The 8th Zurich Film Festival will open two weeks from today on September 20th. Like previous years the two directors of the festival, Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri and the entire team met with the press at the Zunfthaus zur Saffran on the Limmatquai.
The directors are very excited to bring to Zurich so many different personalities. The number of guests invited has increased to 350 compared to 215 last year. More and more well-known people will be there due to a bigger budget from the city and mainly to the sponsors like Crédit Suisse, Audi, Die Post, Dior, Globus and many others like Cablecom.
For those hoping to see personalities on the Green Carpet this year, watch out for Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, François Ozon, John Travolta, Helen Hunt, Tom Tykwer, Jerry Weintraub, Frank Darabont, Julia Jentsch and of course the jury president for German films, Herbert Grönemeyer.
Johann Schneider Amman (FDP) will open the festival opening the ceremony at the Corso with mayor Corinne Rauch. That night, actor and singer, John Travolta will receive a lifetime achievement award before the screening of the festival’s opening film, “Savages” from Oliver Stone.
It is not the first time Oliver Stone will be coming to Zurich Film Festival but the third. Nadja Schildknecht is very happy about it and remembers some good times with him.
It will be a “film fever” for 11 days “a celebration for the cinema”, says Nadja, who recommends people to take some time off to try out what the festival has to offer even the night parties, musical evenings at Tibits and the lounge on the Sechseläuten square.
The tent or das Zelt on Sechseläuten will still play an important role like last year. Many films will be shown at the Corso next to it, but also at Sihlcity, which will become the second biggest venue to watch movies.
111 films will be presented from the 20th to the 30th of September, 15 more than in 2011. There will be 21 Gala nights, five possibilities to meet actors and directors at the Zelt and 4 Zurich Master Classes at the Film Podium. In addition, there will be other Zurich Master Classes at the Hotel Widder. Thirty-nine films are competing for prizes. There will be in total 9 World Premieres. Switzerland has 6 films in competition.
The festival decided to do more for children in 2012 and to show two films, “Gattu” from India and “The blue Tiger” from the Czech Republic. It is already a big success as 2000 children signed up for the screenings. The festival will host from September 27th to the 29th a Filmboutique at the Filmcity Kino Arena. It will have for the first time an international film competition with a show at the Tonhalle on September 27th. Without doing too much publicity, the Zurich team received many applications, explains Nadja Schildknecht, smiling.
Does Nadja knows what personality will receive a prize next year?
She tells a journalist at the press conference that there are so many stars and Hollywood stars, who are worth getting a prize, that it is difficult to know which one they will pick for next year. They have a few ideas already.
“What is Nadja looking forward to the most for this year’s festival?”, I asked. “Well all 11 days really. There are so many guests coming. Every day has an highlight… the evening with Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere (coming to present their film “Arbitrage”) but of course the opening ceremony with Oliver Stone.”
Nadja continues, “movies itself, they are the stars”.
Bringing John Travolta and Richard Gere to Zurich was not a piece of cake, she shares with me, but it is not as difficult now as it would have been eight years ago. Now people trust the ZFF more. It was a process of talking to their respective managers. Both Gere and Travolta are coming to Zurich to present their newest films so it is a bit easier she explains, as they are touring the world going from one festival to another.
Nadja is now busier than ever making sure the last few details are taken care of so that in two weeks the stars here in Zurich will feel good and have fun. She hasn’t had time to think about her cocktail dress for the opening ceremony, she tells me. She confesses it is the last thing on her mind, but had been thinking about it this morning. She has two in mind for the major ceremonies. Knowing how beautiful her dress was for the 2011’s ceremony, she will without a doubt choose the right one!The program for the Zurich Film is now online and available in many places in Zurich. Tickets can be bought starting today. For more information click on the festival website.