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Zurich Film Festival to honor Paul Haggis

It was announced today that the Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) will present multiple Oscar® winner Paul Haggis (“Crash,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Casino Royale”) with the Festival’s prestigious Golden Eye Award for his life work as a screenwriter and filmmaker. The announcement was made today by ZFF Directors Karl Spoerri and Nadja Schildknecht.

Haggis will receive the “Golden Eye” for his life’s work on Saturday, October 1st within the framework of the prestigious “A Tribute to...” series at the 7th Zurich Film Festival taking place September 22nd – October 2nd. Haggis will be in Zurich to accept the award personally.

The Zurich Film Festival will also present a Paul Haggis retrospective to mark the presentation of the award and will screen numerous films from his amazing career, including such acclaimed hits as “In the Valley of Elah,” “Casino Royale,” Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash.”

Before the “A Tribute to...” award ceremony, Haggis will discuss his work as a writer, director and producer at a workshop presented within ZFF’s signature Master Class series, now in its 6th instalment. This exclusive talent workshop will give selected participants the opportunity to exchange ideas and interact in a unique, personalized environment.

ZFF Director Karl Spoerri commented, “Paul Haggis has had an impressive career that is deserving of the highest recognition and honors. We’re excited for those who will have the rare opportunity to peer into the mind of Mr. Haggis during the Zurich Film Festival master class and are equally excited for the entire film going audience that will be treated to his best works on the big screen.”

Paul Haggis is the award-winning filmmaker who, in 2006, became the first screenwriter to write two Best Film Oscar® winners back-to-back - "Million Dollar Baby" (2004) directed by Clint Eastwood, and "Crash" (2005) which he himself directed. For "Crash," he won Academy Awards® for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. The film also received an additional four nominations including one for Haggis' direction. "Crash" reaped numerous awards during its year of release from associations such as the IFP Spirit Awards, the Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTA.

In 2006, Haggis' screenplays included the duo Clint Eastwood productions "Flags of our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima," the latter earning him his third screenplay Oscar® nomination. He also helped pen "Casino Royale," which garnered considerable acclaim for reinvigorating the James Bond spy franchise.

In 2007, Haggis wrote, directed and produced "In the Valley of Elah" for Warner Independent Pictures, Samuels Media and Summit Entertainment. The film, which starred Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon is a suspense drama of a father's search for his missing son, who is reported AWOL after returning from Iraq. Jones earned a Best Actor Oscar® nomination for his performance in the film. Haggis' latest film, "The Next Three Days", stars Russell Crowe, Liam Neeson, and Elizabeth Banks and was produced by his production company Highway 61 and Lionsgate Films.

Haggis was born in London, Ontario, Canada and moved to California in his early 20s. For over two decades he has written, directed and produced television shows such as "thirtysomething" and "The Tracey Ullman Show," and also developed credits as a pup writer on many Norman Lear sitcoms. He created the acclaimed, if short-lived, CBS series "EZ Streets" which the New York Times cited as one of the most influential shows of all time, noting, that without it "there would be no Sopranos."

Haggis is equally committed to his private and social concerns. He is the founder of Artists for Peace and Justice. Under this umbrella, many of his friends in the film business have come forward to build schools and medical clinics serving the children of the slums of Haiti. (ArtistsForPeaceAndJustice.com)

The Zurich Film Festival’s previous “A Tribute to...” guests of honour have been: Oscar® winner Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus) in 2010, Oscar® winner Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown) in 2009, Oscar®-winner Constantin Costa-Gavras (Z, Missing, Betrayed) in 2008, three-times Oscar®-winner Oliver Stone (Midnight Express, Platoon, Born on the 4th of July) in 2007 and the multi-Oscar® nominated director Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette, The Grifters, The Queen) in 2006.

Multiple Academy Award® winner and humanitarian Sean Penn will be in Zurich to accept the Festival’s coveted Golden Icon Award in a ceremony taking place on September 28th.

Academy Award® nominee Laurence Fishburne heads this year’s international jury and will also receive a special achievement award. Fishburne stars in Steven Soderbergh’s sci-fi thriller “Contagion” which will open the 2011 Zurich Film Festival on Thursday, September 22nd.

Academy Award® nominated director Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Amores Perros” “21 Grams” “Babel” “Biutiful”) will be feted with a Career Achievement Award from ZFF and will also participate in the Festival’s Master Class series.

Further information about the “A Tribute to” series and about the 7th Zurich Film Festival can be found under: www.zurichfilmfestival.org. Further information about application for the Zurich Master Class can be found under www.zurichmasterclass.org.

About the Zurich Film Festival

The Zurich Film Festival began in October 2005 and became firmly established upon the national and international festival landscape within a very short period of time. This year’s seventh edition will again see Zurich transformed into an eleven-day film festival capital celebrating the art of film in all its facets!

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 international competition will witness young filmmakers competing for the coveted Golden Eye – the festival’s main award. In addition to the competition, we will also present the latest films by renowned filmmakers as exclusive gala premieres. Furthermore, the New World View series will focus upon the current cinematic oeuvre of a developing film region. In the past years, we have been focusing on Israel (2008), Argentina (2009) and Australia (2010).

Numerous fringe events and parties give individuals from the field of film and movie-smitten visitors the opportunity to discuss happenings and bring the cinema day to an agreeable end in a pleasing and relaxed atmosphere

ZFF is organized by Spoundation Motion Picture GmbH, based in Zurich, in cooperation with local institutions and sponsors. The Zurich Film Festival cooperates with numerous distributors and producers from Switzerland and abroad. The idea to found a festival in Zurich came from Karl Spoerri. Today, the festival directors are Karl Spoerri (artistic director) and Nadja Schildknecht (public relations, marketing and sponsoring).

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

For more information please visit www.zurichfilmfestival.org


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