Swiss documentaries are currently riding on a wave of success, having picked up main prizes at festivals in Switzerland and Austria at the weekend in addition to the Golden Lola for Markus Imhoof’s More Than Honey.

The Grand Prix La Poste Suisse for the best feature-length documentary in the International Competition at Nyon’s Visions du Réel (19-26 April) went to Ramon Giger and Jan Gassmann’s Karma Shadub, the first Swiss film to win this main prize since 2002.

Other prize-winning Swiss films at the festival included Peter Liechti’s Father’s Garden, Simon Baumann’s Zum Beispiel Suberg and Nicole Vögele’s Frau Loosli, while other awards went to Lithuanian film-maker Marat Sargsyan’s Father and Axel Salvatori-Sinz’s Les Chebabs de Yarmouk, among others.

In the parallel Doc Outlook-International Market (DOCM), the industry workshops focused on innovative distribution models for creative documentaries and closer cooperation with educational institutions.

Marieke Jonker of the Amsterdam-based cinema-on-demand internet platform We Want Cinema revealed to ScreenDaily that the initiative will be expanding from its current 19 partner cinemas in The Netherlands to Germany this year. 35 cinemas in and around Berlin have expressed interest in participating in a trial beginning in June in collaboration with Cinetrans.

Meanwhile, the Swiss VoD platform which was launched on the internet on October 10, 2012, is scheduled to launch its application via a set-top box at the Locarno Film Festival in August.

Fifteen documentary projects were presented as part of DOCM’s 8th co-production meeting Pitching du Réel selected from 130 entries. They included ican films’ The Day The Sun Fell by Aya Domenigg, Film Tower Kuubis’ Jesus Lives In Siberia by Jaak Kilmi and Arbo Tamiksaar, and Intermezzo Films’ Alicia Alonso – An Absent Body by Eileen Hofer.

Potential co-producers or financiers attending the two-day pitching forum ranged from representatives of the BBC’s Storyville, Finland’s YLE, France’s Arte and HBO Europe as well as producers Christian Frei, Gabriela Bussmann, Nadia Turincev and Ralph Wieser.

On the sidelines of Visions du Réel, which posted record admissions of 28,000, ScreenDaily learnt that International Jury member, film critic Christian Jungen is preparing a biography on Moritz de Hadeln, Dieter Kosslick’s predecessor as director of the Berlinale.

Jungen told Screen that it is planned to launch the book at next year’s Nyon festival which will celebrate the 45th anniversary of its founding by de Hadeln in 1969 .

In an email, de Hadeln said that he and his wife Erika had agreed to  Jungen’s proposal after reading his book on Hollywood in Cannes, which is shortly to be published in English.

“Since we agreed he has visited us many times digging into our private archive and taping quite a few interviews with us. He has also been talking to many people who knew us or worked with us and we helped him in Berlin to meet some of our former colleagues. But the task is arduous as it spreads on a long period of time, the Cold War period, and in many different countries and cultures. So he will need time to digest all this material and information he gathered before finishing the manuscript.”

De Hadeln added that Jungen had gained access to “some rather unknown material and information that should make his book worth reading!”

Swiss triumph in Linz’s Crossing Europe

Peter Liechti’s Father’s Garden was named Best European Documentary at the 10th anniversary edition of Linz’s Crossing Europe Film Festival by the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean (Fedeora).

The Fedeora jury described the film as “a poignant, witty and frank portrayal of an elderly couple as seen through the eyes of their son”.

2013’s Crossing Europe Award in the European Competitionj went by an unanimous decision to Greek director Ektoras Lygizos’ Boy Eating The Bird’s Food, with a special mention to Slovak Iveta Grófová’s Made In Ash, while festival-goers voted for Marcal Forés’ Animals for the Audience Award.

Attendance to Crossing Europe came close to 2012’s record admissions of 21,000, but festival director Christine Dollhofer still has concerns with securing the festival budget for the future.

Click here for full list of winners