firstly the Zurich Globus Riots in 1968 drew the public interest away from the gay community, as the police had „other worries“. And thus the organized repression in Zurich slowly decreased.

Thanks to the hard work of this Zurich organization, a numerous succession of organizations in Switzerland and abroad, who published their own magazines came into existence.


Stefan Haupt
2013The Circle Fiction, 100 Min.
2012Sagrada Documentary, 90 Min.
2010How about Love Fiction, 109min.
2006Ein Lied für Argyris Documentary, 105 min.
2004Downtown Switzerland Documentary, 94 min.
2003Moritz TV-Fiction, 87 min.
2003Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – Dem Tod ins Gesicht sehen Documentary, 98 min.
2001Utopia Blues Fiction, 97 min.
2000Increschantüm (Heimweh) Documentary, 68 min.
1998I'm just a simple person Documentary, 49 min.


2013EuroMedia Award, Culture and Aesthetics, „Sagrada“
2011Nomination Swiss Film Award, Best Supporting Actor, „How About Love“
2007Nomination Swiss Film Award, Best Documentary, „A Song for Argyris“
2007Public Choice Award, 9th Internat. Documentary Festival Thessaloniki, „A Song for Argyris“
2007Public Choice Award, Internat. Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, „A Song for Argyris“
2007Max Ophüls Award Filmfestival Saarbrücken, „A Song for Argyris“
2004Nomination Swiss Film Award, Best Documentary „Elisabeth Kübler-Ross“
2004Quality Award of Federal Department of Home Affairs, „Elisabeth Kübler-Ross“
2002Swiss Film Award, Best Fiction and Best Actor, „Utopia Blues“
2002Zurich Film Award, „Utopia Blues“
2002Max Ophüls Award, Best Screenplay and Best Actor, „Utopia Blues“
2002Molodist International Filmfestival Kiev, The Grand Prix, „Utopia Blues“
2002Interfilmpreis Saarbrücken, Best Film, „Utopia Blues“

Matthias Hungerbühler, ERNST OSTERTAG young

Matthias Hungerbühler Matthias Hungerbühler went to the Berlin University of the Arts. After his acting training he has played in different movies and worked for different theatres. In DER KREIS (The Circle) he plays his first leading role.

Sven Schelker, RÖBI RAPP young

Sven Schelker In 2008 Sven Schelker went to the prestigious Otto-Falckenberg School in Munich where he graduated in 2013. Since 2012 he is an official member of the ensemble of the Thalia Theater in Hamburg. In 2011 he received the Sponsorship Award of Migros Culture Percentage as „most promising actor of the year“.

Anatole Taubman, FELIX

Sven Schelker Anatole Taubman was born in Zurich and studied at renowned Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York. He has starred and co-starred in more than 70 films all around the world and is one of the most famous Swiss actors. He is also UNICEF Switzerland Spokesperson and BBC Goodwill Ambassador.

2013Northmen – A Viking Saga Regie: Claudio Fäh
2011Captain America: The First Avenger Regie: Joe Johnston, Marvel Enterprise
2011Largo Winch II – Die Burma Verschwörung Regie: Jérome Salle, Pan Européenne Production
2008Die Päpstin Regie: Sönke Wortmann, Hauptrolle ensemble, Constantin Film
2008James Bond 007 – Quantum of Solace Regie: Marc Forster, Sony Pictures
2006Marmorera Hauptrolle Regie: Markus Fischer, Snakefilm
2004Aeon Flux Regie: Karyn Kusama, Paramount Pictures (USA)
2002Luther Regie: Eric Till, NPF
2002Mein Name ist Bach Regie: Dominique de Rivaz, Twenty twenty Vision


2008Prix Walo für bester Schauspieler (CH)
2007Glanz und Gloria Award in der Kategorie "Success in 2007"
2004Nomination Schweizer Filmpreis Bester Nebendarsteller in "Mein Name ist Bach"

Marianne Sägebrecht, ERIKA RAPP

Sven Schelker From 1977 to 1981 Marianne Sägebrecht worked at the cabaret “Opera curiosa”. 1979 she was spotted by director Percy Adlon for the movie “The Swing”. With her following movies she quickly became very popular. She always played the role of the simple girl next door who is always up for a challenge.

2012Oma in Roma Kinospielfilm, Regie Tomy Wigand
1998Asterix und Obelix gegen Caesar Kinospielfilm, Regie: Claude Zidi, mit Gerard Depardieu
1996The Ogre Kinospielfilm, Regie: Volker Schlöndorff, mit John Malkovich
1994Der kleine Lord Kinospielfilm, Regie: Gianfranco Albano
1989The War of Roses US-Kinoblockbuster, Regie: Danny DeVito, mit Michael Douglas und Kathleen Turner
1988Rosalie Goes Shopping Kinospielfilm, Regie: Percy Adlon
1987Out of Rosenheim US-Kinospielfilm, Regie: Percy Adlon, mit Jack Pallance
1984Zuckerbaby Kinospielfilm, Regie: Percy Adlon


2009Oberbayerischer Kulturpreis
2003Bayerischer Verdienstorden
1988Goldener Bundesfilmpreis für „Out of Rosenheim“
1986Ernst Lubitsch-Preis für „Zuckerbaby“
1982Schwabinger Kunstpreis