New Swiss fund spotlights film productions from the South

With the help of the new Swiss "visions sud est" Fund, film producers from countries in the South and East are to receive production and promotional support for their film projects.

Established through the joint efforts of Martial Knaebel, artistic director of the Fribourg Festival, Jean Perret, director of the Visions du réel Festival in Nyon, and Walter Ruggle, CEO of the trigon-film Foundation in Wettingen, the fund was officially launched on Thursday in Fribourg. Its objective is to promote film projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America and later on to work for their distribution at festivals and in cinemas a broad. ?Production promotion mechanisms already exist in Switzerland and Europe,? said Walter Ruggle, ?but they are reserved mainly for Swiss and European films. Too often, films from the South and East are left out in the cold when it comes to production and distribution. Producers of such films can either turn to only a few special institutions or must enter into coproductions and adapt to European wishes in form and content.? The ?visions sud est? fund aims to
counteract this by supporting exceptional and authentic projects without attaching any additional terms to their production and exploitation. Great emphasis will be placed on synergies to keep structural costs to a minimum and to ensure that available resources go into the productions.

Projects to be furthered are those dealing with subjects of importance in the countries where they are produced and films which are convincing in form and can contribute to cultural interaction. The Head of Information at the SDC Harry Sivec says, "Culture is one of the most important mainstays in the agency?s daily work. It communicates between worlds and by so doing creates closeness. To become involved in the cultures of the South and East means making a contribution to
development, democracy and peace.? The fund will devote most of its attention to feature-length films, but will also support individual documentary films made for viewing in cinemas.

In the first year, fund administrators expect to contribute to around eight productions. The fund has startup capital of about CHF 500,000 to which the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has made a considerable donation. Fund administrators also hope to expand their activities by gaining the financial support of private companies eager to contribute to this positive influence from Switzerland. The fund will also improve film visibility. Productions will be shown at the Fribourg and Nyon festivals and by trigon-film. In addition, the three institutions participating in the fund will take advantage of their international contacts for promotion campaigns around the world.