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"Una coproducción es como un matrimonio: cuanta más confianza hay, mejor funciona la relación"

Informe de industria: Producir - Coproducir...

Corinna Marschall y Laurent Steiert • Directora de MEDIA Desk Suisse, y responsable del departamento de cine de la Oficina Federal de la Cultura


Suiza implementa una nueva medida de financiación orientada al desarrollo conjunto de coproducciones minoritarias

Corinna Marschall y Laurent Steiert • Directora de MEDIA Desk Suisse, y responsable del departamento de cine de la Oficina Federal de la Cultura

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

As of 2023, it is now possible to get funding for co-productions with a minority Swiss share for projects at the development stage. We talked to Corinna Marschall from MEDIA Desk Suisse and Laurent Steiert from the Film Department at the Swiss Federal Office of Culture about the motivation behind this implementation, the conditions linked to the funding tools and its anticipated benefits. 

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Cineuropa: What made you want to implement this new funding tool? What did the minority co-production funding miss so far?
Corinna Marschall and
Laurent Steiert: Switzerland is excluded from the Creative Europe MEDIA programme and thus from its co-development funding programme launched in 2021. This makes it hard for our producers to find development funding as minority partners, especially if the script comes from abroad. There are only a few regional funds that are offering this kind of support. Co-development funds exist between Italy and France or Germany and France, for example, but not between these countries and Switzerland, even though they are our most frequent co-producing countries. The new funding instrument should have a supporting effect here. Furthermore, the funding scheme will complement the other international instruments offered by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture destined particularly for the production funding for minority Swiss projects, to which belongs for example the 40% cash rebate scheme for films which will be shot at least in part in Switzerland.

What do you think are the biggest difficulties so far to co-produce with Switzerland and how could this new tool help?
This would mainly be high labour costs, increased by the exchange rate of the strong Swiss currency. But since the country is located in the very heart of Europe, with a multilingual workforce – German, French and Italian are national languages and English is widely spoken – this makes us natural partners for the countries next to us, and not only those. Switzerland offers short distances and an enormous variety of locations plus a green energy mix. The new funding scheme shall help support early collaboration and thus enhance the chances of becoming a successful co-production at the production stage.

To whom is the funding tool addressed?
We are targeting Swiss producers with previous experience in international co-productions as delegate producers. They can apply with a new project which is supposed to become an official International co-production and where they have an effective minority participation in the development stage.

What are the most important conditions that go with the funding?
There are some formal conditions such as the fact that the project must have already secured 50% of the development cost in the country of the delegate majority producer. Or that we consider the reciprocity formula in the funding agreements between the co-producing countries. Then, the evaluation criteria focus also, of course, on the quality and international audience potential of the project, the quality and coherence of the co-development strategy and on the thematic or organisational link to Switzerland.

Are there particular incentives to consider?
Three aspects will generate bonus points: the involvement of Swiss authors, although the instrument is also aimed at co-productions with foreign scripts. Collaboration between Swiss and foreign screenwriters is possible. There are also bonus points for projects targeting children, and for animation films. Another aspect we consider is whether the projects present good strategies for a sustainable and “greener” development and production process.

What will be the benefits of this co-development funding for the producers?
The later you join a project, the better set it already is. We want to encourage the collaboration as early as possible so that creative elements from Switzerland can be incorporated from the beginning. This simplifies coordination among the co-producing countries at the technical level and at the financing and production stages. For example, the funding instrument supports projects that require filming locations in Switzerland or access to our archives. A co-production is like a marriage: the more trust is built, the more the partners are on the same wavelength, the better the relationship works.

As a result of the co-development and bonus point system, young Swiss screenwriting talents could, for example, take part in "Writers' Rooms" and collaborate and learn from more experienced screenwriters from abroad. Promoting talent is enormously important.

Where is the funding measure located inside the rest of the Swiss funding system? And how big is the budget?
This new funding instrument is not part of the MEDIA compensation measures, but belongs to the Federal Office of Culture international measures. MEDIA Desk Suisse helped in the development of this measure and runs it in coordination with the FOC’s co-production instruments. Funding is available for projects in development with a minority Swiss co-production company. A maximum funding is defined, namely 25,000 Swiss francs for documentaries, or 50,000 Swiss francs for feature films, animated films and series. A maximum funding intensity (of eligible Swiss costs) and maximum share of all federal funds is possible up to 70%. The yearly budget covers a maximum of 3 to 5 projects.

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