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.