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Masterclass with Frank Darabont ...and more at the Zurich Film Festival

The Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) announced today the revered group of industry professionals that will headline the Festival’s signature Master Class series. 2012 ZFF Master Class instructors include:

●          Three-time Academy Award® nominated writer, producer and director Frank Darabont ("The Green Mile,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Walking Dead”)
●          Two-time Academy Award® nominated producer Michael Shamberg (“Pulp Fiction,” “Erin Brockovich,” “The Big Chill”)
●          Two-time Academy Award® winning editor Pietro Scalia (“Gladiator,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Black Hawk Down”)
Academy Award® winning producer Greg Shapiro (“Hurt Locker,” “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,” “The Rum Diary”)
●          Academy Award® nominated writer Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation,” “About Elly,” “Fireworks Wednesday”)
●          Director Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House,” “Easy Money”)
●          Award-winning director Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”)
●          Motion picture talent agent David Flynn (UTA)

Legendary producer and entertainment industry icon Jerry Weintraub (“Ocean’s Eleven” series, “Karate Kid” series) will lead a Master Class session in addition to being honoured with a career achievement award.

Along with conducting their respective Master Class sessions in Zurich, Daniel Espinosa, Michael Shamberg and Pietro Scalia will be serving on the Festival’s international fiction jury with Frank Darabont serving as the Jury President.

ZFF’s popular master classes serve as a platform that facilitates networking between talented young filmmakers and leading international experts in the film industry. The classes are designed to inspire, motivate and promote the exchange of practical skills amongst workshop participants, in a unique, personalized environment where renowned experts discuss their process and experiences.

Past ZFF Master Class instructors have included such notable names as Paul Haggis, Sylvester Stallone, Milos Forman, Stephen Frears, Morgan Freeman, Andreas Dresen Christian Frei, Costa-Gavras, Terry Gilliam, Adrien Grenier, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Ken Loach, Ed Pressman, Oliver Stone, Michael Keaton, Christine Vachon and Erwin Wagenhofer, to name a few.

Entering its eighth year, the Zurich Film Festival has established itself as one of the world’s marquee Film Festivals, discovering and promoting independent voices and talent from around the world and showcasing a diverse array of international films. ZFF continues to serve as the setting for many World and European premieres and is introducing a German language film market for the first time, signaling significant industry growth.

This year, renowned leading man and humanitarian Richard Gere will receive the Festival’s ‘Golden Icon’ award while two-time Academy Award® nominee John Travolta will be honoured with the ‘Golden Eye’ award before the opening night screening of Oliver Stone’s “Savages.”

About the ZFF Master Class Instructors:

Frank Darabont
Three-time Oscar® nominee Frank Darabont has written, directed and produced for both film and television. He received critical acclaim for his screenplay adaption of Stephen King’s “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994), which earned him his first Academy Award® nomination. Darabont earned two more Academy Award® nominations for the box office hit “The Green Mile” in 2000.

Starting as a writer, the Hungarian-American filmmaker established his career with “Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors,” “The Blob” (1988), and “The Fly II” (1989). He made his directorial debut with a short film “A Woman in the Room” (1983) and a made-for-TV movie “Buried Alive” (1990). Four years later, “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994) became his first theatrical feature, which was then followed by “The Green Mile” (1999) starring Tom Hanks, “The Majestic” (2001) starring Jim Carrey, and “The Mist” (2007) with Thomas Jane. Recently, Frank Darabont was the creator, executive producer, and director of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” (2010) based on the comic book by Robert Kirkman. He is now working on “L.A Noir” (2013), a new series on TNT.

Daniel Espinosa
Daniel Espinosa is a Swedish film director, producer and writer most known for directing his first English-language feature film “Safe House” (2012) starring two-time Academy Award® winner Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds and Robert Patrick.  His other credits include Swedish projects “Snabba Cash” (2010), “Outside Love” (2007), “Babylonsjukan” (2004) and “The Fighter” (2003). In addition, he wrote and produced the English-language short “Becoming Vince” in 2008.

His upcoming film, “Snabba Cash II,” which Espinosa executive produced, is set to premiere in Sweden on August 17, 2012.

Asghar Farhadi
Asghar Farhadi is an Iranian writer, director and producer who won an Academy Award® for the critically acclaimed drama “A Separation” (2011) for “Best Writing, Original Screenplay” category and a Golden Globe in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category. The film followed a married couple who are faced with a difficult decision – to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.

In 2002, Farhadi made his directorial debut with “Dancing in the Bust” (2003) which was followed by “Beautiful City” (2004) and “Fireworks Wednesday” (2006). His fourth film “About Elly” (2009), a story about a group of Iranians who take a trip to the Caspian Sea, was called "a masterpiece" by film critic David Bordwell. Following his success from “About Elly” (2009) and “A Seperation” (2011), Time Magazine named Farhadi as one of the “100 Most Influential People in 2012.”

David Flynn
David Flynn is a motion picture literary agent in the Independent Film Group of leading talent and literary agency UTA where he represents filmmakers, writers and producers, and develops film finance strategies for independent features.

Flynn previously put together and sold Sean Durkin’s highly acclaimed MARTHY MARCY MAY MARLENE starring Elizabeth Olsen and produced by Borderline Films, Zal Batmanlij’s SOUND OF MY VOICE and THE EAST, Rodrigo Cortés’ film BURIED starring Ryan Reynolds and the critically acclaimed documentary RESTREPO which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.  In addition, he was involved in the sale of Drake Doremus’ LIKE CRAZY to Indian Paintbrush/Paramount, Lynn Shelton’s YOUR SISTER’S SISTER to IFC, and Jake Scott’s independent film WELCOME TO THE RILEYS, starring Kristen Stewart and James Gandolfini,to Sony Pictures.

Pietro Scalia
The two-time Oscar® winning film editor began his rise to fame working with director Oliver Stone. After five years as an assistant editor, his first full edit for Stone was “JFK,” for which he received an Academy Award®. He worked with Bernardo Bertolucci on “Little Buddha” and “Stealing Beauty” and won an Oscar® nomination for “Good Will Hunting” with director Gus Van Sant before teaming up with director Ridley Scott. He was nominated a second time for Scott’s “Gladiator” and won his second Oscar® for “Black Hawk Down.”  After editing the 2005 blockbuster “Memoirs of a Geisha,” and working on “Hannibal Rising,” he has returned to work with Scott on “The Amazing Spiderman” and “Prometheus.”

Michael Shamberg
Michael Shamberg is an American producer who was nominated for an Academy Award® for the comedy “The Big Chill” (1983) starring Tom Berenger and Glenn Close and “Erin Brockovich” (2000) featuring Julia Roberts and Albert Finney.  Other notable projects that Shamberg produced include “A Fish Called Wanda” (1988), “Pulp Fiction” (1994), “Matilda” (1996), “Gattaca” (1997), “Garden State” (2004), “The Skeleton Key” (2005), “Freedom Writers” (2007) and “Contagion” (2011).

His production companies include Jersey Films, with Stacey Sher and Danny DeVito, and Double Feature Films, with his wife, Carla Santos Shamberg.

Shamberg is currently working on the much anticipated Quentin Tarantino directed “Django Unchained,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz, as well as the comedy “Get a Job”, starring Bryan Cranston and Anna Kendrick; the crime drama “Runner, Runner” starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake; the thriller “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” starring Liam Neeson; and the action/thriller “Manhunt” starring Gerard Butler.

Greg Shapiro
Producer Greg Shapiro won an Oscar® for the critically acclaimed drama “The Hurt Locker” directed by two-time Oscar® winner Kathryn Bigelow and starred two-time Academy Award® nominee Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty. Other notable credits include the comedy “The Rum Diary” directed by Academy Award® nominee Bruce Robinson and starred three-time Academy Award® nominee Johnny Depp, Primetime Emmy nominee Giovanni Ribisi and Golden Globe nominee Aaron Eckhart; “Harold & Kumar” franchise starring Kal Pen and John Cho; “The Conspirator” directed by Oscar® winner Robert Redford; “Neverwas” starring Eckhart, two-time Academy Award® nominee Ian McKellen and Brittany Murphy; and the critically acclaimed “Detachment” starring Oscar® winners Adrien Brody and Marcia Gay Harden.

Benh Zeitlin
American filmmaker, composer, and animator, Benh Zeitlin, graduated from Wesleyan University and became a founding member of the independent film company Court 13. His award-winning shorts include “Egg” (2005), “The Origins of Electricity” (2006), and “Glory at Sea” (2008). His first feature film “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (2012) gained success at Sundance and Cannes Film Festival, which Fox Searchlight picked up for distribution.

About the Zurich Film Festival

Entering its eighth year, the Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) has established itself as one of the world’s top Films Festivals, discovering and promoting independent voices and talent from around the world, showcasing a diverse array of international films and serving as the setting for many World and European premieres.

The aim of the Zurich Film Festival is to offer audiences an insight into the work of young, upcoming filmmakers from around the globe and to promote the exchange of ideas between established film workers, young talent and the public.

The ZFF is organised by Spoundation Motion Picture GmbH in cooperation with local institutes and sponsors, and collaborates with domestic and international distributors and producers. The idea to create an international film festival was the brainchild of Karl Spoerri, who founded the festival together with Nadja Schildknecht. Karl Spoerri (Artistic and Strategic Director) and Nadja Schildknecht (Managing Director) are the festival’s current Co-Directors..

The Zurich Film Festival is generously supported by its main sponsors: Credit Suisse, upc cablecom, Die Schweizerische Post and Audi.

For more information please visit<>.


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