×
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

  • Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Honored

    Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Named Honorary Argentine Academy Members

    BUENOS AIRES — In a ceremony just before Friday’s prize announcements at Ventana Sur, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, were named honorary members of Argentina’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in a new move for the Academy, out through by its new president, Bernardo [...]

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Soars Toward $35-40 Million Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is swinging into theaters on a high note. Sony-Marvel’s latest output is launching to $42 million from 3,813 North American locations in its debut, though other more conservative estimates place that number at $35.5 million. The animated superhero story picked up $12.6 million on Friday, easily leading the pack for the weekend. [...]

  • Ventana Sur : Cinema226 Closes Four

    Cinema226 Announces Four Intl. Co-Productions, Hints at More (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker [...]

  • Ventana Sur Debates Gender Parity in

    Ventana Sur Debates Gender’s 50/50 in 2020 for Argentina Film Industry

    BUENOS AIRES — Despite recent gains, namely the equality pledge towards 50/50-2020 signed at the Mar del Plata Film Festival on Nov. 12, producer Magalí Nieva, pointed out that no representative from INCAA was present following the apparent resignation of its vice-president Fernando Juan Lima. “We are left without an interlocutor to discuss gender policies [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content