SWAN is a non-profit association which aims for gender equality and diversity in the Swiss audiovisual industry. Founded in 2018, it counts a growing number of members from all backgrounds and levels of experience and gathers meaningful players as well as a myriad of volunteers who work hard to achieve an equal and inclusive audiovisual realm.
SWAN web directory hosts a comprehensive listing of women professionals in and from Switzerland, of all trades in audiovisual, gaming and other screen-based media. SWAN connects industry professional and upcoming talents through a wide national and international network.
SWAN brings women working in the audiovisual field together and give them opportunities to meet at networking events in festivals or markets, nationally and internationally.
SWAN advocates for the role and position of Swiss women in the industry and is dedicated to advancing professional development and achievement.
In 2015, ARF/FDS, Cinésuisse and FOCAL released a study on Swiss film funding called The gender question: Facts and figures on financial support in the Swiss film industry. The study was initiated by Gabriel Baur, former vice-president of FERA – Federation of European Film Directors (2010-2014), Ursula Häberlin, former general secretary of ARF-FDS – Swiss Filmmakers and Writers Association (2013-2018) and Nicole Schroeder of FOCAL. It was conducted mainly by Ursula Häberlin, Nicole Schroeder and Cinéforom’s head of additional funding Matthias Bürcher. The study findings showed that female directors, screenwriters and producers were significantly disadvantaged in receiving public film funds in Switzerland.
In response, a gender taskforce was created to discuss further activities and publish our study in a brochure. The founding members were Gabriel Baur, Matthias Bürcher, Ursula Häberlin, Stéphane Mitchell, Nicole Schroeder, Carmen Stadler, Eva Vitija, Britta Rindelaub, quickly joined by Laura Kaehr and Christine Loriol, with the support of Rachel Schmid, EWA ambassador and Eurimages representative (2012-2019). The taskforce decided to form a Swiss network for women in the audiovisual industry welcoming Nicole Schroeder’s idea to name it SWAN – in the spirit of EWA, the European Women’s Audiovisual Network.
SWAN Facebook Group was launched in January 2016. It grew quickly and reached 500 followers within two days. Today, that number is over 1’700. Feed updates are made daily and users can comment and post news, information and job offers.
SWAN Association was founded two and a half years later, in June 2018, by Gabriel Baur (Co-president), Laura Kaehr (Co-president), Stéphane Mitchell (Co-president), Julia Tal (Treasurer), Anke Beining-Wellhausen (Executive Committee member), Ana Castañosa (Executive Committee member), Reta Guetg (Executive Committee co-opted member), Anaïs Voirol (Executive Committee co-opted member), Christine Loriol (Advisory Council member), Nicole Schroeder (SWAN Core Group member), Ursula Haeberlin (SWAN Core Group member), Carmen Stadler (SWAN Core Group member), Elisa Garbar (Commission member), Marie-Eve Musy (Commission member), Salome Horber and Matthias Bürcher.
SWAN would like to thank its two initial supporters ARF/FDS – Swiss Film Directors and Writers Association and FOCAL – Foundation for professional training in cinema and audiovisual media.
Please browse our website to find out more about SWAN’s actions!
SWAN is part of a larger movement in Europe in which EWA and FERA have played a significant role. In 2013, these two organizations conducted a vast data study under the supervision of the European Audiovisual Observatory and with the help of peers from France, Sweden and Germany and representatives of WFTV, showing that European female directors were still not making the cut in the 21st century. These alarming results were introduced at an international panel during the 2014 Cannes Film Festival edition in front of 400 guests and received huge media coverage.
Following this successful event, FERA and EWA and other collectives started calling to action and change, triggering similar initiatives in other countries, including Switzerland. Equality and diversity issues are now global concerns involving various movements that are connected and supported in a growing network in Europe and the rest of the world. Until now, SWAN has remained close to its sister organizations to share strategies, advice and good practices and find synergies to broaden the network.
In 2020, SWAN was a speaker at a historic round table regrouping more than 55 organisations from 25 countries organized by ProQuote Film during the Berlinale and a featured guest of the Short Film Conference in Clermont Film Festival.