SWISS FILMS Review 2011 – Increased presence of Swiss film productions
SWISS FILMS, the national film promotion agency, reports a successful year in 2011. Both the presence of Swiss film productions at international festivals and the overall prominence of Swiss filmmaking increased once again.
There were 97 (2010: 64) Swiss film productions screened in the main sections of major festivals; 286 (2010: 247) Swiss film productions were presented in 28 (2010: 21) film programmes; 306 (2010: 202) awards were presented to 136 (2010: 109) Swiss film productions; as well as monetary prizes amounting to CHF 600'000 (2010: CHF 450'000). These figures illustrate the increasingly broader international success for Swiss film productions. “Such visibility is the result of systematic cooperation in all the areas which form the key prerequisites for filmmaking: education, production, distribution and promotion. SWISS FILMS serves as the contact address in Switzerland for the latter,” summarises Josefa Haas, chairwoman of the foundation board.
Promotion and intermediation worldwide
SWISS FILMS contributes significantly to ensuring that individual works appear on the most important platforms – the major film festivals in Berlin, Cannes or Venice – and Swiss filmmakers come to be known. The following films in particular met with international acclaim: the fiction films “Summer Games,” “Abrir puertas y ventanas” and “Der Sandmann”; the documentary films “An African Election,” “Day Is Done,” “Mit dem Bauch durch die Wand,” “The Substance – Albert Hofmann’s LSD” and “Vol spécial,” as well as the short films “Ich bin’s Helmut,” “Kwa Heri Mandima,” “Yuri Lennon’s Landing On Alpha 46” and Georges Schwizgebel’s “Romance.”
SWISS FILMS advises filmmakers and film distributors and facilitates sales at film markets, festival participation and production of subtitled film prints, with CHF 308'000 in 2011. Seventeen fiction films and 12 documentary films were sold internationally. Twelve film releases in cinemas abroad were supported within the framework of export subsidies, which is organised by the Federal Office of Culture in collaboration with SWISS FILMS. “The myriad components leading to the international presence and networking of Swiss filmmaking all converge at SWISS FILMS,” points out director Micha Schiwow, adding: “Contacts were specifically targeted at major film festivals worldwide for 20 fiction films, 50 documentary films and just as many short films by the promotion agency in 2011. In addition, there are contacts to approximately 20 world sales agencies and 60 international distributors that SWISS FILMS has established for the distribution of feature-length films.” The distribution subsidies, underpinned by many years of experience and a solid network, led to the Oscar campaign for Rolando Colla’s “Summer Games” last year.
Of the 28 film programmes, which SWISS FILMS organised in collaboration with select, renowned festivals, 16 works by individual filmmakers were presented in an international context, including works by Béatrice Bakhti, Jean-Stéphane Bron, Richard Dindo, Thomas Imbach, Fernand Melgar and Anka Schmid. Twelve thematic film programmes served to create the relationship between the current film production and film classics by such directors as Daniel Schmid and Alain Tanner. In the focus regions of China and Latin America, where the promotion agency has been actively committed for a longer period of time, SWISS FILMS presented three and seven programmes, respectively, together with the local partners.
Attaining the international breakthrough for new talents presents one of the greatest challenges in promotion work. The Silver Bear for Ursula Meier at the Berlinale 2012 for her film “Sister” (“L’enfant d’en haut”) was preceded by a long-range processing of information, to which SWISS FILMS made a significant contribution. Meier’s first milestones were her films “Tous à table” and “Des épaules solides.” “This succeeded in paving the way for the young director to ultimately stand in the limelight on the international film scene: be it with the historical reference to works by Alain Tanner, for whom she once worked as an assistant; or within the context of the comeback of films from French-speaking Switzerland, including such filmmakers as Lionel Baier, Jean-Stéphane Bron and Frédéric Mermoud,” explains Micha Schiwow.
Source for comprehensive information
An integral part of international promotion and reliable communication includes the collecting, processing and publishing of film data for all Swiss film productions. At www.swissfilms.ch – the most important information platform for SWISS FILMS – some 3'600 Swiss film productions with comprehensive film data are documented, together with their festival careers and awards. In 2011 the Website registered a considerable increase in its number of visitors: 27% compared to the previous year. Apart from the film data, visitors to the Website can find 2'156 directors of Swiss film productions with their biographies and filmographies; 600 festivals per year; 1'637 international production firms; 235 world sales agencies; 877 distributors; and 1'500 press releases on Swiss film productions.
Opening doors for increased international awareness
Support for distribution and film programmes abroad, combined with effective public events at home – the Swiss Film Prize “Quartz,” the “Appellations Suisse” series in Locarno and the Short Film Night Tour – are all the vital components which SWISS FILMS carries out in close cooperation with the film industry. These activities open doors to increase the international awareness and dissemination of films. Background information and further details can be found in the new refocused Annual Report.
Zurich, June 27, 2012
Annual report 2011