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INDUSTRY Switzerland

The last leg of Connect to Reality unspools at the Geneva Film Festival


- The GIFF hosted the third and final session of the Connect to Reality project, a platform for discussions on the future of the audiovisual industry in Switzerland

The last leg of Connect to Reality unspools at the Geneva Film Festival
(© Stella Falcoz)

After the Locarno Film Festival and the Zurich Film Festival, it was the GIFF’s turn to become an arena where auteurs, directors, producers and representatives of Swiss film-industry organisations – but also international guests – could come together to discuss the following topic: what are the strengths and weaknesses of the system for nurturing independent Swiss creation? Many of the participants in Connect to Reality underlined the importance of the initiative, although they would like the discussions to take place in a “calmer” and more constructive atmosphere in future.

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The GIFF kicked things off with a debate about creation, led by Swiss director-screenwriter Jacob Berger, Indian filmmaker Sanal Kumar Sasidharan and French-Polish producer Maria Blicharska. Those present stressed how important it was to find a more flexible funding model that would allow the creativity of the audiovisual sector to be completely unleashed.

Some interesting food for thought was thrown up by the various different discussions and round-tables. In terms of training, most of the guests in attendance were not in favour of the proposal to create a large national film school, but nevertheless, they would like to encourage a greater degree of mobility among the various schools that offer Bachelor’s qualifications. They also expressed their hope that a national Master’s degree could be created, with suitable specialisations for all professions in the audiovisual sector. Furthermore, students should be more in touch with reality through internships and direct relationships with producers.

With regard to the topic of continuity, three “problems” arose: the lack of any distinction when it comes to funding new blood and those professionals who have already been “broken in”, the often strained relationships between auteurs and producers, and the lack of specialised screenwriters on the ground in Switzerland. Various suggestions were made in order to tackle these problems. The suggestion that met with the most success was based on the introduction of a kind of “slate funding” for auteurs, founded on the European model, which would allow them to develop at least three projects at the same time in conjunction with one or more producers. 

The participants in this third stage of Connect to Reality also hoped for the introduction of an automatic form of support for audiovisual projects that have already secured the support of major players in the fields of production and circulation. From this point of view, it could also be useful to create a “UFO track” system to foster new formats and projects that wander off the beaten track, but also a “fast track” system, based on the Canadian model, which would allow filmmakers – especially fledgling ones – to shoot a film with minimal resources but a lot faster, enabling them to take some real risks from an artistic point of view. 

(Translated from Italian)

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