×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Zurich Film Fest: Swiss mix of int’l pix

Filmmakers from all over the globe help nuture fest

Zurich Film Festival fest topper Karl Spoerri says the event, now cruising into its sixth year, began small but has grown steadily over the years, both in terms of lineup and audience.

“You can say that the Zurich Film Festival has gradually established itself in the international film sector,” Spoerri comments. “We’re especially proud of the fact that we managed that without any major public support.”

Opening the fest is a Swiss film that almost didn’t see the light of day: Michael Steiner’s “Sennentuntschi,” based on the Pygmalion-like Alpine fable about a female mannequin created by lonely herdsmen. She comes to life and seeks revenge for the misdeeds committed against her.

Steiner had finished filming the pic in 2008, but he was unable to complete production after additional financing fell through, leading to the near financial collapse of his Zurich-based shingle Kontraproduktion.

The project was ultimately saved by Bernhard Burgener, chief exec of German conglom Constantin Medien and subsidiary Constantin Film, which established a new Swiss division earlier this year.

As part of the rescue package, Constantin took over Kontraproduktion and signed Steiner to a long-term contract to oversee at least four films for the company.

Spoerri predicts “Sennentuntschi,” which Disney Switzerland is releasing domestically, will be one of this year’s most-talked-about titles.

The fest’s international competition has become a showcase for works from young filmmakers competing for the Golden Eye award.

This year’s 13 contenders include David Pinillos’ romantic comedy “Bon Appetit,” Karl Golden’s British drama “Pelican Blood” (about an obsessive and troubled young birdwatcher), Michael Noer and Tobias Lindholm’s “R” (a gritty Danish drama about a young man trying to survive imprisonment) and “Lily Sometimes,” Fabienne Berthaud’s drama starring Diane Kruger and Ludivine Sagnier as very different sisters dealing with their mother’s death.

Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” closes the fest on Oct. 3. Stone and producer Edward Pressman will attend the German-language premiere.

Since its launch in 2005, the Zurich Film Festival has sought to offer a platform for a new generation of young German filmmakers.

Fest programmer Lars Wiebe says this year, German competition showcases the works of “a bold generation that champions risk” such as Cihan Inan’s Swiss title “180°,” about a shooting rampage and its impact, and Florian Cossen’s “The Day I Wasn’t Born,” which follows a German woman who discovers she was adopted in Argentina during the military dictatorship.

Elisabeth Scharang’s Austrian drama “In Another Lifetime” centers on a group of Jewish prisoners who find themselves in an Austrian village towards the end of WWII and end up performing the beloved operetta “Wiener Blut” for the locals despite facing a wave of anti-Semitism, while Michael Schaerer’s “Stationspiraten” revolves around a group of young cancer patients learning to deal with their illness in Switzerland.

Also unspooling is more light-hearted fare like Tomasz Thomson’s hitman laffer “Snowman’s Land,” Ralf Westhoff’s relationship comedy “Der letzte schoene Herbsttag,” Barbara Kulcsar’s “The Two of Us” (about a Swiss couple whose romantic getaway results in a marriage crisis) and Sebastian Stern’s comedy “The Bumblebee,” about a middle-aged cosmetics salesman desperate to change his life.

— Ed Meza

More Film

  • Alita Battle Angel

    Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel,' 'Lego Movie 2' to Lead President's Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” is holding a slim lead ahead of “Lego Movie 2’s” second frame with an estimated four-day take of $29.1 million from 3,790 North American locations. “Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” meanwhile, is heading for about $25 million for a domestic tally of around $66 million. The two films lead the pack [...]

  • Marianne Rendon, Matt Smith, Ondi Timoner

    Robert Mapplethorpe Biopic Team Talks 'Fast and Furious' Filming

    Thursday night’s New York premiere of the Matt Smith-led biopic “Mapplethorpe” took place at Cinépolis Chelsea, just steps from the Chelsea Hotel where the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe once lived — but director Ondi Timoner had no sense of that legacy when she first encountered him in a very different context. “When I was ten [...]

  • Bruno GanzSwiss Film Award in Geneva,

    Bruno Ganz, Star of 'Downfall' and 'Wings of Desire,' Dies at 77

    Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor best known for dramatizing Adolf Hitler’s final days in 2004’s “Downfall,” has died. He was 77. Ganz died at his home in Zurich on Friday, his representatives told media outlets. The cause of death was reportedly colon cancer. In addition to delivering one of the definitive cinematic portrayals of Hitler, [...]

  • Steve Bannon appears in The Brink

    Sundance Film Review: Stephen K. Bannon in 'The Brink'

    Stephen K. Bannon drinks Kombucha (who knew?), the fermented tea beverage for health fanatics that tastes like…well, if they ever invented a soft drink called Germs, that’s what Kombucha tastes like. In “The Brink,” Alison Klayman’s fly-on-the-wall, rise-and-fall-and-rise-of-a-white-nationalist documentary, Bannon explains that he likes Kombucha because it gives him a lift; he drinks it for [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Oscar OScars Placeholder

    Cinematographers Praise Academy Reversal: 'We Thank You for Your Show of Respect'

    Cinematographers who fought the decision to curtail four Oscar presentations have praised the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for reversing the exclusions. “We thank you for your show of respect for the hard-working members of the film community, whose dedication and exceptional talents deserve the public recognition this reversal now allows them to enjoy,” [...]

  • Peter Parker and Miles Morales in

    'Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse' Colored Outside the Lines

    The well-worn superhero genre and one of its best-known icons are unlikely vehicles for creating a visually fresh animated feature. But Sony Pictures Animation’s work on the Oscar-nominated animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” shows throwing out the rule book and letting everyone play in the creative sandbox can pay off big. “I think we [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content