Switzerland offers an additional 20 per cent tax incentive to shoot in its Alpine pastures while facilities to shoot remain uncomplicated as before
Switzerland has always been shown as the ideal romantic location in Hindi films. Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is also one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It has borders with France to the west, Italy to the south, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east and Germany to the north.
With an extraordinary abundance of natural locales and interesting places, the country poses an admirable example of unity in diversity as it has varied religions, cultures, languages and a multi-ethnic society.
The Indian film industry shares a special relationship with Switzerland, having conducted virtually countless shoots at the country’s Alpine pastures, tranquil lakes and delightful towns and cities to convey an idyllic location for romance, happiness and serenity.
Internationally acclaimed for its Alpine landscape, Switzerland also offers a miscellany of other locations, from lakeshore scenery to quintessential villages via the cobblestone streets of medieval towns. Situated in Central Europe, it is predominantly a mountainous country and enjoys its landlocked position by being in the very centre of the Alps and thus in the centre of Europe itself.
Furthermore, thanks to its temperate continental climate, the country provides a wide range of possible weather types, allowing filmmakers to shoot all year round. Although Switzerland may not be a new location in the directory of Indian production houses, there are still many locations in the country unexplored with Geneva and Zurich as the main production centres.
WHY FILM IN SWITZERLAND?
Filming permissions are easy to obtain in Switzerland and Film Location Switzerland negotiates with local authorities on your behalf. Unlike many other European countries, Switzerland has a very open approach to filming in public areas, on streets or on highways.
While Switzerland is tiny in comparison to some other countries, the diversity of its locations is amazing. Thanks to an efficient network of airports, rail tracks and roads, you can get from one location to another in record time.
Labour costs in Switzerland are similar to those in neighbouring countries but Swiss legislation allows longer working hours, which means tighter production schedules. In addition, Switzerland is blessed with a highly stable political environment (strike losses are virtually unheard of) and moderate levels of taxation.
Highly Qualified Professionals
Audiovisual professionals in Switzerland are talented and conscientious. They have a positive attitude and are very motivated.
Record Of European History
Examples of the passing centuries are to be found in Switzerland’s villages and towns, from its medieval fortresses to the urban architecture of the technological age. As the world’s third-largest financial centre, Switzerland is also famous for its banks, its luxurious hotels and for the many international institutions to which it plays host.
Switzerland has launched a new film incentive programme for co-productions that shoot on location in the country. Called the Switzerland Film Investment Refund (PICS), the scheme allows co-productions to claim back between 20 per cent and 40 per cent on all eligible local expenditures, with a per-project cap of CHF600,000. The scheme was announced at this year’s Locarno Film Festival for Swiss co-producers. The programme has an annual fund of just under $3million.
To access the incentive, productions must have a budget of at least CHF2.5 million and incur a minimum local spend of CHF500,000 over a period of five or more filming days. PICS can also be combined with other established methods of funding.
International co-productions have previously only had access to subsidies in the amount of up to CHF1 million per project. This figure has been raised to 50 per cent for countries without pre-existing agreements. PICS is now in operation and has an overall allocated fund of CHF3 million, going up to CHF6 million from 2017 onwards.
CO-PRODUCING WITH SWITZERLAND
To be eligible for public funding, a film coproduced between Switzerland and another country must be officially recognised 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 co-production, and by this multilateral convention, it is linked to many more European countries. In most cases, the minimum Swiss participation required varies between 10 per cent and 30 per cent. If no co-production agreement is applicable – as is the case for the US, for instance – the minimum Swiss participation is 50 per cent.
Artistic and technical participation (which includes the hiring of Swiss technicians, assistants and actors) must be proportionate 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 these conditions have been met, the Swiss co-producer can acquire the official agreement from the Swiss Federal Office of Culture.