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ZFF launches talent development programme

ZFF Launches Talent Programme
CAA Co-CEO Roeg Sutherland (l.), Oscar winner Patrick Wachsberger (producer of CODA) and Wild Bunch boss Vincent Maraval at Zurich Summit. © Josef Brunner for Zurich Film Festival

The Zurich Film Festival enables eight young industry talents to learn from Hollywood’s finest. As part of the new ZFF Summit Climber programme organised in partnership with the International Screen Institute, the up-and-comers get to learn from Hollywood heavyweights like Alana Mayo, President of Orion Pictures, Tom Quinn, CEO of NEON, and Roeg Sutherland, Co-CEO of CAA Media Finance how to successfully finance, produce and distribute films in Hollywood. The inaugural edition of the ZFF Summit Climber will be held as part of the Zurich Summit from September 23-26, 2022. Applications are being accepted immediately.

The mentored three-day training programme ZFF Summit Climber takes place during the Zurich Summit, the Zurich Film Festival’s prestigious boutique conference that takes place at hotel The Dolder Grand. The aim of the new talent development programme is to use the framework of the conference and the festival to transfer knowledge about transatlantic economic and financing structures to selected participants. Additionally, the programme, in partnership with the International Screen Institute, also offers participants a unique opportunity to expand their European and North American film network.

“The ZFF has been committed to promoting young talent since it was founded. Whether it’s the ZFF Academy or ZFF for Kids, they all boil down to one thing: Getting people excited about films and how they are made. We are expanding our commitment to include young talent in the business sector with the new ZFF Summit Climber programme because, now more than ever, outstanding films need outstanding marketing if they are to find their audience,” explained Christian Jungen, Artistic Director Zurich Film Festival. “As part of our new development programme, the young participants get to learn from the best Hollywood has to offer in this field.” Reta Guetg, Head of Industry Zurich Film Festival, adds, “The programme closes a gap for young talent in the distribution and financing sector. In keeping with our festival strategy, we also rely here on the boutique concept and our excellent relations with the North American film market.”

ZFF Launches Talent Development Programme

ZFF Academy Talents 2021 © Finn Watanabe for Zurich Film Festival

The Zurich Summit with its world-class line-up of international film producers, sales executives and creators from the film, TV and entertainment industries offers an environment for junior executives to acquire the kind of know-how that will give participants a competitive edge in the world of film financing. Industry leaders that have already confirmed their attendance at this year’s Zurich Summit include: Alana Mayo, President of Orion Pictures, Tom Quinn, CEO of NEON, and Roeg Sutherland, Co-Head of CAA Media Finance. The Zurich Film Festival and the International Screen Institute want to take advantage of the excellent opportunities offered by the Zurich Summit to create a stepping stone in the career development of future executives.

“We are delighted to be working with ZFF on this programme that has been designed to inform and extend knowledge in the areas of finance and distribution. We are looking for participants who are developing careers in sales and acquisitions and are firmly convinced that together with ZFF we make a great contribution to the promotion of young talent and are firmly convinced that together with ZFF we make a great contribution to the promotion of young talent,” state the International Screen Institute Head of Studies Julia Short and Course Director Beatrice Neumann.

The programme imparts a comprehensive understanding of transatlantic financing structures and offers a unique opportunity to expand North American and European networks through contact with Zurich Summit guests. The participants can deepen their knowledge about development strategies for post-pandemic recovery in film sales and distribution, strengthen their collaboration with producers, and learn the rules and guidelines of transatlantic collaboration. International junior executives who have at least two years of professional experience in the areas of sales and acquisition can apply online from now until 15 August. The ZFF and the International Screen Institute welcome applications from all age categories. An internal jury will select the eight participants.

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Game Changer Award for Michael Barker and Tom Bernard

Game Changer Award For Michael Barker And Tom Bernard
Michael Barker (left) and Tom Bernard co-founded Sony Pictures Classics 30 years ago © Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

The Zurich Film Festival honours the two American studio bosses this year for their services to film culture. The two founded Sony Pictures Classics exactly 30 years ago, and popularised auteur filmmakers such as Asghar Farhadi, Wim Wenders and Pedro Almodóvar. They have won more than 40 Academy Awards and championed diversity in cinema long before the topic became fashionable.

The Game Changer Award is presented during the Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) to personalities from the film industry in recognition of their outstanding achievements within the industry. This year, the Game Changer Award will be presented to Michael Barker and Tom Bernard. The two founders and Co-Presidents of Sony Pictures Classics will accept the award on Sunday, September 25 during the Zurich Summit Dinner. Sony Pictures Classics was founded by the duo in 1992 and celebrates its 30-year anniversary this year.

Barker and Bernard’s Sony Pictures Classics aims to distribute thought-provoking, high-quality feature films and documentaries and promote the signature style of talented filmmakers. “Sony Pictures Classics is synonymous amongst film fans with intelligent auteur cinema,” explains Christian Jungen, ZFF Artistic Director. “Michael and Tom have been producing and distributing sophisticated entertainment for the last 30 years. They have introduced such great European auteurs as Almodóvar, Wenders and Maren Ade to the American public, and given the best of American independent cinema to the world. Others have come and gone – they have remained for 30 years, successful and loyal to cinema. We want to honour this achievement with our award.”

“In addition to helping the successful launch of many important movies the Zurich Film Festival has always been a great place to meet, engage, and exchange ideas with filmmakers, distributors, and exhibitors. This award puts the focus on 30 years of Sony Pictures Classics movies and the talented filmmakers who made them. In our opinion, they are the real game changers and we share this award with them. Thank you Zurich Film Festival for the honor.” said Michael Barker and Tom Bernard of Sony Pictures Classics.

To date, Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have received 183 Academy Award Nominations (70 of which were films by women) and scooped 41 Academy Awards.

The list of the studio’s best-known films includes titles like CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, THE FATHER, WHIPLASH, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, HOWARDS END and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. “Sony Pictures Classics has also done a huge amount for diversity in the film industry and led titles like the gay love story ‘Call Me By Your Name’ or the trans-themed ‘Una mujer fantastica’ to success – long before diversity was a dictate of the times,” explains Christian Jungen. Many titles from Sony Pictures Classics have also screened at Zurich Film Festival in recent years.

Honors bestowed on Barker and Bernard include the Honors Award from the Directors Guild of America, the FINDIE Spirit Award in Los Angeles, the GLAAD Media Award, the Gotham Industry Lifetime Achievement Award from the Independent Feature Project in New York, Outfest’s Legacy Award, and the Spirit of Independence Award from Film Independent at the Los Angeles Film Festival. They were awarded the esteemed French Legion of Honor from the French government and The Women in Film Beacon Award from Women in Film Los Angeles in recognition of their unmatched support of female filmmakers throughout their careers.

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10th Film Music Competition: These are the finalists

10th Film Music Competition These Are The Finalists
The three nominees have been determined: they come from the Netherlands, Italy and Ireland.

Over 200 composers from 42 countries entered the 10th International Film Music Competition. The jury, headed by the English Academy Award-winning film score composer Rachel Portman, has chosen three compositions to enter the final on September 29. The finalists’ compositions will be world premiered during the Zurich Film Festival at the Tonhalle Zurich by the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich.

This year, and for the tenth time, the Zurich Film Festival and the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich AG once again collaborate with the Forum Filmmusik to present «Cinema in Concert». Interest in the competition has risen continuously over the last few years. «It is now safe to say that the Film Music Competition has become established internationally,» says Festival Director Christian Jungen. He continues, «That’s a fantastic omen for the 10-year anniversary.»

218 composers from 42 countries took part in the competition with their unique scoring of the given short film THE FOUNDLING by Barney Cokeliss. Three of these entrants have now made it to the final, and their compositions will be world premiered during the Zurich Film Festival on September 29, 2022 at the the Tonhalle Zurich by the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich. The jury will choose the winning composition on the same evening and present the Golden Eye for “Best International Film Music” endowed with a CHF 10’000 cash prize.

The three finalists of 2022 are:

  • Nicolò Braghiroli (Italy)
  • Robert IJserinkhuijsen (Netherlands)
  • Elliot Murphy (Ireland)
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Apply now for the Prix Pathé

Apply Now For The Prix Pathé
Last year Florian Keller won the Prix Pathé. © Ottavia Bosello

The Prix Pathé for Film Journalism will be awarded for the 16th time in 2022. It rewards outstanding film criticism and is endowed with a 10’000 Swiss franc prize. The call for entries is open until July 24.


The Prix Pathé will be awarded again this year to a film journalist for an outstanding film criticism. It is sponsored by the cinema chain Pathé Switzerland and the distribution company Pathé Films, and is endowed with 10,000 Swiss francs. All film journalists with a film review of at least 3,000 characters or an audio-visual contribution of at least 60 seconds, published in a Swiss medium, are eligible to apply. Reviews of feature films published between June 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 are eligible. Entries can be submitted electronically to before July 24.

A jury consisting of three film experts will select the best entry from the submissions. The winner will be announced in September. Previous prize winners include Antoine Duplan (“Le Temps”), Michael Sennhauser (SRF 2 Kultur), Simone Meier (“Watson”) and last year’s winner, Florian Keller (“WOZ”).

“We are delighted that we are able to contribute with this prize towards strengthening film journalism”, says Loïc Trocmé, Managing Director of Pathé Films. “Our prize recognises the achievements and importance of film criticism, which should be given our full attention, particularly during times like these.”

Christian Jungen, Artistic Director of the festival, believes once again that the 18th Zurich Film Festival provides the perfect backdrop for the award ceremony. “With over 500 accredited media professionals, the ZFF is an important place to engage with film,” explains Jungen, who himself was a film critic for 25 years and won the Prix Pathé in 2011. “Especially now, when film criticism is under pressure from cost-cutting measures in the media sector, we want to send a signal with the Prix Pathé in recognition of this profession.”

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