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Curtain comes down on unloved “Mr Cinema”

Nicolas Bideau, the controversial head of films at the Federal Culture Office, will take over at Presence Switzerland, the foreign ministry’s image agency has said.

Bideau, whose father is a successful film actor in Switzerland and France, will start his new job at the beginning of 2011. He has been in charge of Swiss cinema since 2005.

Rolf Schmid, president of the Swiss Film Producers’ Association, said 40-year-old Bideau had tried to be dynamic but was leaving behind a “right mess”.

“When he started, the market share of Swiss films in Switzerland was 11 per cent. Now it’s three per cent,” said award-winning Swiss director Lionel Baier, accusing Bideau of having used the position to serve his own personal ambition.

Ivo Kummer, director of the Solothurn Film Festival, said what the industry needed now was “an achiever – someone who works for the film branch and not vice versa”.

Kummer added that one of Bideau’s main ideas – supporting so-called “locomotive” films that would pull the rest of the Swiss film industry – had been a failure. The misconceived animation film Max & Co, for example, had cost SFr30 million ($27 million) but sold only 30,000 tickets.

At Presence Switzerland, Bideau replaces Johannes Matyassy, who is becoming Swiss ambassador to Argentina. and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR