The Cinémathèque suisse is the main national institution collecting and preserving most of the film and audiovisual production in Switzerland. Its main mission is to preserve and restore its vast collections. It also works to promote this rich heritage throughout Switzerland and internationally.
In addition to the numerous screenings organised in its cinemas or at festivals, the Cinémathèque suisse works in partnership with various cultural or academic institutions in order to increase the visibility of Switzerland's film heritage, thus contributing to its visibility and influence.
The Cinémathèque suisse currently has a staff of around 100. It is based on three separate sites : the research and archiving centres in Penthaz (VD) and Zurich, as well as the Casino de Montbenon in Lausanne, the capital of Vaud, which houses its administrative centre and screening rooms and is also monitoring the renovation of the Capitole, which will become the House of Cinema in 2024.
Established on 3 November 1948 as a nonprofit organisation, the Cinémathèque suisse became a private foundation of public utility in 1981. Today, it is supported by the Swiss Confederation, the Canton of Vaud and the City of Lausanne, on the basis of various multi-year service contracts. It is also supported by the Loterie Romande, the City of Zurich, the University of Zurich as well as numerous foundations, institutions and associations including Memoriav, a partner in the heritage film restoration programmes.
The Foundation Board, chaired since 2016 by Jean Studer, is the institution's governing body. Headed by Frédéric Maire since 2009, the Cinémathèque suisse comprises eight departments: Film, Non-Film, Programming, Outreach, Administration and Finance, Communication and Marketing, IT and Digital, Infrastructures and Logistics, and Human Resources. Their heads make up, together with the director, the Governing Board.