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Swiss actor Burak Ates is the campaign face of the 19th ZFF
© Lea Meienberger for Zurich Film Festival

The ZFF shows masculinity in all its facets

Zurich, june 8, 2023

The 19th Zurich Film Festival (Sept. 28-Oct. 8, 2023) addresses #Masculinity in its Hashtag section. It focuses on the role of men as they perform a balancing act between traditional role models and new responsibilities. Fittingly, Swiss actor Burak Ates is the campaign face on the new festival poster. The up-and-coming talent made his debut at ZFF three years ago in the film BEYTO.

The line between traditional gender roles is becoming increasingly blurred, and what would have led to outrage a few years ago is now part of everyday life in the public sphere: men with painted fingernails, men wearing feminine clothing, men in pearl necklaces. While big names like Harry Styles, Jared Leto and Timothée Chalamet champion these tendencies, thus ensuring their popularity among younger audiences in particular, films like TOP GUN: MAVERICK with Tom Cruise and TICKET TO PARADISE with George Clooney, which fall back on traditional images of masculinity, enjoy equally great success.

"There is a real cultural battle raging around masculinity at the moment, as evidenced by the inflationary use of the term 'toxic masculinity', for example" says Artistic Director Christian Jungen, "we are screening around a dozen films that highlight wildly different types of masculinity with the aim of stimulating a debate about the role and self-image of men in the 21st century." The discussion about masculinity is one of the hottest topics of our time. At the 19th Zurich Film Festival, we will present a selection of films in the Hashtag #Masculinity section that highlight this area of conflict and stimulate discussions about what defines men today. 

Appropriately, our key visual features Burak Ates, a 28-year-old Swiss actor from Solothurn. Ates played the lead role in the film BEYTO, which premiered at Zurich Film Festival 2020. With him, we are sending out a signal about how important we regard the promotion of young talent and staging him on our key visual to match our Hashtag #Masculinity section – with painted nails, jewellery and a riot of bright colours.

Ates has had a deep connection with the festival since his first visit to the ZFF in 2020 and is delighted that he will be seen all over Zurich as its latest campaign face. "It's a very nice feeling," he says, "it all started at ZFF three years ago – and now to be able to be part of it again, especially as its campaign face, is insane. Thank you so much."

He says he dreamed of becoming an actor at a young age, and a lot has happened since then: "BEYTO and my appearance at ZFF were a turning point in my life. Since then, I've put everything into acting," says Ates. Which was anything but easy for him, as the 28-year-old recounts. Just like his first big role Beyto, who has to break free of conservative family relationships in order to stand by his homosexuality, Ates also had to choose between two worlds: that of a traditional career or that of an actor.   

The fact that Ates' decision to dedicate himself to acting was made not least thanks to ZFF is something we're extremely proud of. "Promoting young talent is close to our hearts" says Christian Jungen, "Moreover, courage and belief in someone or something is often the beginning of the most beautiful stories. Who would have thought in 2007 that our then unknown guest Eddie Redmayne would return to ZFF 15 years later as an Oscar-winning actor?"  When he accepted the Golden Eye Award in 2022, he thanked the festival for the attention we gave him all those years ago during his then still very young career. 

And this is one reason why we are delighted that Burak Ates accepted our invitation to become the face of this year's ZFF campaign. Another is because, as a young man, he walks the tightrope between the traditional image of men and questioning that very image. "I like knitting a lot, for example," answers Ates in an interview with us when asked what about him could be read as not typically male. A good candidate, then, to draw attention to the Hashtag section of this year's ZFF at tram stations, in showcases and on large-format façade posters from mid-September.

Zurich Film Festival

The Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) is the second largest film festival in the German-speaking world. Over 11 days in autumn, it presents the greatest discoveries and the year’s most anticipated movies. The ZFF promotes exchange between upcoming directors, established filmmakers, the film industry and the general public. Last year's ZFF attracted over 137,000 spectators and thousands of accredited film and media professionals from all over the world.

The 19th edition takes place from September 28 until October 8, 2023

 More information | About ZFF Industry

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Making-of: To the Video

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Zurich Film Festival
Alessandro Monsurrò, Head of Marketing and Media
[email protected], + 41 78 745 13 71

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