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Soderbergh’s ‘Contagion’ to open Zurich fest

Laurence Fishburne named jury prexy

BERLIN — Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” will open the Zurich Film Festival on Sept. 22, with co-star Laurence Fishburne on hand to serve as international jury prexy.

The action-thriller, which also stars Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Bryan Cranston, centers on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to deal with the outbreak.

The Warner Bros. release was produced by Soderbergh, Gregory Jacobs, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher from a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns.

The fest will also honor Fishburne with a special achievement award for his work, which includes “The Matrix” trilogy, “Mystic River,” “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and the upcoming “Man of Steel.”

Also serving on the international jury are U.S. producer John Lesher; Beki Probst, head of Berlin’s European Film Market; Danish multi-hyphenate Paprika Steen (“Applause”), British thesp Alice Eve (“The Raven”) and Serbian writer-director Stevan Arsenijevic (“Love and Other Crimes”).

On the fest’s international documentary jury will be: multi-hyphenate Charles Ferguson (“Inside Job”); U.K. producer John Battsek (“Project Nim,” “The Tillman Story”); Georgian filmmaker Nino Kirtadze (“Durakovo: Village of Fools”); Dutch director Eline Flipse (“Our Newspaper”); and U.S. producer Stephen Nemeth (“Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story”).

Entering its seventh year, the fest, which wraps Oct. 2, has become a marquee European event, showcasing a diverse array of international films, many from up-and-coming filmmakers. – — Ed Meza

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