×

Zurich Film Festival Co-Founders to Step Down

After 15 years of leading the Zurich Film Festival, co-founders Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri will step down from their posts in 2020, with veteran film journalist Christian Jungen set to take over Spoerri’s role as artistic director.

“It is our wish that in the long term we can transfer operational management to other hands,” Schildknecht and Spoerri said in a joint statement Thursday. “We’re looking forward to working with the new management on a strategic level as board members and advisors to the festival from 2020 onwards.”

Jungen, the chief cultural editor at the German-language Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, will join the festival’s programming team in May to ensure a smooth transition to his full curation of the fest next year. Jungen has a PhD in film studies and 25 years of experience as a critic. He was president of the Swiss Assn. of Film Journalists from 2011 to 2017 and a member of the Zurich Film Commission from 2013 to 2018. He is also the author of two books, “Hollywood in Cannes” and the biography “Moritz de Hadeln – Mister Film Festival.”

Spoerri praised his successor’s “comprehensive track record and extensive experience,” adding that Jungen was “very well-connected in the industry.”

Viviana Vezzani, who worked over a decade as senior programmer for the festival, will also be stepping down from her operational role at the end of the year. She will however remain on as a senior advisor to support Jungen and the new team.

A search for a new commercial management team has begun. Schildknecht is currently responsible for the business side of the festival and matters related to finance, events, sponsoring and marketing, but has begun the search for who will replace her by January 2020.

Founded in 2005, the Zurich Film Festival will run this year from Sept. 26 to Oct. 6. Its lineup will be announced Sept. 12.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    'Ad Astra' Lifts Above Competition at International Box Office With $26 Million

    Though “Ad Astra” was overthrown by the Crawley family at the domestic box office, Brad Pitt’s astronaut drama reigned supreme at the international box office. Directed by James Gray, “Ad Astra” launched overseas with $26 million from 44 foreign markets. The $80 million sci-fi epic debuted in North America with $19.2 million, bringing global box [...]

  • hugh jackman tiff bad education

    Toronto's Biggest Deal Goes to HBO: A Sign of the Future? (Column)

    When it comes to how we’ll be watching movies — or, at least, watching serious dramas for adults — in the future, here are two stark and timely contradictory facts: 1. Last week, as the Toronto International Film Festival drew to a close, a deal that had been in the rumor stage for a while [...]

  • 'Talking About Trees' Helmer Suhaib Gasmelbari

    'Talking About Trees' Director Suhaib Gasmelbari Receives Variety MENA Award

    Suhaib Gasmelbari, whose Sudanese documentary “Talking About Trees” premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section, received the Variety Middle East and North Africa Region Talent Award Saturday at the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt from festival director Intishal Al Timimi. Variety critic Jay Weissberg, who selected the honoree, said that it is not usual that [...]

  • Josefina-Molina

    Josefina Molina: Still Battling After All These Years

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — She isn’t done yet. The battling character of Josefina Molina, winner of Spain’s 2019 National Cinematography Prize, was glimpsed in her acceptance speech at the San Sebastian Festival on Saturday. She used part to thank those who had given crucial help, such as, among women, editors Nieves Martin (1981’s “Función de Noche,” [...]

  • Suro

    Lastor, ‘The Endless Trench’s’ Irusoin, Malmo Team for Mikel Gurrea’s ‘Suro’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Barcelona-based Lastor Media and Malmo Pictures have teamed with San Sebastian’s Irusoin to produce “Suro” (The Cork), the feature debut of Mikel Gurrea and a product of San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak program. The film stars Laia Costa, who broke through with Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria” and also serves as executive producer, and Pol López [...]

  • Ane

    Madrid’s ECAM Incubator Develops Terrorism Drama 'Ane'

    SAN SEBASTIAN — For the second year in a row, the ECAM Madrid Film School has paired a number of up-and-coming filmmakers with various industry veterans for an Incubator program part of the school broader development arm called The Screen. For its initial edition in 2018, this Incubator selected five feature projects, putting the selected [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content