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Zurich, October 7, 2023

This evening, the main awards of the 19th Zurich Film Festival's competition will be presented at Zurich Opera House. Endowed with 25'000 Swiss francs, the Golden Eye in the Focus Competition goes to the doc HOLLYWOODGATE by Ibrahim Nash'at, the Turkish drama HESITATION WOUND by Selman Nacar wins the Feature Film Competition, and IN THE REARVIEW by Maciek Hamala triumphs in the Documentary Film Competition. The festival continues until Sunday evening.

 ©Pascal Bovey 

At the heart of the festival lies the three-part competition, which offers a stage each year to up-coming filmmakers. The ZFF presents films by promising filmmakers, who compete in the once-yearly competition with their first, second or third directorial works for the main prizes: the Golden Eyes, each endowed with a 20'000 Swiss franc cash prize. All competition films are either world, European or Swiss premieres. In addition to these three main categories, numerous other prizes are awarded, including the ZFF Childrens' Jury Award and the Audience Award.    

"The aim of the ZFF competition is to discover new directorial talent and make their work known to a broader audience", explained Christian Jungen, Artistic Director of the ZFF. "Our programming team is delighted with the list of winners, which includes films that have their fingers firmly on the pulse of our time and offer insight into the harsh realities in Afghanistan, Turkey and the Ukraine. We're certain that these films have a very bright international future."

The following is a list of all the winning films of the 19th ZFF:

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Focus Competition – HOLLYWOODGATE by Ibrahim Nash’at
The focus in this category is on films from Switzerland, Germany and Austria. HOLLYWOODGATE by Ibrahim Nash'at is honoured with the Golden Eye this year.

Jury statement:
HOLLYWOODGATE is the portrait of two Taliban military men, the head of the Taliban airforce and a lieutenant. The director Ibrahim Nash’at flew into Afghanistan risking his life two days after the US it’s allies evacuated the country. In succeeding to win the trust of his two main subjects and following them around for one year, he exposes a shocking world that is otherwise inaccessible. As an audience it is a privilege to become first hand witnesses to the process of the Taliban establishing their regime. Despite the restrictions placed upon him Ibrahim Nash’at, also manages to inform us about the world he wasn’t allowed to catch on camera and what this regime means to the whole country, especially women and girls.

Special Mention:
LAISSEZ-MOI by Maxime Rappaz

Malte Grunert (jury president) / producer / Germany
Gabriella Tana / producer / Great Britain
Katrin Renz / producer / Germany
Heike Parplies / film editor / Belgium
Sven Schelker / actor / Switzerland

Feature Film Competition – HESITATION WOUND by Selman Nacar
Feature films from around the globe compete in this category for the Golden Eye. HESITATION WOUND by Selman is the ZFF 2019 winner. 

Jury statement:
"The Film is set in Turkey. Moral issues are a frequent underlying theme in many films but the dilemma facing the main character in this film, a female lawyer, is really strongly felt here. The actor Tülin Özen is wonderful as the lawyer. We loved the strength of her character dealing with weary home and family issues as well as with work ethics in this patriarchal society. It is wonderful to observe, and it feels realistic. Her last minute attempt to bribe the judge with her mother’s organs makes her very human even though it is of course not correct. We applaud the hint of criticism of the Turkish religious society that we feel is well expressed and done with humour. It’s a film that stayed with the majority of the jury throughout the festival, and even though it was a fight with 2 other contenders, it shone thru to become our favorite film screened at the festival. Selman Nacar, thank you so much for this delicious film you gave us; the film making, the acting and the sets are all wonderful and worthy of mentioning. Hopefully we see more films from your hand.”

Special Mention:
LA RAVISSEMENT by Iris Kaltenbäck and STOLEN by Karan Tejpal

Anton Corbijn (jury president) / director & photographer / Netherlands
Finola Dwyer / producer / New Zealand
Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre / director / France
Juho Kuosmanen / director & screenwriter / Finland
Bryce Nielsen / producer & VFX consultant / New Zealand

Documentary Film Competition – IN THE REARVIEW by Maciek Hamela
14 eye-opening films compete in the Documentary Film Competition for the Golden Eye. This year's winner is IN THE REARVIEW by Maciek Hamela. 

Jury statement:
The jury chose a film that, using a minimalistic and immersive style, bears witness to the unbridled excesses of war. A prosaic world, underscored by catastrophe, is expressed through cinematic emotion, without ever becoming overly sentimental.

Special Mention:
QUEENDOM by Agniia Galdanova

Feras Fayyad (jury president) / director, producer & author / Syria
Monica Lazurean-Gorgan / producer & documentary filmmaker / Romania
Claudio Cea / film editor & producer / Switzerland, Italy
Crystal Moselle / director / USA
Shaunak Sen / filmmaker & film scholar / India

Further award-winners at the 19th Zurich Film Festival are:

Emerging Swiss Talent Award (Critics' Prize) – LAS TORERAS by Jackie Brutsche

Jury statement:
The Critics' Jury is very happy to give the ‘Emerging Swiss Talent Award’ to a film that insists on the importance of art as a vessel for understanding and healing. But not only that. In the hands of the director art and cinema really becomes an existential act. The film deals with mental illness and fragile or even toxic family relations, investigation the story of the director’s mother who took her own life. By challenging the cinematic conventions, brilliantly mixing several artistic approaches with conventional documentary film making, the director constantly keeps us on our toes and delivers a moving and original film about memory and the power of storytelling.  

Hanns-Georg Rodek / film critic / Germany
Nataliia Serebriakova / film critic / Ukraine, Germany
Nanna Frank Rasmussen / film critic, journalist / Denmark

ZFF for Kids Jury Award – DANCING QUEEN by Aurora Gossé
Audience Award – QUEENDOM by Agniia Galdanova
Film Prize of the Churches of Zurich – LAS TORERAS by Jackie Brutsche

Best International Film Music – Elliot Murphy

Jury statement:
As jury president of the 11th International Film Music Competition, Volker Bertelmann presented Elliot Murphy with the 10,000 CHF-endowed Golden Eye for Best International Film Music. The 5-member jury explained its decision: "His music gives the film an additional identity that is very much its own without overwhelming the visual, making you wish you couldn't see the film without the music."


Volker Bertelmann (jury president) / composer, musician / Germany
Frank Strobel / conductor / Germany
Mark Bächle / composer / Switzerland
Sophie Linnenbaum / director / Germany
Gabrielle Selnet / animator / France

The following honorary awards were given during the 19th ZFF:

A Tribute to ... Award – Todd Haynes
The American master director Todd Haynes received the coveted A Tribute to... Award for his extraordinary filmmaking achievements. He accepted the honorary award during the Gala Premiere of his latest film MAY DECEMBER on October 3, 2023 at Zurich Convention Center.

Golden Icon Award – Jessica Chastain
The impressive actress accepted the Golden Icon Award on October 1, 2023 at Zurich Convention Center. The accolade is presented to personalities whose acting achievements have left a lasting mark on the world of cinema, propelling them to icons of the seventh art. She presented her latest film MEMORY by Michel Franco on the same evening.  

Career Achievement Award – Volker Bertelmann
Presented to celebrated filmmakers whose work has shaped and enriched the film landscape, this honorary award went this year to Volker Bertelmann. He accepted the award during the "Cinema in Concert" gala event on September 30, 2023 at the Tonhalle Zurich.

Career Achievement Award – Michel Merkt
The Swiss producer Michel Merkt received the Career Achievement Award for his services to auteur cinema on September 30, 2023 at the Arthouse Le Paris cinema. He also presented his latest film as a producer: PASSAGES by Ira Sachs 

Golden Eye Award – Diane Kruger
Diane Kruger was honoured with the Golden Icon Award for her outstanding acting skills and her invariably courageous choice of roles on October 2, 2023 at Zurich Convention Center. She also presented her latest film VISIONS by Yann Gozlan.

Golden Eye Award – Mads Mikkelsen
The ZFF honoured Mads Mikkelsen for his outstanding career on October 6, 2023 at the Zurich Convention Center. He also presented his Danish frontier western THE PROMISED LAND by Nikolaj Arcel.

Game Changer Award – Fred Kogel
This year, the LEONINE boss Fred Kogel received the Game Changer Award for his significant achievements within the film industry. He accepted the award on October 1, 2023 during the Zurich Summit industry conference.

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

 More information | About ZFF Industry

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