Switzerland's Federal Office of Culture (BAK) has launched a $200,000 (Swiss Francs 250,000) fund to boost the distribution of Swiss films abroad.
Speaking at the Solothurn Film Days at the weekend, BAK director Jean-Frederic Jauslin and his film division chief Nicolas Bideau announced that foreign distributors of Swiss films would be able to receive distribution aid of up to Euros 25,000 per film towards the release costs from the new fund.
The Swiss initiative is similar to the 'Distribution Support' programme which was introduced by German Films in 2005 to finance additional measures as a way of supplementing the release campaign that had already been planned by the foreign distributors. The support to a maximum of Euros 50,000 is granted in the the form of a conditionally repayable loan. In 2006, German Films had an overall budget of Euros 500,000 available for its support programme.
In addition, Jauslin and Bideau said that they plan to provide more support for Switzerland's arthouse cinemas - the so-called Cinemas d'art et d'essai - with a particular focus on screens in rural areas. They would also like to see the private sector becoming more involved in Swiss cinema as sponsors.
This year will see the BAK providing CHF 40.7m for measures to support the film industry, of which CHF 23.3m are reserved for film production, CHF 7.5m for Switzerland's participation in the European Union's MEDIA Programme, CHF 4.8m for Swiss Films and the Swiss film festivals, CHF 2.3m for the Cinematheque in Lausanne, CHF 1.8m for training initiaitives, and CHF 1m for membership of Eurimages.