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Spotlight on the Golden Eye Awards

The Berlinale has its Golden Bears, the Venice Biennale its Golden Lions, Locarno its Leopards and Hollywood its Oscars. But, what about Zurich?

Zurich has its Golden Eyes.

It is the symbol of the Zurich Film Festival, says Beat Glur, who works in the press and communication’s team of ZFF. Everywhere you look ,you see eyes, he continues while pointing at some decorating the festival tent. The Golden Eye award is special he adds, like “a piece of art”.

a Golden Eye award of the Zurich Film Festival

a Golden Eye award of the Zurich Film Festival

The first thing people notice when holding their prize shares Nadja Schildknecht, co-director of the ZFF, is that the eye is heavy. It weighs over 13 pounds! We wanted something heavy, which would look good when displayed at home, she explains.

The idea started when the directors were looking for a logo four months before the beginning of the first film festival. They checked hundreds of logos from various agencies until they picked the one with an eye. “I also like the fact that it looks like a lens”, continues Nadja.

Next, they searched for an artist, who could make the awards. They chose a local man, Gerald Koller. Nadja describes him as a sweet and nice man, who is now almost 80 years old.

For the last eight years since the beginning of the ZFF, people in the movie business have been honored with Mr Koller’s beautiful trophies.

Karl Spoerri gives a Golden Eye to Jerry Weintraub - copyright ZFF 2012

Karl Spoerri gives a Golden Eye to Jerry Weintraub – copyright ZFF 2012

When the international film festival was created by Karl Spoerri and Nadja Schildknecht in 2005 it did not even have a handful of awards. Just one award was distributed the first year to the Russian film “The Italian” by Andrei Kravchuk. There was also a retrospective about the deceased German actor and director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Famous in the New German Cinema (1960-1980) he is above all remembered for his film “The Marriage of Maria Braun” (1978).

With the years going by, the ZFF has become more and more popular, recognized around the world and has brought more and more well-known directors, producers and actors to Zurich. Gradually more films were shown in the cinemas and new categories for new awards were created.

In 2006 the tribute award category came to life to honour a director. It was first given to the British director, Stephen Frears, known for his films “Dangerous Liaisons” (1988) and “The Queen” (2006). In 2008 the festival directors added the Golden Icon award to recognize an actor or actress’ lifework. The first one was given to Hollywood actor, Sylvester Stallone. Last year two new awards were created: a special achievement award for American actor, Laurence Fishburne, and a career achievement award for Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

Paul Haggis (L) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (R) with their Golden Eyes at the closing ceremony of ZFF 2011

Paul Haggis (L) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (R) with their Golden Eyes at the closing ceremony of ZFF 2011

This year, the festival will honour 12 people in total! In addition to their Golden Eye awards, the directors of the four categories for International films, German films, International documentaries & German documentaries will receive a check of 20,000 CHF each.Three new awards were added in 2012: a Golden Eye award for the best International film composer, a Golden Eye award for actress Helen Hunt and a Lifetime Achievement award for American actor, John Travolta.

The closing ceremony with the presentation of the Golden Eye awards will take place at the Zurich Opera House on Saturday night, September 29th at 8:30 p.m.



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