The annual Solothurn Film Festival has opened with the first film being the eagerly-awaited animation Max & Co, the most expensive Swiss production ever.
In his welcoming speech, festival director Ivo Kummer called for domestic films to be given more money, at a time of increasing tension over which direction Swiss cinema should go.
The event, which runs until Sunday, includes 300 films, of which 114 are Swiss premieres. Documentaries have been given particular weight this year. Around 44,000 visitors are expected.
Kummer said that film funding should be across the board in Switzerland and pointed to the success of domestic output last year – with six per cent market share, the second best result in 30 years.
However, the federal authorities favour giving money to bigger projects that are likely to go down well with the public.
In his speech, Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin called for more optimism and appealed for an end to a dispute between the Kummer and the head of the film section at the Federal Culture Office.
Solothurn is the largest domestic film festival and is also the platform for the Swiss film awards which will be awarded on Wednesday.
In compliance with the JTI standards