By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire September 8, 2011 at 4:14AM
The program for the 2011 Zurich Film Festival was announced today, with the American drama "The Help," which has proven divisive (and hugely successful) in its home country, closing the fest. The Swiss festival will open with Steven Soderberg's "Contagion." The festival will honor a host of top-notch film industry leaders -- Sean Penn, Laurence Fishburne (who will head the fest's jury), Alejandro González Iñárritu and Paul Haggis -- with career achievement awards.
Amongst the fest's lineup this year will be Bennett Miller's "Moneyball," Oren Moverman's "Rampart," Lars von Trier's "Melancholia," and Gus Van Sant's "Restless." This year's festival will see the first edition of a German-language competition, and the festival will team with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) for a series of films that focus on humanitarian subjects.
The 2011 Zurich Film Festival will run from September 22 through October 2.
The full release is below.
ZURICH FILM FESTIVAL UNVEILS OFFICIAL 2011 PROGRAM
“The Help” Chosen As Closing Night Film
Many of This Year’s Most Anticipated Films To Screen at ZFF
Zurich, Switzerland – September 8, 2011 – Details of the 2011 Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) program lineup were revealed today by Festival Directors Karl Spoerri and Nadia Schildknecht at a press conference in Zurich. An impressive lineup of 96 films from around the world, including 10 World Premieres, will be showcased from September 22nd to October 2nd as all eyes turn to Zurich for a festival that has become a marquee destination for the hottest films and biggest talent.
This summer’s wildly successful breakout hit THE HELP has been selected as the Festival’s closing night film. The Tate Taylor directed film stars Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell and Sissy Spacek. Steven Soderbergh’s CONTAGION starring Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law is the Festival’s opening night film.
This year ZFF will screen many highly anticipated films from some of the world’s most recognized directors. Among them are Steven Soderbergh (CONTAGION), Gus Van Sant (RESTLESS), Lars von Trier (MELANCHOLIA), George Clooney (IDES OF MARCH), David Cronenberg (A DANGEROUS METHOD), Steve McQueen (SHAME), Andrea Arnold (WUTHERING HEIGHTS), Werner Herzog (CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS), Andreas Dresen (HALT AUF FREIER STRECKE) and Rolf Lyssy (URSULA – LEBEN IN ANDERSWO), to name just a few.
Additionally, the much anticipated MONEYBALL from director Bennett Miller and starring Brad Pitt will have its European Premiere at ZFF. Oren Moverman’s RAMPART starring Woody Harrelson, Steve Buscemi, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright and Ben Foster will also screen at the Festival.
The complete Zurich Film Festival programme can be viewed at http://www.zurichfilmfestival.org
The Zurich Film Festival itself is now bigger than ever and has made significant changes to accommodate rising demand and heightened popularity. Increased attendance has led to more theaters being used by the festival. 10 Theaters (up from seven the previous year) will screen films this year. Additionally, the Festival Centre has been moved to the Sechseläutenplatz to allow for an expansion and greater traffic. Zurich’s famed Opera House will be utilized for the first time – providing the magnificent setting for the Festival’s award night. A new Night Lounge will also be offered to festival goers this year.
Artistic Director Karl Spoerri is delighted that he and his program team have succeeded in dramatically expanding the festival program by increasing the number of high-quality productions.
The Festival is partnering with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to further develop their on-going partnership with the inauguration of the new ‘Border Line’ sidebar. This special new section is dedicated to films that focus on humanitarian principles and people in crisis.
ZFF and Doctors Without Borders share the common purpose and aim of drawing audience attention to subject matters that bring humanitarian issues to the forefront. Panel discussions following screenings will be presented to facilitate dialogue as well as enable awareness for forgotten crisis, alert the public of abuses occurring beyond headlines, and challenge the diversion of humanitarian aid for political interest.
ZFF’s Border Line sidebar consists of two feature documentary films and six short films.
ZFF also added a brand new German language documentary film competition category, which elevates the number of competition categories within the Festival to four and highlights the festival’s focus on new German-speaking cinema. Eight films will be shown in the new German language documentary competition this year.
After Moritz Leuenberger last year, ZFF’s Nadja Schildknecht is pleased to announce that Didier Burkhalter, another high ranking member of state government, will attend the festival to make the opening speech at this year’s ZFF. Despite the current tense economic climate, the Festival is delighted that the ZFF has not only managed to hold on to previous investors and sponsors, but has also increased the involvement of the private sector by convincing a greater number of investors to believe in and remain loyal to the ZFF. This year, the festival has approximately 130 sponsors or partners who have contributed to the success of this event with either cash or non-cash benefits.
New Swiss Cinema
Swiss film production will again be highlighted at this year’s ZFF and a record seven domestic films will be screened in Zurich. World premiere screenings of Swiss productions can be seen in the German-Language competition: ALLES EIS DING by Anita Blumer, a film about women with Stephanie Glaser in her last film role, and MARY & JOHNNY by Samuel Schwarz and Julian Grünthal, a love drama with Nadine Vinzens and Nils Althaus.
The Documentary Film Competition will also screen the two world premieres UNTER WASSER ATMEN – DAS ZWEITE LEBEN DES DR. NILS JENT by Andri Hinnen and Stefan Muggli, and DARWIN by Nick Brandestini, a film about a small Californian town and its people. Rolf Lyssy’s URSULA – LEBEN IM ANDERSWO portrays the poignant relationship between the disabled Ursula and her career. Thomas Imbach’s poetic self portrait DAY IS DONE will be screened as a gala premiere, and Ulrich Grossenbacher’s MESSIES, EIN SCHÖNES CHAOS, winner of the Semain de la Critique in Lugano, will receive a Special Screening.
This year’s New World View section will reflect current Turkish film production. Seven feature films and documentaries from the past two years offer an insight into the little-known world of Turkish cinema. Finally, the onedotzero section presents innovative, digitally produced short films, animation films and music videos. Swiss short films will be screened in a separate onedotzero_ch competition category.
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 Festival on Thursday, September 22nd.
Academy Award® nominated director Alejandro González Iñárritu (“AMORES PERROS, 21 GRAMS, BABEL) will be feted with a Career Achievement Award from ZFF and will also participate in the Festival’s Master Class series.
Multiple Oscar® winner Paul Haggis (CRASH, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, CASINO ROYALE) will be on hand to receive the Festival’s prestigious Golden Eye Award within the framework of the prestigious “A Tribute to...” series at the Festival. ZFF will also present a Paul Haggis retrospective to mark the presentation of the award and will screen several of his films. Haggis will also take part in the Master Class series.
About the Zurich Film Festival
The Zurich Film Festival was founded 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