To be eligible for public funding, a film coproduced between Switzerland and another country must be officially recognized as a Swiss film. The following rules apply:
An independent Swiss film producer must be chosen as partner, who will then apply for public funds.
Bilateral coproduction agreements exist with Germany, Austria, Canada, France, Belgium and Italy. With the exception of Canada, these agreements only cover films produced for theatrical exhibition. Switzerland is a member of the European convention for coproductions and by this multilateral convention is linked to many more European countries. In most cases, the minimal Swiss participation required varies between 10% and 30%. If no coproduction agreement is applicable – as is the case for the USA, for instance – the minimal Swiss participation is 50%.
The artistic and technical participation (which includes the hiring of Swiss technicians, assistants and actors) must be proportional to the Swiss financial participation. This condition also applies to postproduction. Since there are no fixed criteria for the evaluation of the percentage, decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Once theses conditions have been met, the Swiss coproducer can acquire the official agreement from the Swiss Federal Office of Culture.
Films officially recognized as Swiss coproductions have access to the public film funding of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture.
Selective public funding sees an independent expert committee choose and propose film projects for production subsidies. The maximum subsidy per film is currently 1 million Swiss Francs and cannot exceed 50% of the production costs (Swiss part).
Succès cinéma is a funding program based on a film’s success. For each ticket bought in a Swiss cinema, the Swiss screen writer, director, producer, distributor and cinema owner gets a bonus which must be reinvested in their next film project.
Other funding programs include the annual competition for the Swiss Film Prize, as well as subsidies for the release of a film or for its participation in an international film festival.