The Migros Cultural Percentage Story Lab is writing future film history. The development project is supporting the development of ideas for movies, series, virtual reality, games and much more. 224 projects were submitted this spring - 13 ideas are now being supported. In this interview, Nadine Adler Spiegel, the project leader, explains how long it takes for a project of this nature to make it to the screen - and gives a first sneak peek at the topics.
Migros Culture Percentage is an important funder of the Swiss filmmaking scene.
Why has the funding been consolidated into a new format?
In the last ten years we have continuously developed the promotion of ideas for feature films . From the high level of demand and what key stakeholders in the sector were saying, we could see, how effective support in the early development of the material can be. As financial support is often offered only at the production stage, ideas development doesn't get the breathing room it needs. Nevertheless, we sense that the sector is keen to experiment. With Story Lab we are anticipating this development.
What does this funding mean for the scene?
It creates the space people need to experiment and try out things. In that way, we improve not only the content but also the exchange of ideas between individual players from inside and outside the sector.
We sense that the sector is keen to experiment. With Story Lab we are anticipating this development.
Nadine Adler Spiegel, Director Story Lab
The first call for submissions took place in April. What sort of response did you get?
We found that we really can bridge a gap in the funding landscape here - we were overwhelmed by the response. The 224 submissions greatly surpassed our expectations. I am particularly pleased that we received some really bold and innovative applications covering every format: for digital mini-series, documentaries, cross-media projects every bit as much as for feature films.
In order to take account of the problems of unconscious bias, the submissions were anonymised for the jury. Did it work?
Yes, it worked remarkably well. The 13 projects selected cover ideas from people already established in the sector as well as from newcomers; and from women as well as men. The creatives were very appreciative of the process. The feedback to date has been nothing but positive. I could well believe that anonymising the judging procedure in the development phase will catch on in Switzerland and other funding institutions will adopt it too.
So, what are the audio-visual experiences that will be coming our way - and when?
It takes between two and five years to develop an idea through to production. And a project can change substantially during this time. But the spread of topics we have currently in development is fantastic: from living on an Alpine farm to European space travel; from the history of Zurich's drug scene to a replay of Churchill's Zurich address in virtual reality. In addition, the programme includes some very pressing, highly topical issues: female sexuality freed from taboos, how to deal with the refugee crisis, coping with everyday life as a severely disabled person and the experience of being a homosexual in a Muslim family. I am already looking forward to discovering all these projects on the big - or small - screen; and to being transported by these immersive, cross-media stories.
Migros has a long tradition of film sponsorship:
Its founder, Gottlieb Duttweiler, took a stake in Praesens Film AG back in 1943 - and since 1965 the Migros Culture Percentage has taken a systematic yet innovative approach to supporting domestic film-making. And now, in 2021, a new chapter is starting in film sponsorship: the Migros Culture Percentage Story Lab.
Photo / Stage: Story Lab, Cyrille Drevon © Maskarade Productions