Swiss filmmaking more successful than ever internationally. An interim review
Swiss filmmaking shines with international successes in the year 2016. Two outstanding productions give rise to an unparalleled success story: “Heidi” by Alain Gsponer and “My Life as a Zucchini” by Claude Barras. Further highlights include excellent documentary films, promising up-and-coming filmmakers and striking short and feature-length animation films. Positive international box-office figures and high-calibre awards attest to this magnificent ascent of Swiss filmmaking.
With ticket sales of 3.5 million worldwide, “Heidi” (Zodiac Pictures) has now advanced as the most successful Swiss film. The Swiss-German coproduction starring Bruno Ganz as Alpöhi has been sold in more than 100 countries to date (world sales: StudioCanal), generating box-office sales of over EUR 7.6 million in Germany alone. In early summer Switzerland launched yet another international hit with “My Life as a Zucchini“ (“Ma vie de Courgette”; Rita Productions). The Swiss-French coproduction celebrated its premiere in Cannes and experienced an incomparable international festival and cinema career. The feature-film debut by Claude Barras already ranks as the most successful Swiss animation film and has been sold until now in approximately 50 countries (world sales: Indie Sales). “My Life as a Zucchini“ has been seen by more than 600,000 cinemagoers in France since October. It was honoured with the European Film Award, has been nominated for a Golden Globe and is Switzerland’s candidate on the Oscar shortlist of Foreign Language Film and is in the running for a nomination in the Animated Feature Film category.
Moreover, a considerable number of award-winning festival hits from Switzerland have also contributed to the tremendous international festival results in 2016. For instance, such maverick, celebrated Swiss documentary films as “Above and Below” (Nicolas Steiner; German Film Award Best Documentary Film & Best Cinematography), “Sonita” (Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami; coproduction Intermezzo Films; World Cinema Grand Jury Prize & Audience Award Sundance), “Cahier africain” (Heidi Specogna; Silver Dove DOK Leipzig), “The Girl Down Loch Änzi” by Alice Schmid or “Almost There” by Jacqueline Zünd (both First Appearance IDFA), to name but a few. An impressive number of works by emerging directors also attracted international attention: for example, “Aloys” (Tobias Nölle; Fipresci Award in the Berlinale’s Panorama section), “Europe, She Loves” (Jan Gassman; opening film in the Berlinale’s Panorama Documents section), “Raving Iran" (Susanne Regina Meures; First Steps Award) or “Marija” (Michael Koch; International Competition Festival del film Locarno).
Two stellar Swiss short films round off the international success record: with “Bon voyage” (Marc Raymond Wilkins; Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion) and “La femme et le TGV” (Timo von Gunten; arbel gmbh), Switzerland has two productions among the 10 short films on the Oscar shortlist for Live Action Short Films.
Swiss animation films can also look back on a decidedly unprecedented year. Apart from the high flyer “Ma vie de Courgette”, numerous animation films garnered international merits in 2016. Verifying the high international standard of Swiss animation filmmaking are such notable works as “Molly Monster” (Ted Sieger, Michael Ekblad, Matthias Bruhn), “Erlking” (Georges Schwizgebel), or “Whatever The Weather” (Remo Scherrer) and “Analysis Paralysis” (Anete Melece). SWISS FILMS aims to stay abreast of this positive trend with a stronger presence at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival Market and a new animation film booklet.
The extraordinary success of Swiss filmmaking on an international level confirms the strategy implemented by SWISS FILMS to systematically expand its consulting activities and support measures, as well as its international promotional activities. In 2016 particular attention was paid to opening up the most important film market in Latin America: Mexico. This brought about an extensive Swiss film programme at the International Film Festival Guadalajara, where Switzerland was featured as the guest country, and a number of events carried out together with the Swiss Embassy.
In addition, SWISS FILMS is giving increased attention to expanding VOD releases. The goal of future promotional activities in this area is increased availability and visibility of Swiss film productions on international platforms. SWISS FILMS was already able to establish its first successful partnerships with MUBI and realeyz.de streaming providers for the international release of Swiss film productions in 2016.
SWISS FILMS, December 21, 2016