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Locarno, 5 August 2017 – Over sixty industry professionals have met within the framework of Connect to Reality, a debate platform conceived by the Locarno, Zurich and Geneva festivals. A think tank which intends to structure a critical analysis of the challenges to be faced during the development, production and distribution stages of Swiss films.
On Saturday at the Locarno Festival, about sixty personalities from the Swiss film industry, along with guests from about ten European countries, divided into 6 work-groups, discussed the distribution and visibility of Swiss cinema at home and abroad. Participants agreed that it is necessary to define strategies for increasing the market share of Swiss cinema within the country (which currently amounts to about 5%) and improve its visibility at an international level, not only at festivals, but particularly in cinemas, with the utmost urgency.
The Connect to Reality conference was opened by speakers Edouard Waintrop, Director of the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival and director of Cinémas du Grütli in Geneva, and Klaus Rasmussen, head of sales and acquisitions for German company Global Screen, one of the most important world film sales agencies in Europe. Christian Jungen, head of the Cultural column of NZZ am Sonntag, also presented his vision regarding the success Swiss cinema should be garnering in Switzerland and abroad. A vision passionately discussed by the Swiss professionals attending, who offered counter-observations arising from their practical experience and goals already achieved.
Among the many participants in the various work-groups, the directors of the festivals of Solothurn, Zurich, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Nyon, Freiburg and Hamburg stood out, in addition to European distributors, producers, representatives of institutions and funding funds, as well as international sales companies such as The Match Factory, Doc&Film, Loco, Cinephil and Beta. Each working group delved into a specific theme. At the end of the debates, the following reflections and proposals were formulated:
After its launch at the Locarno Festival, the Connect to Reality initiative will continue on 2 October at the Zurich Film Festival and on 7 November at the Geneva International Film Festival. In Zurich, issues concerning production will be the focus of debates, while creative challenges will be addressed in Geneva. The common goal of these three conferences is to bring about the necessary reforms for increasing the presence of Swiss films in cinemas in Switzerland and abroad and at international festivals, significantly and sustainably.
The Connect to Reality Locarno initiative Is financed by the Federal Office of Culture’s MEDIA compensation measures and promoted by the SSA (Swiss Society of Authors) and by the Suissimage cooperative.