Ticino Film Commission
17.05.2023 . Financial Incentives

A positive first year for the Mendrisio and Airolo regional funds

A wide range of international, Swiss and Ticino productions with considerable economic impact on the region

Filming in Mendrisio of the graduation short film "Nina" produced by CISA and Ventura Film.

International television series, Swiss fiction feature films, web series or even Ticino diploma films: the list of productions shot in our region that were able to benefit from the support of the Mendrisio Film Fund and the Airolo Film Fund in 2022 is a varied one. One year after their establishment, the results of the two regional economic incentive funds for audiovisual production, coordinated and promoted by the Ticino Film Commission, are positive. Together, the productions supported by the two funds - allocated CHF 30,000 and CHF 20,000 per year, respectively, and fully utilised during 2022 - have generated economic impacts on the territory totalling CHF 175,000.


The funds created by the City of Mendrisio and the Municipality of Airolo were presented between December 2021 and May 2022. Both were developed as part of a long-term project of financial incentives conceived by the Ticino Film Commission for the economic promotion of the region through film and audiovisual production in Ticino. In practice, the funds offer production companies a reimbursement of part of the actual expenses incurred with companies, services and professionals based in the territory of the two localities, thus providing an incentive for production, investment and the use of the region's companies and services. After an initial estimate of the expenses that the production company will incur in the municipality during filming and post-production, the Ticino Film Commission allocates a credit equal to a maximum of 30% of the eligible expenses. The funding is confirmed and paid to the production companies upon completion of the work, against receipt of the actual costs incurred.


Overall, in 2022, the Mendrisio Film Fund was able to finance five projects by disbursing the allocated CHF 30,000. These productions generated direct economic returns of 105,000 francs. For every franc invested through the fund, 3.5 francs were spent within the Mendrisio region, a ratio that demonstrates the multiplier effect of investments in the field of audiovisual production on the local economy.


"The start is promising," commented Mendrisio's Deputy Mayor Francesca Luisoni, "and we are moving in the desired direction. Already after less than a year we can affirm that the Mendrisio Film Fund is an effective instrument for promoting our region and supporting film culture, which - as the data presented shows - generates important local economic spin-offs".


A wide variety of projects were filmed in the Mendrisio area, which, in addition to locations that are by no means taken for granted, involved the participation of local entities from on-set catering to editing. These ranged from the diploma short film produced by CISA and Ventura Film, 'Nina' by Chiara Toffoletto, set in part at the former Pompeiana swimming pool in Arzo and presented last January at the Solothurn Film Days, to the TV series about an international streamer, co-produced by the Italian production company Cattleya. Attracted by the Mendrisio Film Fund, this production, which was set for a week's filming in Lugano city centre in September, in fact filmed one day in the Mendrisio area.


The same international production also benefited from the Airolo Film Fund by filming some scenes at the top of the Gotthard Pass. The series, which will be broadcast worldwide and about which nothing more can be revealed at the moment, brought a crew of over one hundred people to the region.


Zurich director Peter Luisi also arrived on the Gotthard. He chose to shoot some scenes of his new comedy 'Bon Schuur Ticino' there, accompanied by a crew of about 50 people. The performers included the well-known Swiss cabaret artist Beat Schlatter, the Romansh actor and satirist Vincent Kucholl and the Ticino actress, singer and dancer Catherine Pagani, making her debut as a leading lady. Several Ticino professionals worked on the set and many local inhabitants were able to experience a day of filming as extras.


In the web comedy 'Fait Club' by Ticino-born Ivan De Maria, co-produced by RSI, Leventina finally saw an important cinematic comeback, that of a much-loved actor Teco Celio, who was born and raised in the valley.


'This first experience with the Airolo Film Fund,' emphasises Airolo's town councillor Luca Medici, 'has proved to be largely positive. Not only did it generate economic returns that were significantly higher than the amount invested, but it also helped to show that Leventina can be a set for productions of varying sizes, including those that have the potential to convey the image of our region worldwide.


The Airolo Film Fund has thus fully utilised its annual CHF 20,000 in less than a year since its inception. The three projects supported in 2022 had a direct economic impact (certified regional expenditure) in excess of CHF 70,000. In the case of the Leventina fund, 3.5 francs were spent in the area for every franc invested. The expenses incurred stem directly from the filming work on location and consist mainly of accommodation and board costs, as well as the rental of space or local transport services.


The Bak Economics study commissioned by the canton in 2020 on the economic impact of culture in Ticino, which specifically analysed the impact of cultural events, estimated that every franc of public subsidy generated 2.58 francs of added value in the region. The initial results of the Mendrisio Film Fund and the Airolo Film Fund suggest that cultural production can also do as much or even more.


Already in its first year of existence, this important and fruitful collaboration with the Municipality of Airolo and the City of Mendrisio has made it possible to increase the impact of the audiovisual industry in the Mendrisiotto and Leventina districts, supporting local professionals and the local economy. It is a region that, notes Ticino Film Commission director Niccolò Castelli, "has once again proved itself capable of welcoming both large international productions, bringing work and investment to the region's creatives and technicians, as well as providing already established Swiss and Ticino writers with solid support, also stimulating and nurturing the creativity of young people from Italian-speaking Switzerland committed to becoming tomorrow's protagonists in the filmmaking industry".

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