Swiss Federal President and Minister of Culture Pascal Couchepin has proposed that the national cinema funding budget should be increased by up to 15%.

At the same time, however, he called on Swiss producers to be more commercially minded in the future.

Speaking during the weekend at the Locarno International Film Festival, Couchepin called for overall cinema funding budget to rise "10%, perhaps even 15%" from the current annual sum of Euros 27m.

Couchepin commented: "the best way to justify the Confederation's commitment is {for producers] to make themselves noticeable with their films. I am not only talking about the number of productions, but also about the quality, the diversity and the theatrical success. I need your help, I need your works, but I also need your commercial success."

"Cinema is not only there to enrich the panorama of a country, but, above all, to be seen by the greatest number of people, both in Switzerland", Couchepin said.

Speaking to, Marcel Hoehn of production house T&C Film, said that a producer lobby group had met with Couchepin in Locarno on August 9 for a discussion about the future structure of public film funding in Switzerland.

According to Hoehn, production funding would be the main beneficiary of any increase in the national funding budget for cinema. At the moment, it was envisaged that an additional Euros 2m would be made available each year for production funding.

At present, the Federal Office of Culture has almost Euros 10.3m a year to allocate for its selective film funding and the success-related "reference" automatic film funding programmes.