2006 isset to be the most successful year ever for Swiss cinema with local films'market share of the box office reaching an all-time high of 10%.
This isalmost double last year's figure of 5.85% which had largely been the result ofonly one release - Michael Steiner's family adventure film Mein Name Ist Eugen - which posted 488,849admissions to become the third most successful Swiss film of the past threedecades. 2005's other top four Swiss releases could not muster 200,000admissions in total between them.
In pastyears, the domestic market share had usually oscillated between 1% and 3% savefor exceptional years, which witnessed a local runaway hit like in 2005 or in2003 when Mike Eschmann's army comedy AchtungFertig Charlie stormed the charts and generated 560,514 admissions and a5.51% share.
Thisyear, though, the substantial increase in the Swiss films' market share hasbeen thanks to four strong titles. Michael Steiner's political drama Grounding - The Last DaysOf Swissair was released in mid-January and has posted 373,800admissions, making it the fifth most successful Swiss film of the last 30 yearsand at fourth in the year's overall Top 10. Meanwhile, Bettina Oberli's Die Herbstzeitlosen attracted 253,776admissions, Juerg Ebe's comedy Handymansold 204,373 tickets and Fredi M. Murer's story of young boy's dreams of flyingin Vitus has been seen by 193,471cinema-goers up to the end of November.
However,at the same time, the Swiss film-makers have been a victim of their success atthe box office this year since the Federal Office of Culture's (BAK)'Succes cinema' automatic funding will have to be spread more thinlybecause there will be more films qualifying for support this year.
Accordingto the 'Succes cinema' scheme, for each ticket bought in a Swisscinema, the Swiss screenwriter, director, producer, distributor, andcinema-owner receive a bonus which must be reinvested in their next film, butthe BAK's budget for this funding category is pegged at $3.75m (Swiss Francs 4.5m).
Consequently,the film industry umbrella organisation Cinesuisse has called on the nationalparliament in Berne to agree at its winter session this week to a one-off $2.5m(CHF 3m) increase of the 2006 budget. This would bring the success-linkedfunding available to pay out to $6.26m (CHF 7.5m).