Latest news — from the FSE Newsletter
November 2001

News from Switzerland
by Patrick Claudet

«AZZURRO» wins a prize in Germany
Already a winner of the Prize of the Swiss Cinema, the writer-director Denis Rabaglia, member of the "Association suisse des auteurs et réalisateurs" (ASAS), recently received the Grand Prize of the Schwerin Film Festival, in Germany, for his movie "AZZURRO". In addition, last August Rabaglia's film passed a total of 100 000 viewers in Switzerland. This "Swiss-French record", the first since Francis Reusser's Derborence (1986), is mainly due to the German-speaking audience, which accounts for 85% of the total audience (10% in Swiss-French Switzerland and 5% in Swiss-Italian Tessin).

Swiss-French scriptwriters and artists mobilise themselves
Following the allocation of casino concessions to private companies in French-speaking Switzerland, Michel Bühler, member of ASAS, and Frederic Gonseth, wrote a open letter and asked Swiss-French artists to sign it. The text expresses support for the "Romande des Jeux", a non-profit-making public company bringing together the six Latin cantons and the "Loterie romande", which had planned to invest the proceeds from casinos in public and cultural projects. About sixty artists from French-speaking Switzerland signed this letter, which will be sent to the Federal Council, whose decision was described by Michel Bühler and Frederic Gonseth as dangerous for cultural diversity in this part of the country.

Swiss proposition to the WTO
Within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, Switzerland last June made a highly proposal that was highly criticised, in particular by France. How was this proposal defined? Marc Wehrlin, head of the Movie Section of the Federal office for the culture. said: "We think the position of France, which defended the concept of cultural exception, will not be taken into account by the EU negotiators. On the contrary, we believe that the question of audiovisual liberalisation will be raised. When the WTO met last June in Geneva, Switzerland declared: "If we want to start talking about audiovisual liberalisation, we should beforehand know if the WTO is ready to adopt rules for the protection of cultural diversity in the field of the public utility ... Switzerland did not want to give its assent to start talking about liberalisation. Our proposal is clear: it's only an invitation to dialogue." Marc Wehrlin was quoted in Ciné-Bulletin, the Swiss magazine for audiovisual professionals.

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