This evening, the prizes of the 18th Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) were presented during the Award Night at Zurich Opera House. The festival’s main awards were given in three competition categories: A Golden Eye goes to each of the films CASCADEUSES by Elena Avdija, LOS REYES DEL MUNDO by Laura Mora Ortega and SAM NOW by Reed Harkness.
The Award Night of the 18th Zurich Film Festival took place on Saturday, October 1 at Zurich Opera House. Comprising three separate categories, the International Competition forms the core of the Festival. The ZFF competition showcases films by young, promising filmmakers who compete with their first, second or third directorial works for the festival’s most prestigious award, the Golden Eye, which is endowed with a CHF 25’000 cash prize. Every film selected for the three competition categories is either a world, European or Swiss premiere. In addition to the three main categories, numerous other prizes were also presented, including the ZFF for Kids’ Jury Prize and the Audience Award.
Christian Jungen, artistic director of the ZFF explained in his speech: “The strong increase in the number of admissions for films in competition is gratifying. This shows that the audience is curious and has a desire to discover new filmmakers and that auteur cinema is alive.”
The following is a list of the winning films of the 18th Zurich Film Festival.
Focus Competition: CASCADEUSES
This category focusses on films from Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The winner of the Golden Eye in the category this year is CASCADEUSES by Elena Avdija.
They are hit by cars, have to dive 70 meters into the depths and absorb many a hard blow. For professional stuntwomen Virginie, Petra and Estelle, this is all in a day’s work. In order to perform physically demanding scenes for film and television, they undergo rigorous daily training. But in the male-dominated film industry, stereotypical portrayals of vulnerable women on screen are still common, and even stuntwomen often find themselves in the roles of female victims, while male colleagues embody perpetrators or heroes. In her debut feature, filmmaker Elena Avdija sheds light on an exciting and hard-hitting business in which female actors all too often remain in the shadows.
Jury statement: The Focus Competition jury is delighted to award the Golden Eye to CASCADEUSES for it’s beautiful direction and strong cinematography, for its wonderful sense of cinematic rhythm and its respect for its characters. The film gives us an unsentimental view into a world that we never get to see. We cannot wait to see what Elena Avdija will do next!
Special Mention: FOUDRE by Carmen Jaquier
Christine Vachon (jury president) / director, producer / USA
Fred Baillif / director, screenwriter / Switzerland
Katharina Mückstein / director, screenwriter / Austria
Maria Fantastica Valmori / cutter / Italy
Roger Schawinski / journalist, presenter / Switzerland
Feature Film Competition: LOS REYES DEL MUNDO
The 18th Zurich Film Festival’s Golden Eye for Best Feature Film goes to LOS REYES DEL MUNDO by Laura Mora Ortega.
Young Rá lives on the streets of Medellin with his friends Culebro, Sere, Winny and Nano. But hope is in sight for the gang: The government has granted Rá the right to a piece of land from which his family, like thousands of other Colombians, was once driven off by the paramilitaries. And so, the bunch sets off on the dangerous trip into the Colombian hinterland. It is the beginning of an exciting journey that oscillates between adventure and delirium. Set against the backdrop of Columbia’s spectacular nature, director Laura Mora tells in breath-taking, immersive images and mystical dream sequences of the search by five stray good-for-nothings for happiness and justice.
Jury statement: The movie was one of the first films we saw and it left us with unforgettable images and scenes. LOS REYES DEL MUNDO is meticulously crafted and brings us close to the young protagonists who fight for freedom and dignity. The lyrical film language infuses the harsh reality with a metaphysical dimension. It’s an important and powerful story about the marginalized in society.
Special Mention: WAR PONY by Gina Gammell and Riley Keough, and UNTIL TOMORROW / TA FARDA by Ali Asgari
Asghar Farhadi (jury president) / director / Iran
Clio Barnard / director / UK
Daniel Dreifuss / producer / USA, Brazil
Petra Volpe / director, screenwriter / Switzerland
Piodor Gustafsson / producer/ Sweden
Documentary Film Competition: SAM NOW
The Golden Eye in the Documentary Film Competition category goes to SAM NOW by Reed Harkness.
Half-brothers Sam and Reed have always made movies together. Even back when Sam was 14 and his mother left the family one day without any explanation. While father, grandmother and aunts keep silent for years about what happened, and brother Jared loses his drive for life, Sam seems to suffer no pain. Until Reed suggests he go find his mother. What follows is a road trip through Washington, Oregon and California – the beginning of an emotional roller coaster. Using his own Super 8 footage and home movies from his rich family archive, filmmaker Reed Harkness tells with subtle humour of the wounds of separation and the power of reconciliation.
Jury statement: This film stood out to all of us as the finest that cinema can do. Which is sending the viewer on a journey of introspection and questioning of human life and human relationships. In our crazy and collapsing world, being able to understand, accept and reach for the others is certainly crucial to remember. Thanks to this wonderful filmmakers and their family, for their courage to share their journey of pain and healing with us.
Special Mention: THE NEW GREATNESS CASE by Anna Shishova and THE KILLING OF A JOURNALIST by Matt Sarnecki
Alexander Nanau (jury president) / director, screenwriter, cameraman / Germany, Rumania
Atanas Georgiev / producer, director, cutter / North Macedonia
Joëlle Bertossa / producer, director / Switzerland
Nina Numankadić / producer / Czech Republic
Sushmit Ghosh / director / India
Further prizes of the 18th Zurich Film Festival were awarded to:
Emerging Swiss Talent Award (Critics’ Prize): FOUDRE by Carmen Jaquier
Anna Smith / Film Critic / UK
David Martos / Film Journalist / Spain
Sebastian Seidler / Film Critic / Germany
The jury was impressed by Carmen Jaquier’s strong direction and visual flair in telling an engrossing story about faith, free love and female longing. The jury also noted the performances of the stars, praising the way that Jaquier worked with her young cast. An arresting feature debut from a talented Swiss director.
The award ceremony will take place on Sunday, 2 October, 4:45 pm, at Kino Kosmos.
ZFF for Kids – Jury Prize: LUCY IST JETZT GANGSTER by Till Endemann
ZFF for Kids – Audience Award: MY ROBOT BROTHER by Frederik Meldal Nørgaard
Audience Award: BECOMING GIULIA by Laura Kaehr
Science Film Award: THE TERRITORY by Alex Pritz
Zurich Churches Film Prize: FOUDRE by Carmen Jaquier
Best International Film Music: Robert IJserinkhuijsen
Rachel Portman (jury president) / composer
Pernille Fischer Christensen / film director
Frank Strobel / conductor of the award winner
Marcel Vaid / film composer
Barney Cokeliss / director THE FOUNDLING
As jury president of the 10th International Film Music Competition, Rachel Portman presented the Dutchman Robert IJserinkhuijsen with the Golden Eye for Best International Film Music endowed with a 10‘000 CHF cash prize. The jury gave the following reason for its choice, “Robert IJserinkhuijsen knows how to tell emotional stories with a very high standard. His ideas are original, he knows how to realise them perfectly and cut them beautifully.”
The following honorary awards were given during the 18th ZFF:
A Tribute to … Award: Luca Guadagnino
The Italian director and screenwriter was honoured with the ZFF’s most prestigious award for an auteur filmmaker, and presented his newest work BONES AND ALL.
Golden Icon Award: Sir Ben Kingsley
The actor was honoured with the ZFF’s most coveted award for his career achievements. He accepted the award virtually via live stream on September 29. Immediately afterwards, the ZFF screened his most recent movie DALÍLAND, in which Kingsley the plays the lead character Salvador Dalí.
Career Achievement Award: Rachel Portman
The British film score composer Rachel Portman accepted the award during the 10th International Film Music Competition, where she presided over the jury.
Golden Eye Award: Charlotte Gainsbourg
The ZFF honoured the French-British actress for her outstanding career and versatility on September 26. She also presented her most recent movie THE ALMOND AND THE SEAHORSE on the same evening.
Golden Eye Award: Eddie Redmayne
The actor Eddie Redmayne received the Golden Eye for his outstanding career achievements. He accepted the award in person on September 25 during the screening of his latest movie THE GOOD NURSE at Zurich Conference Center.
Game Changer Award: Michael Barker and Tom Bernard
The two founders and co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics were honoured for their outstanding contribution to the film industry during the Zurich Summit.