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70 Locarno Film Festival
Piazza Grande


One Life, One Soul

The story of Gotthard begins in 1987 when Leo Leoni, a young guitarist and fanatic of hard rock music, made a proposal to Steve Lee, a debuting rock singer, to form a group Krak; a proposal that would change their lives forever.
Steve Lee, timid and insecure, wasn’t convinced that he had the ‘stuff’ necessary to set off on the difficult road to becoming a rock singer. He had a steady job as a gold- smith and his family was less than enthusiastic that their son would launch himself into the precarious career of a musician. But inside of him the same desires were churning as in Leo: a life out of the ordinary and - having come from a small coun- tryside town - the crazy dream of becoming a rock star.

Two years later, during an evening out at the Zodiaco night club, Leo makes another decisive encounter for his career, in fact, Marco “Don” Antognini enters the pic- ture, a real estate agent and businessman with an adventurous spirit who will soon become the first manager of Gotthard, and a key figure for the future of the band. His complete lack of knowledge of the music business however, quickly leads him into a blind ally; he’s not able to provide the band with the decisive quantitative leap towards their coveted success. Through a friend, Don meets Chris von Rohr, an old rock star and cult personage in the Swiss music scene, who will become the historical mentor and producer for Gotthard.

Thus a collaboration began that would in short time allow the band to take-off. Gotthard began to gain an increasing amount of notice on the international music scene: their upward path is further enriched with interesting collaborations, partici- pation in renowned festivals and important awards.

But towards the mid 90’s, the golden era of hard rock was by now approaching its end. Chris von Rohr and the record company, well aware of this, push the band to move towards music that was more accessible, commercial, and closer to the tastes of a larger audience.  



Notwithstanding the notable success obtained also in the new stylistic direction, strong internal tensions begin to manifest themselves, bringing the band to the point of nearly breaking up.After various unpleasant setbacks and disappointments, the internal friction become evermore exasperating, pushing Gotthard to end their collaboration with their men- tor and patriarch Chris von Rohr, and later with their manager Marco Antognini, even though they were the figures who had contributed the most to the band’s rise to success. Thus, at the peak of their career they find themselves without management or record company; and in addition to that, in a disastrous financial situation. After having sold millions of records, the brand ‘Gotthard’ is near bankruptcy, a paradox- ical situation, to say the least. It’s the end of a chapter that left them all disoriented and uncertain about their future.

In spite of this however, in 2003 the band decides to wipe the slate clean of the past and to take the reins of their destiny in their own hands. They create their own re- cord company, G. Records, and they rediscover the joy of playing and working to- gether, with the force and authenticity that they had at their beginning.

But destiny knows well also how to be cruel. In 2010, during a road trip on the M15 Highway in Nevada, Steve Lee is killed in a tragic accident. Once again, beyond the unbearable sadness and despair, the survival of Gotthard is put to it’s toughest test. But the groups spirit is able to rise even from this profound chasm and Gotthard confronts the new challenge by bringing out their true character; with the support of the new singer Nic Maeder, the band returns to the worlds stages with a renewed fervor.


director: Kevin Merz
producer: Tiziana Soudani
camera: Kevin Merz & Patrick Botticchio
editor: Samir Samperisi & Nicolò Tettamanti
sound editor: Ricardo Studer
production: Amka Films, Bunkerville
Ancora 1


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