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Check Zurich Film Festival entire festival program

5th Zurich Film Festival: September 24 – October 4, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thirty Films in Three Competitions, Ten World Premieres and Celebrated Guests

The 5th Zurich Film Festival has announced further film highlights, introduced the three competition juries and presented the entire festival program.

Festival directors Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri and curators of the Competition Program Christine von Fragstein and Nikolaj Nikitin, announced the Competition and the Out of Competition Films the nine renowned and experienced speakers of this year’s Zurich Master Class and the jury members for the two international competitions at today’s 5th Zurich Film Festival press conference. Three-times Oscar® nominated actress Debra Winger will preside over the International Competition’s five-man jury and Director Erwin Wagenhofer, whose films We Feed the World and Let’s Make Money caused a sensation, will head the International Documentary Film Jury. He will be joined by the reputed Swiss documentary filmmaker Peter Liechti and the British producer Elizabeth Wood to decide who will win the “Golden Eye“ in this category.

In addition to the previously announced German-Speaking Feature Film Competition, a further three innovations have been unveiled: the allocating of the “Career Achievement Award“, the “Critic’s Choice Award” of the Swiss Association of Film Journalists and the Industry Day.

The aim of the German-Speaking Feature Film Competition, new to this year’s Zurich Film Festival, is to promote German, Austrian and Swiss cinematography. Although the unique films in this series are enormously varied, in essence they all focus on the same question: what is the sense of one’s life and actions? Karl Spoerri explains: „The protagonists in these eight stories are all aged between twenty and thirty years old. They have their whole lives before them yet torture themselves with those delicate and holy questions, which occupy all of us on a daily basis.“ This new serie begins with three world premieres (13 Semester by Frieder Wittich, 66/67 – Fairplay is over by Carsten Ludwig and Jan-Christoph Glaser and Der Fürsorger by Lutz Konermann), two European premieres, an international premiere and two Swiss premieres.

Films from countries like Denmark, Korea, Israel and Russia will battle it out in our International Competition (with A Blind River by An Sun-Kyong screened as a world premiere, two international, four German-Speaking and six Swiss film premieres) and the International Documentary Film Competition with its three world premieres (Buenos Días, Seguimos En Guerra by Anita Blumer, My Father. My Oncle. by Christoph Heller and The Sound After the Storm by Patrik Soergel and Ryan Fenson-Hood), two European premieres, three German-Speaking premieres and one Swiss premiere. All competition entries have German subtitles; the directors and casts will attend their respective premiere screenings.

The full programme and tickets are available now under

In addition to Alain Gsponer and the actors Hannah Herzsprung and Daniel Brühl of this year’s opening film Lila, Lila, further illustrious guests are expected in Zurich throughout the course of the Out of Competition series: Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Twelve Monkeys) will be here to present his new film and Swiss premiere The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus – with Heath Ledger in his last leading role prior to his death in 2008. Director and protagonist Gérard Jugnot (Les Choristes, Boudu) and producer Manuel Munz will present their film Rose et Noir, a comedy set in the 16th century. Oliver Hirschbiegel (Das Experiment, Der Untergang) will present Five Minutes of Heaven, a thriller about guilt, atonement and retribution. The author of Flower Desert, Waris Dirie, will be here for the German-Speaking premiere of the film adaptation of her autobiographical work bearing the same title. Last year’s jury president Peter Fonda will return to Zurich for the 40th anniversary of his cult film Easy Rider and in his role as an ambassador for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The young actors Jimi Blue and Wilson Gonzalez Ochsenknecht will likewise tread the red carpet to present their youth drama Gangs. Both Dieter Meier with his film The Lightmaker, Director’s Cut, and Christian Frei with Space Tourists will present their films as world premieres. The Zurich Film Festival will screen a total of 10 world premieres.

Michael Keaton will receive a “Career Achievement Award” for his outstanding contribution to acting and filmmaking. He will bring his directing debut The Merry Gentleman to Zurich and receive this exceptional award during the Closing Night on Saturday, October 3. The laureate of this year’s „A Tribute to… Award” Roman Polanski and receiver of the „Golden Icon Award“ Morgan Freeman were announced prior to the press conference.

The Critic’s Prize is an innovative addition to the festival and will be awarded by the Swiss Association of Film Journalists (SVFJ) to a film in the International Competition series. The prize-giving ceremony will take place in the Rüsterei on Friday, October 2, 2009. The jury consists of the following selected association members: Martin Walder, Bettina Spoerri and Nina Scheu.

The 5th Zurich Film Festival’s first Industry Day will take place on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at the Seefeld Razzia. This event is aimed at all those professionals involved in the filmmaking industry including producers, directors, authors and actors. In addition to the Zurich Film Festival’s already established Zurich Master Class and Zurich Producer’s Forum, the International Industry Day gives professionals a further opportunity to create and expand their international network.

The Juries

International Feature Film Competition Jury

Debra Winger (Jury President)_Three times Oscar® nominee Debra Winger made her feature film debut in Thank God It’s Friday. It was her stunning breakthrough performance opposite John Travolta in Urban Cowboy that then brought her to the world’s attention. She received her first Oscar® nomination for her performance opposite Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman. The second came for her funny and heartbreaking portrayal of ‘Emma’ in Terms of Endearment. She starred alongside many of the industry’s top talent including John Malkovich, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, Arliss Howard and Dennis Quaid. Winger received a Golden Globe nomination for her role in A Dangerous Woman and her third Oscar nomination for her performance in Richard Attenborough’s Shadowlands opposite Anthony Hopkins. Most recently, Winger received critical acclaim and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her pivotal role in Jonathan Demme’s drama Rachel Getting Married and recently published her debut book undiscovered, a collection of deeply personal essays reflecting on life.

Anahí Berneri_Anahí Berneri was born 1975 in Buenos Aires. She took a foothold in various sectors of the film industry after completing her film studies in Argentina and France. She won the Teddy Award at the 2005 Berlinale and the FIPRESCI Award at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival for her first feature length film A Year Without Love, for which she also wrote the screenplay. Encarnación, her second work, received the 2007 Toronto Film Festival’s Artistic Innovation Award and the San Sebastian FIPRESCI Award. Still in production, her latest film It’s All Your Fault once again sees her take the role of both director and screenplay writer.

Randal Kleiser_Randal Kleiser, born 1946 in Philadelphia, studied at the University of Southern California and received international recognition through the most successful musical film of all time: Grease (1978). This was followed by such films as The Blue Lagoon (1980), Flight of the Navigator (1986), Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992) and the film adaptation of Jack London’s novel White Fang (1991). Of particular personal significance was his AIDS themed film drama It’s My Party (1996). He won an Emmy Award for his TV film The Gathering in 1977. Made in 3D, his film Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (1994) ran for more than ten years in the Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo and Paris Disney resorts.

Dale Launer_Born in 1952, the US American Dale Launer is a director, producer and one of Hollywood’s best-paid screenplay writers. He first attracted world attention to his comedic talent with his screenplay for the film Ruthless People (1986). He celebrated his own directing debut in 1992 with the romantic comedy Love Potion No 9. He also wrote and co-produced the witty courtroom comedy My Cousin Vinny (1992), which brought Marisa Tomei an Oscar® for Best Supporting Actress. Following a long break, Launer directed, produced and wrote the screenplay for Tom’s Nu Heaven (2005), which won Best Film at the Monaco Film Festival.

Pawel Pawlikowski_Pawel Pawlikowski was born 1957 in Warsaw. He lived in Germany, Italy and England where he studied literature and philosophy. Following several prize-winning documentaries, including From Moscow to Pietushki (1990) and Serbian Epics (1992), he conquered the feature film scene with Last Resort in 2000. This drama was crowned Best Film at the Edinburgh, Thessaloniki, Gijón and Motovun Festivals and won the BAFTA Best Newcomer Award. He also won several awards with My Summer of Love (2004), which was declared Best British Film 2005 by the British Film Academy. Pawlikowski is about to begin directing a film about the early life of Stalin.

International Documentary Film Competition Jury

Erwin Wagenhofer (Jury President)_Born 1961 in Austria, Erwin Wagenhofer uses his films to highlight the world’s grievances. The German Documentary Film Award-winning and FIPRESCI Award-winning We Feed the World (2005), deals with the excesses of worldwide food production and international agricultural policy. A graduate of the Austrian Institute of Technology, Wagenhofer creates impressive images to portray the abstract flow of money in the global financial system in Let’s Make Money (2008). A lecturer at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, he is currently working on the screenplay for his drama Black – Brown – White, which tells the story of the impossible love between an Austrian trucker and an illegal African immigrant.

Peter Liechti_Peter Liechti was born 1951 in St.Gallen. He studied art history in Zurich and subsequent to graduation worked as an art teacher before entering the film industry in 1986. He now works as a freelance screenplay writer, director, producer and cameraman. His film Signers Koffer, about the artist Roman Signer, brought him international recognition and numerous festival awards. He won the Berne Film Prize for his feature film Marthas Garten (1997) and the Zurich Film Prize for his filmic essay Hans im Glück (2003). His work, within which he discretely tackles various themes and (documentary)film genres, has won numerous awards and led to retrospectives in Rotterdam, Peking, New York and Vienna.

Elizabeth Wood_ Following her studies at the New York University Graduate Film School, Elizabeth Wood spent six years in the USA working as a freelance director. She taught at the Royal College of Art’s Film and TV Department from 1991 until 1998 and produced the works of young filmmakers for various BBC programmes. From 1980 until 2002, she managed her own production company Woodfilm Productions Ltd which produced programmes for BBC2 and Channel 4. She founded the company DocHouse in 2002 with the aim of promoting independent documentary film in England. Additionally, Wood has successfully led various documentary film courses in collaboration with the Tate Modern, the London Film School and other renowned institutions.

As previously announced, Til Schweiger will head the German-Speaking Feature Film Competition, joining him will be Henning Molfenter and Niki Reiser.

The Film Series

International Feature Film Competition_The Zurich Film Festival presents the works of talented filmmakers from all regions of the world. Family is a reoccurring theme in this year’s competition entries. Nikolaj Nikitin, curator of the series writes: „Be it humorous or tragic, in Israel, the USA, Russia, Rumania, Korea, Denmark, Argentina or France it is always with fondness, affection and precision that the young filmmakers portray that which influences their lives the most: their families.“ The competition series will open with The Father of My Children by Mia Hansen-Løve on Thursday, September 24 at 18:30 in the cinema Arthouse Le Paris.
Venues and times refer to the first public screening of the films at the 5th Zurich Film Festival. The exact venue and times of screenings for the press can be found at our online press portal (

Films: A Blind River_An Sun-Kyong, South Korea, 2009 – World Premiere (Oct 1, 2009, 18:00, corso 2)
Amerrika / Amreeka_Cherien Dabis, USA/Kuwait/Canada 2009 – German-Speaking Premiere (Sept 29, 2009, 21:00, Arthouse Le Paris)
Applause / Applaus_Martin Pieter Zandvliet, Denmark 2009 – German-Speaking Premiere (Sept 24, 2009, 21.15, Arthouse Le Paris)
Giant / Gigante_Adrían Biniez, Uruguay/Germany/Argentina/Netherlands 2009 – Swiss Premiere (Sept 25, 2009, 21:00, Arthouse Le Paris)
Humpday_Lynn Shelton, USA 2009 – Swiss Premiere (Oct 1, 2009, 18.45, Arthouse Le Paris)
Katalin Varga_Peter Strickland, Rumania/Hungary/UK 2009 – Swiss Premiere (Sept 25, 2009, 18.30, Arthouse Le Paris)
Lost Islands / Lim Avudim_Reshef Levy, Israel 2008 – Swiss Premiere (Oct 1, 2009, 21:00, Arthouse Le Paris)
Mississippi Damned_Tina Mabry, USA 2009 – International Premiere (Sept 30, 2009, 18.30, corso 2)
The Father of my Children / Le père de mes enfants_Mia Hansen-Løve, France 2009 – Swiss Premiere (Sept 24, 2009, 18.30, Arthouse Le Paris)
The Last Summer of La Boyita / El Ultimo Verano de la Boyita_Julia Solomonoff, Argentina 2008 – International Premiere (Sept 26, 2009, 21:00, Arthouse Le Paris)
West of Pluto / A l’ouest de Pluton_Henry Bernadet/Myriam Verreault, Canada 2009 – Swiss Premiere (Sept 28, 2009, 18.30, corso 2)
Without Name / Sin Nombre_Cary Jôji Fukunaga, Mexico 2009 – German-Speaking Premiere (Sept 27, 2009, 21:00, Arthouse Le Paris)
Wolfy / Volchok_Vasilij Sigarev, Russia 2009 – German-Speaking Premiere (Sept 26, 2009, 18.30, Arthouse Le Paris)

International Documentary Film Competition_The International Documentary Film Competition entries tackle difficult subjects with uncompromising curiosity and audacity. Christine von Fragstein, curator of the series said: „This year’s Documentary Film Competition is characterized by the passion and the courage of its young directors to tackle the problematic and uncomfortable themes of our times.“ Anita Blumer’s Buenos Días, Seguimos En Guerra opens the series on September 25, 2009 at 18.30 in the cinema corso’s theatre 4.

Films: Béjart: The Show Must Go On_Arantxa Aguirre, Spain 2009 – European Premiere (Sept 28, 2009, 21:00, Arthouse Le Paris)
Buenos Días, Seguimos En Guerra_Anita Blumer, Switzerland 2009 – World Premiere (Sept 25, 2009, 18.30, corso 4)
Defamation / Hashmatsa_Yoav Shamir, Israel 2009 – Swiss Premiere (Oct 1, 2009, 20.15, corso 4)
Diary of an Affiliate / Diario di uno Scuro_Davide Barletti/Edoardo Cicchetti/Lorenzo Conte, Italy 2008 – German-Speaking Premiere (Oct 2, 2009, 20.15, corso 4)
My Father. My Uncle. / Mein Vater. Mein Onkel._Christoph Heller, Germany 2009 – World Premiere (Sept 28, 2009, 18.15, corso 4)
P-Star Rising_Gabriel Noble, USA 2009 – European Premiere (Sept 30, 2009, 20.15, corso 4)
Queen of Brazil_Fernanda Tornaghi/Ricardo Bruno, Brazil 2008 – German-Speaking Premiere (Sept 25, 2009, 20.30, corso 4)
Sergio_Greg Barker, UK/USA 2009 – German-Speaking Premiere (Sept 26, 2009, 20.30, corso 4)
The Sound After the Storm_Patrik Soergel/Ryan Fenson-Hood, Switzerland/Germany 2009 – World Premiere (Sept 29, 2009, 20.30, corso 4)

German-Speaking Feature Film Competition_The German-Speaking Feature Film Competition will open on September 25, 2009 with the Swiss/German co-production Im Sog der Nacht by Markus Welter (20.00, corso 2).

Films: 13 Semesters / 13 Semester_Frieder Wittich, Germany 2009 – World Premiere (Sept 29, 2009, 20.45, corso 2)
66/67 – Fairplay is Over / 66/67 – Fairplay war gestern_Carsten Ludwig/Jan-Christoph Glaser, Germany 2009 – World Premiere (Sept. 28, 2009, 18, corso 1)
Ceasefire / Waffenstillstand_Lancelot von Naso, Germany/Switzerland 2009 – European Premiere (Oct 1, 2009, 21.30, corso 2)
Der Fürsorger_Lutz Konermann, Switzerland 2009 – World Premiere (Sept 30, 2009, 21.00, corso 1)
Gravity / Schwerkraft_Maximilian Erlenwein, Germany 2009 – European Premiere (Sept 30, 2009, 21:00, Arthouse Le Paris
Hangtime_Wolfgang Groos, Germany 2009 – International Premiere (Sept 26, 2009, 21.30, corso 2)
Night Rush / Im Sog der Nacht_Markus Welter, Switzerland/Germany 2009 – Swiss Premiere (Sept 25, 2009, 20:00, corso 2)
Small Fish / Kleine Fische_Marco Antoniazzi, Austria 2009 – Swiss Premiere (Sept 27, 2009, 18.30, Arthouse Le Paris)

The Zurich Film Festival’s Achievement Awards

„A Tribute to Roman Polanski“_Roman Polanski will personally receive the „Golden Eye“ for his life’s work. This festive award-giving ceremony will take place on Sunday, September 27, 2009 at cinema corso’s theatre 1. On the afternoon of the 27th, the Zurich Film Festival will launch a retrospective of Polanski’s oeuvre in the cinema corso’s theatre 4.

„Golden Icon Award“ for Morgan Freeman_This year’s „Golden Icon Award“ laureate is Morgan Freeman – an actor whose multifaceted skills delight both audiences and press alike. He will be present to receive this prize, awarded for his outstanding acting abilities, at the glamorous Closing Night event in the cinema corso’s theatre 1 on Saturday, October 3, 2009

Career Achievement Award for Michael Keaton_The presentation of this exceptional prize will also take place on the Closing Night event on Saturday, October 3 in the cinema corso’s theatre 1.

Further Film Series and Events

If not otherwise indicated, information for the following events can be found at

Zurich Master Class

Speakers: Roman Polanski, Morgan Freeman, Niki Reiser, Erwin Wagenhofer, Michael Keaton, Randal Kleiser, Til Schweiger, Christian Frei, Peter Fonda
Further information at:

onedotzero_adventures in motion, October 1-3, 2009. Further information:

Industry Day, September 29, 2009. Further information:

Zurich Producers’ Forum, September 24 and 25, 2009. Further information:
Special Screenings:
- Opening film Lila, Lila, September 24, 2009
- Argentine short film highlights, September 26, 2009
- „I Have MSF-Night“, September 28, 2009
- Short films from previous Master Class participants, September 30, 2009
- Documentary film Pianomania by Robert Cibis and Lillian Franck, October 2, 2009
- Closing film: Whisky mit Wodka, October 4, 2009


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