Ricardo and Painting

Source: Locarno Film Festival

‘Ricardo And Painting’

Swiss public broadcaster SRG has extended its co-production agreement with the local film industry for another four years and has increased its annual budget by CHF1.5m ($1.7m) to CHF34m ($38m).

The new “Pacte de l’Audiovisuel” co-production agreement between SRG and the local film industry will run from 1 January 2024 until the end of 2027.

The annual budget available in the “Pacte” for co-producing Swiss feature films will increase from $10m (CHF 9m) to $11.45m CHF10m in response to rising costs for film production.

In addition, the annual support for animation films will be doubled from the current $2.3m (CHF 2m).

More than half of the “Pacte”’s annual budget is channelled into the co-production of TV movies and series such as Davos, Neumatt, Tschugger and Les Indociles.

Cinema co-productions supported in 2022 as part of the agreement include Switzerland’s Oscar candidate Thunder, Margarethe von Trotta’s Berlinale 2023 competition entry Bachmann & Frisch - Journey Into The Desert, Katalin Godrös’ Jacob’s Horse, Anja Kofmel’s animation film Timbuktu, and Barbet Schroeder’s documentary Ricardo And Painting shown out of competition in Locarno today (Aug 7).

SRG’s director Gilles Marchand said: “Film plays a central role for the expression of our Swiss identities. It is essential for Switzerland to ensure a national production output because films - whether they are documentaries or fiction films - speak about our realities in a way that complements information. The size of the Swiss market doesn’t allow this production to refinance itself through commercial revenues. It is therefore important that SRG takes on its responsibility in this area. Together with the independent production sector, SRG helps to secure the development of this creative industry.”

Heisenberg project first to benefit from Swiss co-development fund

Benjamin Heisenberg’s screenplay Liebesgeister, co-written with Peter Bösenberg, is the first project to benefit from the co-development fund for minority co-productions launched by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Culture (FOC) with MEDIA Desk Suisse at the beginning of this year.

The German-Swiss co-production between Cologne’s Made in Germany Filmproduktion and Geneva-based Beauvoir Films received $40,000 (CHF 35,000) from the new fund after its first call for projects in March.

Liebesgeister centres on Katie and Frank who are leading a happy life until the day when Frank starts withdrawing from all of his social contacts and duties, mentally moving to an entirely different place. Katie tries to understand him and open up a way for him back into society, but their situation changes when rumours of an epidemic start spreading.

Benjamin Heisenberg’s previous credits as a director include Milchwald (co-written with fellow director Christoph Hochhäusler, 2003), Sleeper (2005), The Robber (2010) and more than 40 short films and art videos.

The co-development fund can award up to $57,000 (CHF 50,000) per project for fiction films, animation films or series, and a maximum amount of $28,600 (CHF25,000) for a documentary.

According to the guidelines, the funding application must be made by the Swiss minority producer and funding can cover up to 70% of the Swiss partner’s expenses.

In addition, the application must be made no more than eight months before the start of shooting, and a deal memo between the co-producers must be in place which corresponds with existing co-production treaties with Switzerland.

Cinéconomie industry alliance launched

The Swiss film industry is joining forces with the hotel and restaurant, tourism, event and cultural sectors to launch a new association, Cinéconomie, which will be formally launched this autumn.

The idea for a new umbrella organisation follows the adoption of amendments to the Film Act last year requiring all audiovisual services providing film content to invest in Swiss film production or its promotion. The investment obligation amounts to 4% of the services’ annual gross income generated in Switzerland.

Centre-right politician Matthias Michel, who will chair this new organisation, explained that Cinéconomie will “pool the interests and pursue the goal of constantly improving the conditions for investment. This will also increase Switzerland’s attractiveness as a place for filming and postproduction. Swiss films and series are an excellent image campaign for our country.”