Finance experts to meet at Zurich fest

DeVito to accept award for ailing Michael Douglas

Berlin– Danny DeVito will accept the Golden Icon kudo on behalf of Michael Douglas at the Zurich festival in October. The Zurich fest, running Sept. 25-Oct. 3, will also host Switzerland’s first Film Finance Forum next month.

Douglas, who had previously agreed to accept in person, decided not to travel after learning he has throat cancer. DeVito will do the honors on the fest’s closing day Oct. 3. Last year’s recipient, Roman Polanski, was arrested by Swiss authorities on 30-year-old U.S. sex charges when he arrived at the fest. But Swiss authorities decided nearly a year later not to extradite the helmer to Los Angeles and to free him from house arrest.

Among the leading industry and finance experts attending the event at Zurich’s Hotel Dolder Grand on Sept. 25, are Bernhard Burgener, chief exec of Constantin Medien; CAA’s Roeg Sutherland; Alexis Garcia of WME Global; Judith Chan, senior manager Coutts and Co.; Icon U.K. CEO Stewart Till; and Marc Gabizon, managing director of Wild Bunch Germany.

Discussions will focus on film financing and economic trends in the international film sector. Organizers said the event’s main objective was to establish the most important industry meeting for film financing in the German-speaking world, as well as to highlight the potential of Switzerland as a location for the international film industry.

The annual Film Finance Forum has taken place in Los Angeles, New York and at the Cannes Film Festival. It is aimed at potential investors, film industry promoters, producers and worldwide distributors, as well as consultants such as legal experts, insurance agents and investment advisers.

Sponsored by entertainment financing group Magnet Media, the forum is organized by marketing and event production agency Winston Baker and Thomas Sterchi’s Swiss film shingle Millbrook Pictures, in association with the Zurich fest and media partner Variety. Zurich Film Festival director Karl Spoerri also serves as Millbrook’s managing director.

(Shalini Dore in Hollywood contributed to this report.)

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