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Embargo till September 14, at 9.30 am CET

Jessica Chastain, Ethan Hawke, Diane Kruger, Todd Haynes and Peter Doherty at ZFF                    

Zurich, September 14, 2023

Glamorous guests are set to dazzle the public at the 19th Zurich Film Festival (Sept. 28 - Oct 8): Jessica Chastain and Diane Kruger receive accolades for their outstanding career achievements, and master director Todd Haynes is honoured by the ZFF with its A Tribute to ... Award. Swiss cinema also gets the ZFF's Green Carpet treatment. This year's programme includes 148 films with a record 52 world and European premieres – 14 more than last year.

A line-up like no other: Top-class stars like Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Todd Haynes, Ethan Hawke, Wim Wenders, Michael Steiner, Peter Saarsgard, Vicky Krieps, Josh O'Connor, Paula Beer, Katja Riemann, Trine Dyrholm and Peter Doherty are set to attend the ZFF to present their latest works.

 "We're delighted to be able to offer our audience a record number of world and European premieres. This high number reflects the ZFF's growing reputation in the global film industry. The Zurich Film Festival is the perfect festival to boost the prestige of films for the upcoming award season," explains Christian Jungen, Artistic Director of the ZFF. "We're particularly looking forward to welcoming three huge names in American cinema, Jessica Chastain, Ethan Hawke and Todd Haynes, who are set to attend the festival in person to present their works to the public."           

148                        Films
52                          World and European premieres
52                          First works
18                          Swiss Films
100                        Directors as guests


A Tribute to ... Todd Haynes

The 19th Zurich Film Festival honours master director Todd Haynes' extraordinary filmmaking achievements with the A Tribute to … Award. Haynes will accept the award during the Gala Premiere screening of his new film MAY DECEMBER at Zurich Convention Center on October 3, 2023. "It's a real honour to celebrate this master of American cinema. Todd Haynes is renowned for his elegant mise-en-scène and his ability to get the best from his actors and actresses," says Christian Jungen."We also have a long-standing working relationship with Todd. The outstanding drama MAY DECEMBER featuring Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman is the third film he has presented with us in the last ten years." 

Director Todd Haynes' first feature film POISON (1991) promptly won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. After SAFE (1995), which featured Julianne Moore, he conjured up David Bowie in VELVET GOLDMINE (1998), then paid homage to Douglas Sirk in FAR FROM HEAVEN (2022). In I'M NOT THERE (2006), Haynes cast six actors in the role of Bob Dylan. He directed the TV miniseries MILDRED PIERCE (2011) and then returned to feature films with CAROL (2015), WONDERSTRUCK (2017) and DARK WATERS (2019). These were followed by the documentary THE VELVET UNDERGROUND (2021). His most recent feature film MAY DECEMBER will screen at ZFF in its Gala Premieres section.

The ZFF honours filmmakers for their contribution to film history with the A Tribute to... Award Previous recipients include Paolo Sorrentino, Wim Wenders, Olivier Assayas, Claire Denis, Michael Haneke, Oliver Stone, Maïwenn and Luca Guadagnino.

Competition: Focus, Feature Film and Documentary Film

Innovative films compete at the Zurich Film Festival in three competition categories to win the main award, the Golden Eye endowed with a CHF 25'000 cash prize. The competition focuses on discovering new talent by screening only first, second or third directorial works.   

The "Focus Competition" showcases feature films and documentaries from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with this year's line-up including six world premieres. "The competition is becoming increasingly popular with our public and is also attracting ever more media attention. This year we are able to show four Swiss films as world premieres, including THE DRIVEN ONE by Piet Baumgartner, a long-term study of students at the elite university HSG St. Gallen, and the quite literally fantastic road movie RETOUR EN ALEXANDRIE by Zurich-based Tamer Ruggli, which stars Nadine Labaki and Fanny Ardant and takes us to the director's second home, Egypt."

Fourteen top-class first, second or third directorial works compete in the "Feature Film Competition" section for the Golden Eye. "The Feature Film Competition is a panorama of world cinema with surprising films from India, Saudi Arabia, Moldova and Nepal," says Christian Jungen. "Several contributions deal with the relationship between the sexes and the difficult struggle for diversity acceptance." 

In VARVARA, Moldovan filmmaker Anatol Durbală contrasts the sincerity of a simple worker with the decadent arrogance of the ruling class. Ali Kalthami's film noir MANDOOB tells in atmospheric images of the vibrant and rarely shown ultra-modern nightlife of the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh. FAIR PLAY by Chloe Domont is a psychological thriller about a modern relationship based on a seemingly equal footing that suddenly develops cracks – a European premiere.

Curious views of our lives: The Zurich Film Festival's "Documentary Film Competition" presents brand-new works by today's most exciting documentary filmmakers. "The films in this competition shine a spotlight on burning social issues like democracy coming under fire and people fleeing danger. Our films are not about people, but with people, telling their stories at eye level," says Christian Jungen.       

A STORM FORETOLD paints an intimate portrait of Roger Stone, Donald Trump's dazzling advisor. Director Christopher Guldbrandsen had access to the populist firebrand between 2018 and 2021. The film QUEENDOM by director Agniia Galdanova offers insight into the harsh climate of Putin's Russia, which lacks any tolerance for artists and freedom-loving people who don't conform to the government's ideal.

Swiss films

Swiss cinema also takes a leading role in the programme. "The ZFF takes place in Zurich, where three quarters of Swiss distributors and production companies are based. It's natural for us, therefore, to offer Swiss productions our far-reaching stage and get those films on everyone's lips," says Christian Jungen. "It's a particularly special honour to be showcasing Michael Steiner's Langstrasse thriller EARLY BIRDS and Thomas Thümena's Salvation Army documentary HIMMEL ÜBER ZÜRICH, two powerful Zurich films that are guaranteed to get people talking."

EARLY BIRDS and HIMMEL ÜBER ZÜRICH have their world premieres at ZFF. Also screening as a world premiere is the SRF series DAVOS 1917 by Jan-Eric Mack, Anca Miruna Lăzărescu and Christian Theede. Set against the breath-taking mountain backdrop of the Grisons, this spy thriller unfolds a politically explosive chapter in Swiss history. ZFF shows the first two episodes of SRF's biggest series production to date. A total of 18 Swiss productions are represented in various sections.

New Co-Partnership from 2024 with the Glatt Shopping Centre

We are delighted to announce that the Glatt Shopping Centre, a popular shopping mall with more than nine million visitors annually, will support us as a new co-partner from 2024 onwards. Jennifer Somm, Managing Director Spoundation Motion Picture AG: "The Glatt Shopping Centre's attraction lies in its implementation of innovative ideas and activations. With its supra-regional community, Glatt Shopping Centre will increase the reach of ZFF and make our publicly accessible festival known to new target groups. We are therefore very much looking forward to the upcoming collaboration and future joint projects." The Glatt Shopping Centre is renowned for bringing new brands to Switzerland (first LEGO store in Switzerland, first H&M Home store, MUJI, Xiaomi, etc). Rageth Clavadetscher, General Manager of Glatt Shopping Centre: "We are excited to be working with ZFF and already have some ideas on how to surprise moviegoers at Glatt during the festival. The Zurich Film Festival is one of the city's most important major events and we look forward to working together in partnership to bring our great communities together."

Media kit

The entire programme will be posted on the ZFF website at 12 noon on September 14. Further information about the programme and the individual sections, the side events programme, the Masters sessions, all awards, exciting facts & figures about the ZFF, the new cinema Frame, the Festival Centre, our partners and all other information and contact details can be found in our media kit.

The 19th Zurich Film Festival runs from September 28 until October 8, 2023. Tickets go on sale Monday, September 18 at 12 noon on the ZFF website and at the two advance ticket sales booths at the Festival Centre on Sechseläutenplatz and at Paradeplatz. 

Zurich Film Festival

The Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) is the second largest 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

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