TheSwiss film industry is likely to have mixed feelings after reading the FederalOffice for Statistics' (BFS) latest study "Filmproduction in Switzerland 1995-2004'.
Appearingahead of Locarno Film Festival's first Swiss Day (Aug8), which will showcase national filmmaking, the BFS study notes, on the onehand, that public and private funding for local production has almost tripledin this decade under investigation, from $17.6m (CHF 21.7m) to $52.3m (CHF64.5m). National public institutions including the Federal Office for Culture(BAK) has more than doubled its support for production from $7.4m (CHF 9.2m) to$15.2m (CHF 18.8m) while Swiss Television's investment more than quadrupled from$5.5m (CHF 6.8m) to $26m (CHF 32m) and represented 49.7% of the totalproduction aid available in Switzerland in 2004.
Inaddition, the BFS researchers found thatmore feature films are produced per 1m population in Switzerland than in any otherEuropean country. While most European territories have between one to threefilms produced in relation to their populations, Switzerland has four films producedfor each million of its total 7m population.
Atthe same time, however, the number of films produced havenot had any influence on the domestic industry's success in the cinemas. Thelocal market share has oscillated between 1% and 3% despite the fact that thenumber of fiction feature films and feature documentaries grew from 37 in 1995to 61 in 2004.
Commercialsuccesses - such as Achtung Fertig Charlie, which was seen by 580,000in 2003 - are the exception, with only two films selling more than 250,000tickets between 1995 and 2004. In fact, two-thirds of the 302 Swiss filmsreleased in this period each posted less than 5,000 admissions, and 37.1% wereseen by less than 1,500 cinema-goers.
Anothersobering fact for the Swiss film community to contemplate in Locarno is that there is hardlyany evidence of a continuous output in production. According to the BFS study, the majority ofSwiss films are made by small production companies, of which 90% make only onefilm a year. The research also found that 69% of the producers had producedonly one feature film for cinema between 1995 and 2004 and 70% of the directorshad worked only once for the cinema in these ten years.