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A successful start at Zurich Film Festival’s with Lila, Lila

The Zurich Film Festival is off to a wonderful start! Attracting prominent national and international guests from the fields of politics, business and the entertainment industry, the dazzling opening night will be followed by ten jam-packed days of cinematic highlights. Fifty films will be screened, most of them in the presence of their directors, who will then be available to answer questions from the audience immediately after the premieres. Evening side events at the Seefeld-Razzia, Valzer Bar and the Mascotte will offer visitors the opportunity to discuss the films further in a more relaxed atmosphere.

The festival opened with the world premiere of Lila, Lila, Alain Gsponer’s screen adaptation of Martin Suter’s bestselling novel of the same name. The film’s director, actors Daniel Brühl and Hannah Herzsprung and producers Marcus Welke, Sebastian Zühr, Henning Ferber and Andreas Fallscheer all attended the premiere. The enthusiastic response of the guests, which included Jean-Frédéic Jauslin and Nicolas Bideau from the film industry, the politicians Doris Fiala and Mario Fehr, as well as countless directors, actors and actresses, all confirmed the world premiere of this comedy as the ideal choice for opening film. The story of the complications faced by David Kern (Daniel Brühl), whose supposed debut novel Lila, Lila storms the bestseller lists, thoroughly entertained the audience.

This German-Swiss co-production emphasizes the fact that German-language cinema has moved to the foreground at this year’s Zurich Film Festival: in the coming days, films from Switzerland, Germany and Austria will fight it out for the Golden Eye, and with it the title of Best Film in the German-Language Feature Film Competition series.

Nadja Schildknecht used the festival’s 5th anniversary to look back on its early days and the difficulties it had to overcome to continue to inspire film audiences in Zurich today. Her closing words were: “There is nothing better than sitting in a full house with an audience enthralled by the on-screen story unwinding before them. Spellbound, one follows events, laughs, cries and rejoices – in short, one becomes a part of it.”

Artistic director Karl Spoerri stressed that the festival has also grown content-wise, as regards the represented genres and the geopolitical coverage. “Difficult times result in creative films” he said, “and that really stands out at this festival.”

In her opening speech, mayor Corinne Mauch declared that the festival is now past its teething stage and well on its way to finding its place in the European and international film landscape.

Three International Feature Film Competition jury members attended the Opening Night in Zurich: three-time Oscar® nominated actress Debra Winger; Randal Kleiser, director of cult films like Grease; and screenwriter Dale Launer amused themselves thoroughly at the opening film event and the subsequent party at Zurich Bellevue’s Globus restaurant.

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Chatelin Bruno
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