2005 Summary of Swiss Films at International Festivals
The annual summary published by SWISS FILMS reveals that 45 Swiss films - 15 fiction, 12 documentary, and 18 short – were shown at 22 important international film festivals this year, with 11 films receiving an award. This confirms last year’s reported trend of a growing Swiss presence at international festivals. Considerable attention was given to Swiss films in Berlin and Montreal; in Cannes, Venice, and San Sebastian, however, they did not receive much recognition. At the largest genre-specific festivals – Clermont-Ferrand, Oberhausen, Palm Springs, Berlin, and Venice – Swiss short and animated films were shown.
Even though the number of feature films produced in 2005 (11 movies) is far below 2004 (20 movies), a strong presence of feature films in major sections at important film festivals was maintained. (2005: 17, 2004: 15, 2003: 7, 2002: 10; with some films shown at several festivals). A significant increase occurred in the number of Swiss documentary films shown at important international festivals (2005: 22, 2004: 13, 2003: 11, 2002: 9; with some films shown at several festivals).
At the Berlinale, “Coca- The Dove from Chechnya” by Eric Bergkraut, “Feline Masquerade” by Veronika Minder, and “Hi Maya” by Claudia Lorenz were screened in the Forum and Panorama sections which provided an ideal platform to begin these films’ remarkable festival tours. At the Festival des Films du Monde, three new feature films premiered – “The Headsman” by Simon Aeby, “Ryna” by Ruxandra Zenide, and “Fragile” by Laurent Nègre. Their theatrical release in Switzerland will occur shortly. The documentary film “The Giant Buddhas” by Christian Frei, which premiered in Locarno, received great international attention in Toronto as part of the “Real to Reel” section. The film has received several festival invitations and was bestowed the Golden Dove award in Leipzig. The showing of Samir’s feature film “Snow White” had been greatly anticipated at Locarno and has since found its audience in movie theatres, while “Jo Siffert Live Fast – Die Young” by Men Lareida was screened at the Piazza Grande.
Substantial awards went to Peter Entell’s for “Josh’s Trees” in Montreal (Grand Jury Prize) and to Ruxandra Zenide for “Ryna” in Geneva (Grand Prize Reflet d’Or). Similarly, Claudia Lorenz’ short film “Hi Maya” received the UIP Prize in Berlin while Peter Volkart was given the prize for Best Short Film for “Terra Incognita.”
The new guidelines for foreign promotion established in mid-2005, combined with providing financial support for festivals of CHF 200,000/year, and CHF 300,000 for festival copies, have already had promising results: During the second half of 2005, a significant increase in festival participation occurred in comparison to 2004 (2nd half of 2005: 43 selections for 16 festivals, 2nd half of 2004: 30 selections for 11 festivals).
Zurich, November 22, 2005