Swiss animation cinema, a booming art

Although most Swiss animation films are short films, more than 700 since the 1920s, we have often pointed out the lack of Swiss fiction films (14 animated fiction films have been produced in Switzerland since 1988, according to FSO figures).

The success of Ma vie de Courgette, released in 2016, changed the situation. This enabled Swiss animation cinema to become visible to the public on the one hand and to show Swiss producers and politicians on the other that it is possible to make successful feature films.

Animation production studios (the main ones are Nadasdy Film, Studio GDS, YK Animation Studio, Cine3D and TeamTumult) have experienced a real boom in recent years. Likewise, several schools offer animation training, such as the HSLU in Lucerne, FOCAL, ECAL and Ceruleum in Lausanne or even HEAD in Geneva.


But finding the means to make an animated film that is also a feature film remains complicated. It must be said that the production costs an average of 30,000 francs per minute and that it takes years of work to be able to produce such a film from start to finish.

The most important Swiss contributors are the Federal Office of Culture, the SSR and its business units as well as regional structures – such as the Cinéforom in western Switzerland. The recent revision of the Cinema Act, which obliges streaming platforms to invest in Swiss productions, is of course good news. But given the sizeable budgets, international co-productions are now the norm.

The poster for “Red Jungle”, a joint cartoon by Juan José Lozano & Zoltan Horvath. [Intermezzo Films, Dolce Vita Films – RTS, Nadasdy Film, Tchack – Aluma productions, Sacrebleu productions]Several feature films in production

In addition to the already mentioned feature film by Claude Barras (“Sauvages!”) and the medium-length film by the Guillaume brothers (“Sur le pont”), several major projects are in development or production.

This is how “Red Jungle” presented itself at the Annecy Festival this year and its theatrical release is planned for September. A story set in the Colombian jungle, where the world’s oldest communist guerrilla is spending her final moments.

>> To see: the trailer for the film “Red Jungle” by Juan José Lozano and Zoltán Horváth

French-Swiss animated film co-directed by Juan Lozano and Zoltán Horváth, the film was shot in a studio in a suburb of Geneva.

>> To listen: a report on the shooting of the film made in January 2022 (emission “Vertigo”)

Dizziness – Posted on January 7th, 2020

Also in Annecy, the Swiss Isabelle Favez is presenting in the competition “Giuseppe”, a 26-minute film about a little hedgehog who dreams of seeing snow. A retrospective presented during the festival makes it possible to discover the work of the Zurich-based Swiss artist. As a director of several short films for children, in particular “Marine Circuit” (2003) and “Apple Pie” (2006), she has received awards at numerous international festivals.

The Ticino Marcel Barelli is also entitled to a retrospective in Annecy. Born in 1985, the HEAD Geneva graduate has always had a passion for animals and nature, which are the focus of his projects. He was awarded the Swiss Film Prize 2022 for his short film “In der Natur”. His next animated film is a feature film entitled Mary Anning, a tribute to the British paleontologist. She was one of Britain’s most influential scholars of the 19th century.

movie poster Poster for the film “Dogs and Italians Forbidden” by Alain Ughetto. [Gebeka Films]Other Swiss feature films ready for release: “Forbidden to dogs and Italians” by Alain Ughetto, presented in competition in Annecy and scheduled for theatrical release in early 2023, and “Yuku and the Himalayan flower” directed by Rémi Durin and Arnaud Demuynck, also shown during the French festival.

Swiss animation cinema is alive. The last example “Do not feed the pigeons”, diploma thesis by Lausanne-based Antonin Niclass, a 30-year-old student at the National Film & Television School in London, who was awarded the Bafta for best animated short film in March 2022, is certain Swiss successor ready.

>> To see: “Don’t feed the pigeons”

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