Swiss fest unveils lineup, revamps to meet rising demand

Tate Taylor’s hit “The Help,” Steve McQueen’s “Shame” and Robert Redford starrer “Moneyball” are among the high-profile selections screening at the Zurich Film Festival, which runs Sept. 22-Oct. 2.

The lineup, announced Thursday, comprises 96 films from around the globe, including 10 world premieres and many of this year’s most anticipated movies.

Andrea Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights,” Gus Van Sant’s “Restless” and David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” also unspool, as do George Clooney’s “The Ides of March,” Oren Moverman’s “Rampart” and Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia.”

Additional screeners include Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” Andreas Dresen’s “Stopped on Track” (an Un Certain Regard winner at Cannes) and Swiss helmer Rolf Lyssy’s documentary “Ursula — Leben in Anderswo,” about a disabled woman and her career.

Expanding its collaboration with Doctors Without Borders, Zurich is partnering with the org on the inauguration of the Border Line sidebar, which will consist of two feature documentary films and six short films. The section is dedicated to films that focus on humanitarian principles and people in crisis. Panel discussions on such issues as forgotten crises, abuses occurring beyond headlines and the diversion of humanitarian aid for political interests will follow screenings.The fest has also added a new German-language documentary film competition category, which ups the number of competition sections to four and highlights the focus on new German-language cinema. Eight films will screen in the new sidebar.

The fest has made significant changes this year to accommodate rising demand. Increased attendance has resulted in 10 theater venues, up from seven last year. In addition, organizers have moved the Festival Center to Sechselaeutenplatz to allow for an expansion and greater traffic.

Zurich’s famed Opera House will be used for the first time — providing the setting for the fest’s award night. A new Night Lounge will also be open to festgoers this year.

Swiss film production will again be in the spotlight with a record seven local films screening in Zurich. World premieres include Anita Blumer’s “Alles eis ding” and Samuel Schwarz and Julian Gruenthal’s love story “Mary and Johnny.”

This year’s New World View section will focus on Turkish pics with seven feature films and documentaries from the past two years.

Unspooling in the Documentary Film Competition are Andri Hinnen and Stefan Muggli’s “Unter wasser atmen” (Breathing Underwater) and Nick Brandestini’s “Darwin,” about a small Californian town. Thomas Imbach’s self portrait, “Day Is Done,” will screen as a gala premiere, while Ulrich Grossenbacher’s “Messies, ein schoenes chaos” (A Glorious Mess), winner of Critics’ Week in Locarno, will receive a special screening.

“The Help” will close this year fest. As previously announced, Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” will open the event.

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