×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Zurich Festival’s Summit Spotlights Family Films, Streaming Revolution

The Zurich Summit has, over the years, become a major industry gathering at the film festival, attracting Hollywood players and entertainment business reps from both sides of the Atlantic.

Running Sept. 28-29 at the palatial Dolder Grand Hotel, the summit focuses on current business trends and the pertinent issues and challenges facing the industry. This year’s hot topics include the streaming war, the growing demand for local-language films and the global prospects of family entertainment.

Launched in 2014, the Zurich Summit grew out of the fest’s Film Finance Forum with an expanded scope that covered technological developments including augmented and virtual reality and business areas such as marketing and distribution.

“For us, it’s a great thing because we always get great speakers,” says Zurich Film Festival co-director Karl Spoerri While Zurich can’t compete with Cannes or Toronto, the festival and summit nevertheless offer a high level of quality that is enhanced by its relaxed atmosphere, Spoerri notes. “I think you can get more out of it.”

In addition to being an ideal networking and knowledge-exchange event, the summit is a great marketing platform for the festival, he adds. “We can present the festival to people who have not attended before or had a film here, but who come to speak — they can experience the festival first-hand.”

This year’s speakers include former Lionsgate co-chair and head of Picture Perfect Entertainment Patrick Wachsberger; Roeg Sutherland, head of CAA’s film finance & sales group; CAA media finance agents Maren Olson and Sarah Schweitzman; and UTA Independent Film Group agent Alex Brunner.

Also on hand will be Ollie Madden, head of creative at the U.K.’s Film4; Danish producer and M&M Prods. co-founder Kim Magnusson; German producer and head of Amusement Park Film Malte Grunert; and Jean-Yves Roubin of Belgium’s Frakas Prods.

Richard Phelan and Will Becher, co-directors of Aardman Animations’ “A Shaun the Sheep Movie:Farmageddon,” will likewise take part to discuss the importance of family entertainment.

High on the agenda will be the radical transformation of the film and TV industry.

“Netflix, Amazon, Apple and, soon, Disney Plus are all altering the viewing habits of audiences,” Spoerrie says. “This brings new opportunities for producers and talent who are willing to break with tradition.”

The summit will examine the unprecedented opportunities these changes are presenting for producers and filmmakers, particularly in the Swiss market.

Large parts of Switzerland’s local industry have yet to discover those opportunities, Spoerri adds, noting that the country’s Federal Office of Culture, the Zurich Film Foundation and pubcaster SRF remain the main sources of financing for Swiss producers.

“We want to convey to the industry that there are other ways to bring these stories to the big or small screens. It is important to look outside the box. Every time I speak to industry executives, the topic of local-language productions is raised. It’s currently one of the biggest trends in the film industry.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Ayesha Curry and Stephen Curry attends

    Ayesha Curry Honored With Variety's Vivant Tastemaker Award at Napa Valley Film Festival

    The rooftop bar at the tony Archer Hotel in the heart of downtown Napa made a stunning backdrop for Variety’s Vivant party on Nov. 13. Vivant was launched at the Napa Valley Film Festival, which opened Nov. 13 with “Just Mercy.”  Variety executive VP of content Steven Gaydos introduced Variety Vivant Tastemaker honoree Ayesha Curry [...]

  • Dwayne Johnson

    Dwayne Johnson's 'Black Adam' Movie Sets Release Date

    Dwayne Johnson’s long-in-development “Black Adam” movie is slated to hit theaters just in time for the holidays. The New Line Cinema film film will debut on Dec. 22, 2021, five days after the release of James Cameron’s long-gestating “Avatar” sequel. Johnson has been attached to play the anti-hero for most of this decade. Jaume Collet-Serra, [...]

  • Sponge on the Run Trailer

    SpongeBob SquarePants Meets Keanu Reeves in 'Sponge on the Run' Trailer

    Millennials and Gen-Zers, say goodbye to the David Hasselhoff “SpongeBob” cameos of your childhood. According to the “Sponge on the Run” trailer, Keanu Reeves, or rather his floating head, will make an appearance in the upcoming film premiering May 22, 2020. The latest film in the SpongeBob franchise follows the yellow sponged hero and his [...]

  • CineAsia Conference Canceled Due to Hong

    CineAsia Conference Scrubbed Due to Hong Kong Protests

    Film Expo Group has scrubbed next month’s CineAsia conference hosted in Hong Kong, citing escalating violence in the city. “Due to the escalating violence and on-going anti-government protesting we felt it was in the best interest of all concerned to cancel the convention,” said Robert Sunshine, chairman of the Film Expo Group in a statement [...]

  • Margot Robbie Big Ticket Podcast

    Margot Robbie Was 'Pretty Rattled' After Reading the 'Bombshell' Script for the First Time

    Margot Robbie took to Twitter to prepare for her role as a conservative news producer and aspiring broadcast journalist for Fox News in “Bombshell.” “Understanding her upbringing and her point of view on politics in the world, that really took me a minute,” Robbie says on today’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content