Money-hungry streaming services want to ruthlessly rob our country by thwarting the new Swiss film law with shoddy tricks. Lex Netflix will catapult Switzerland to the film-making Olympus. At least that’s what director Michael Steiner claims.
The story is striking: Streaming providers like Netflix, Sky, Disney and Amazon Prime hired young, corrupt Swiss politicians to repeal the movie law we vote on on May 15. Because according to this, companies will have to hand over 4 percent of the sales they generate in Switzerland to the country in the future.
All or nothing for the live broadcasting industry. The same applies to our film industry: it urgently needs 4 percent in order to please the world with a series of “Made in Switzerland” films and series and to make Hollywood just a supporting actor.
Rogue youth parties
This is a dissertation by Swiss director Michael Steiner on “Nebelspalter” (for a fee). Steiner builds this like a thriller movie script. Then there are the good guys: these are the hungry Swiss filmmakers on whom the fate of the entire country depends. There are the bad guys: devious, harmless-looking bad guys in the form of young politicians are just straw men in the hands of the greedy swarming lobby. And, as in every good story, there is a small glimmer of hope for a happy ending.
In side scenes from Steiner’s amazing screenplay, he shows us how cool it would be if the good guys won. Streaming services have already been brought to their knees in Spain, Italy and France, and now the movie industry is booming there thanks to taxes. Switzerland is now also on the cusp of that breakthrough – but only if the bad guys don’t win.
Money does not make success
So far the Michael Steiner story. Of course, due to the novel, he omitted some details and limped on others. He wrote that the streaming service providers really wanted to “steal” Switzerland. The public would have to be very generous to believe that: the Swiss mini market is the key to success for global giants like Netflix or Disney?
Steiner also ignores the fact that Swiss film is already subsidized by more than 100 million Swiss francs per year – without any significant impact. The most successful Swiss film, “Die Schweizermacher”, dates back to 1978. To put it simply, the rest of the world does not pay attention to our film industry. Which is hardly due to lack of money.
The screenwriter is also entangled in the logic of his recent work (which, by the way, we gave the title of the work Goliath’s plot with Switzerland as David). Line by line, he cares about the enthusiasm with which broadcasters have already begun to make European productions and that it is in their best interest to do so in order to attract a local audience. According to Steiner, Switzerland is almost destined for international production due to its lavish background.
Why Swiss’s broadcast show business isn’t already a success today in light of such an excellent starting position and broad government support and why the 4 percent sales tax should change something: the thriller’s plot is silent about it. It was also not mentioned that the main alleged pro-sales tax witnesses – France, Italy and Spain – unlike us, have a large and well-running film industry for decades.
Trust the nose of the professionals
Evidence for the thesis scenario is a bit shaky. Author Michael Steiner frequently cites the Spanish Netflix series “The Money Heist” (originally: “Casa de Papel”) as proof that sales taxes work great. You have to know: The Conscious series was originally produced by the announcer “Antina 3” and was about to be sealed after the first season. Then Netflix became familiar with the production, continued on, and eventually was discovered by a large audience around the world.
Is success due to compulsory taxation in Spain? or any share? No, but the fact that the series is excellent from a dramatic point of view and that Netflix has a nose for proper material. Live broadcasters like to invest in promising materials, and they do so quite voluntarily. A good example is the Swiss series “Tschugger”, a co-production of Sky and SRF. The American company was willing to realize Swiss production, but wanted to get involved. Thank goodness, because SRF alone or funding our films wouldn’t have run something like this.
Because that’s the most important point: Michael Steiner’s “Lex Netflix” script doesn’t mention what happens next with the blessed 4 percent of sales supposed to go to Switzerland. Do not bring Netflix and Co. Money in bags to promising Swiss filmmakers so they can make a great production. It flows into our national cultural bureaucracy, which then decides which ideas to invest. In other words, for people who, by their choice, can hardly satisfy the taste of the public, both at home and internationally. If we said yes to the movie law, we would simply get more money afterwards, but we still didn’t plan how to use it properly.
In general, successful film director Michael Steiner forgot an important ground rule for scenarios in his later works. Even if fiction has always required a certain amount of drama, the story still has to be at least halfway reliable and understandable. The story of American broadcasting services that want to get us, the fairy tale of small pay-per-parties and the tale of a thriving movie scene that will emerge in Switzerland thanks to “Lex Netflix”: the plot for even an unrepentant audience full of holes
The movie based on this text may be compressed directly to a DVD. This is hardly enough for the cinema. Not even in Switzerland.