Swiss films’ market share climbed year-on-year by around 50% to 5.2% in 2010 from last year’s 3.5% with a record number of local film – 82 – released in the cinemas.

According to statistics collated by the industry body Procinema to the end of November, the market share was even higher at 5.54% if one included co-productions with Swiss participation.

The most successful local film in 2010 was Michael Steiner’s Alpine western Sennentuntschi which opened this year’s Zurich Film Festival and was released by Walt Disney in mid-October, followed by Wolfgang Panzer’s political drama Der grosse Kater, and Christoph Schaub’s Giulias Verschwinden, which had already been released in 2009.

Swiss documentaries, which have continued to be successful at international festivals around the globe this year, occupied no less than six slots in the Top 10 of local films for 2010. They included Jean-Stéphane Bron’s Locarno title Cleveland vs. Wall Street and Vadim Jendreyko’s award-winning Die Frau mit den 5 Elefanten.

In a communique on the provisional admission figures for 2010, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Culture (BAK) noted that 150,000 more viewers had gone to see Swiss films compared to the previous two years, bringing the total admissions for domestic titles to around 700,000. “Local films are not only shown in the big towns, around a third of all admissions for Swiss films were posted in the countryside, ” BAK reported.

Meanwhile, Laurent Steiert, the interim head of BAK’s film section, noted the challenges facing the Swiss exhibition sector and especially cinemas with just one screen when so many films are being released theatrically. He spoke of a “wave of closures” affecting such cinemas and said that his department would at least instigate measures to help smaller and medium-sized cinemas make the change to digital projection.

At the same time, the Swiss film industry has a busy agenda lined up for the next 12 months. New concepts for a future national film funding system will be prepared by next summer, and the findings of the evaluation of Switzerland’s film festivals will be announced at January’s Solothurn Film Days when the amounts of funding allocated to each festival will be revealed.

In addition, a successor to Nicolas Bideau as head of BAK’s film section will be found by next spring. According to BAK, almost 50 candidates have applied for the post to run the national film funding programme in Berne.

Top Ten Swiss Films 2010 (admissions)

Sennentuntschi, dir: Michael Steiner, 116,000

Der grosse Kater, dir: Wolfgang Panzer, 54,100

Giulias Verschwinden, dir: Christoph Schaub, 47,400

Champions, dir: Riccardo Signorell, 43,800

Cleveland vs. Wall Street (doc), dir: Jean-Stéphane Bron, 25,600

Die Frau mit den 5 Elefanten (doc), dir: Vadim Jendreyko, 21,900

Guru - Bhagwan, His Secretary & His Bodyguard (doc), dir: Sabine Gisiger /Beat Häner, 21,800

Bödälä - Dance the Rhythm(doc), dir: Gita Gsell, 21,200

Romans d’Ados 1234 (doc), dir: Béatrice Bakhti, 20,100

Wetterschmöker (doc), dir: Thomas Horat 18,500

Top Ten Foreign Films in Switzerland 2010

Avatar, 20th Century Fox, 827,000

Inception, Warner Bros, 437,000

Alice In Wonderland, Walt Dısney, 388,000

The Twilight Saga: Eclypse, Elıte, 297,000

Shrek Forever After, Unıversal, 282,000

Despicable Me, Unıversal, 281,000

Sex and the City 2, Warner Bros, 277,000

Sherlock Holmes, Warner Bros, 272,000

Robin Hood, Unıversal, 258,000

Shutter Island, Unıversal, 249,000

Source: Procinema, admissions registered until end of November 2010.