The Federal Office for Culture, one of the major Swiss film funders, recently added several specialised children’s film festivals to its list that serves every year as the basis for the national performance-based funding scheme ‘Succès Festival’. Among them are two well-known ECFA members, Cinekid and the Zlín Int’l Film Festival. Never before had a children’s film festival been included on that market-leading list.
“Ensuring young audiences’ access to film culture is one of the priorities of the Federal Office for Culture. Young audience films produced in Switzerland are well received both domestically and internationally, but are rarely selected by non-specialised international festivals”, explains Ivo Kummer, head of the Office’s film section. “By including specialised festivals on the Succès Festival list, the Federal Office acknowledges the artistic value of films catering to young audiences”.
John Wäfler, co-founder of the Zoomz film festival, member of both ECFA and the Swiss Kinderfilm Working Group, that advocated for the inclusion of youth film festivals on the Succès Festival list, says that “this inclusion of festivals might seem like a small step, but is proof of the increasing recognition given to children’s films among film funders on an official level.” In Wäfler’s view, these festivals are not yet getting the rightful attention within the Swiss film industry’s exploitation strategies. “I hope that the new festival list makes the Swiss film industry more aware of the potential of such events, not only those that have now made it onto the list, but also all the other great festivals dedicated to children’s films.”