The organisation preceding the SWISS FILMS Foundation was initiated approximately forty years ago by the film industry – initially as an association and then as the Swiss Film Center in 1975.
Filmmakers wanted to establish a self-help support organisation with a “film center” that would foster Swiss filmmaking from the production to distribution and international visibility. The federal government assumed responsibility for the promotion of film productions. The tremendous success of Swiss film productions in the 1970s, however, led to new distribution structures for Swiss filmmaking. Consequently, international film promotion became the filmmakers’ pressing concern and the primary task of the Swiss Film Center.

In 2004 the Swiss Film Center joined forces with the film service department of the Swiss Arts Council (Pro Helvetia) – which had been working actively in intermediation and the exchange of the Swiss film culture since 1969 – and the Swiss Short Film Agency founded in 1997, to form SWISS FILMS, the film promotion agency. In 2007 the Swiss Film Center was renamed the SWISS FILMS Foundation. In 2008 the film promotion agency drew up the foundation’s mission statement which defines its the self-image and values.

According to the foundation’s statement of purpose, which has remained unmodified since its inception in 1975, SWISS FILMS supports “Swiss filmmaking and provides services which promote the distribution of Swiss film productions at home and abroad.” (Art. 1 of the statutes)