Swiss public television is to increase its support for independent Swiss production in gradual steps from the current annual $18.2m (CHF 19.8m) to $20.5m (CHF 22.3m) from 2011.

The Audiovisual Pact (Pacte de l'audiovisuel) between the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR and six film industry associations will see an increase in the amounts made available for production by an additional $1.38m (CHF 1.5m) in 2009 and another $460,000 (CHF 500,000) in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

The agreement includes dedicated funding for the on-air trailer promotion of the theatrical releases for new Swiss feature films as well as greater efforts by the French-speaking broadcaster Television Suisse Romande (TSR) to work with independent screenwriters, directors and producers on the development of TV series.

Commenting on the changes to the Audiovisual Pact, SRG SSR director-general Armin Walpen pointed out that the broadcaster was 'accompanying domestic filmmaking from project development through to the promotion of the works. We want to support the innovation potential of our best talents within the overall course of this process,' while producer Marcel Hoehn of T&C Film noted that the negotiations with SRG SSR were 'open and constructive. The 'Pacte de l'audiovisuel' is a success story; we have already achieved a lot together and still want to achieve much more.'

Since being launched in 1996, the Pact has provided more than $161.2m (CHF 175m) of support to the Swiss film industry, co-producing over 1,000 feature films, TV movies, documentaries, shorts and animated films.

37 films showing at this week's Locarno Film Festival were co-produced by Swiss television including Lionel Baier's warmly received International Competition film Un Autre Homme; Denis Rabaglia's Marcello Marcello, which had its world premiere on the Piazza Grande on Tuesday evening; Fernand Melgar's documentary La Forteresse in the Filmmakers of the Present competition; and Dominique de Rivaz's Luftbusiness in the Here & Elsewhere sidebar.