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Hashtag #MyReligion: ZFF kneels at the altars of the modern age

CINEMA SABAYA

Each year, Zurich Film Festival deals in its «Hashtag» section with a hot topic that is also trending on social media. This year’s hashtag section screens films under the title #MyReligion. It deals with questions of faith, euphoria and modern deities.   

Is God dead? Has modern society created new deities, religions and cults? What adorns the altars of modern times? Questions like these guide the 2022 ZFF audience through the «Hashtag» section, which, since its inception in 2018, has focused on a topic that has social media buzzing. Last year it was about sex, this year the spotlight is on religions and the many forms they take. «Whether in the U.S.A, Russia or the Middle East, we are seeing a comeback of religions», explains Christian Jungen, Artistic Director of the Zurich Film Festival. «This often leads to conflicts in coexistence within multicultural societies. That’s why this year we are concentrating our efforts on the topic of faith, its merits and its dark sides. But we are also highlighting the substitute religions that are out there now for secular people, such as the Tiktok cult.»

As part of an eight-film programme, #MyReligion aims to take a closer look at what faith and religion mean to people today. «We want to trace the various faiths, try to give them a social context,» says Jungen, adding, «We are not only concerned with historically evolved religions, but also with current ones that cause euphoria within our society and redraw the image of faith. Our screens will put the most diverse faiths in the beam of the projector and also illuminate them critically.»

In total, the «Hashtag» section contains eight selected works that deal with religions and deities in very different ways.

Honk for jesus. save your soul.

HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL.

European Premiere
Comedy
USA, 2022
Director: Adamma Ebo
Cast: Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown, Nicole Beharie, Conphidance, Austin Crute

The Baptist megachurch of the swanky pastor couple had over a ten thousand members before it plunged into self-inflicted ruin. Now Lee-Curtis and his wife, Trinitie, are trying to put God back into perspective. A bitterly wicked satire that uses film-within-a-film elements and the divine work of Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown in the lead roles to take this free church cult for a ride.

Boy from heavenBOY FROM HEAVEN 

Thriller
Sweden, Egypt, 2022
Director: Tarik Saleh
Cast: Tawfeek Barhom, Fares Fares, Yunus Albayrak, Mohammad Bakri, Makram J. Khoury
For Adam, the son of a fisherman, a dream comes true when he receives a scholarship to the renowned Al-Azhar University in Cairo. But shortly after his arrival, the Grand Imam who heads the institution dies, and a power struggle erupts between the religious and political elite. Suddenly, the unassuming Adam finds himself in the middle of this showdown. A fascinating study about the corrupt link between political and religious power in modern Egypt.

El reino de dios the realm of god

EL REINO DE DIOS / THE REALM OF GOD
Coming-of-Age 
Mexico, 2022
Director: Claudia Sainte-Luce
Cast: Diego Armando Lara Lagunes, Margarita Guevara González, Lizbeth Gabriela Nolasco Hernández, Michelle Martínez Hernández

Eight-year-old Neimar leads a modest life with his religious mother and grandmother in a small Mexican town. He enjoys nothing more than spending time with his sidekick Demi or with his beloved racehorses. Neimar is also busy preparing for his upcoming First Communion so that he can finally feel God – but how? When a stroke of fate knocks Neimar’s life sideways, he is forced with greater urgency to come to terms with his faith.

Fire of loveFIRE OF LOVE

Documentary film
USA, 2022
Director: Sara Dosa
Protagonists: Miranda July, Katia Krafft, Maurice Krafft

Katia and Maurice love two things – each other and volcanoes. Driven by their smouldering fascination, the two geoscientists collect rock samples and hours of video footage on their travels. Filmmaker Sara Dosa stitches together the archival footage into a loving tribute to the two rock stars among French volcanologists. The stunning footage is shown in 4:3 format with commentary by artist Miranda July.

Cinema sabayaCINEMA SABAYA

Docufiction
Israel, Belgium, 2022
Director: Orit Fouks Rotem
Cast: Dana Ivgy, Joanna Said, Amal Murkus, Ruth Landau, Yulia Tagil, Marlene Bajali

On the video course of the budding director Rona, nine women of Arab and Jewish origin come together to learn the basics of filmmaking. Sitting in a circle in front of the screen, they present short clips from their everyday lives and learn about their different circumstances. But as they reveal their innermost dreams and secrets, Rona begins to have doubts about their motives. A warm-hearted ode to the unifying power of art.

MedusaMEDUSA

Horror
Brazil, France, 2021
Director: Anita Rocha Da Silveira
Cast: Mari Oliveira, Lara Tremouroux, Joana Medeiros, Felipe Frazão 

21-year-old Mariana lives in a radical Christian community in Brazil, where she does her best to be a moral woman. At night, she and her friends express their religiosity in other ways: Masked, they hunt down and beat up less virtuous women. But then she encounters victims of her gang and her faith begins to waver. A parable about religion, politics and violence in modern Brazil in the form of a horror movie.

Tiktok, boomTIKTOK, BOOM
Documentary film
USA, 2022
Director: Shalini Kantayya 
Protagonists: Richard Cannon III, Spencer X, Feroza Aziz, Jason Zhang, Deja Foxx, Jessica Jaramillo

The videos on TikTok last no longer than a few seconds, but have the explosive power to make their users famous overnight. Feminist Deja Foxx, for example, loudly expresses her opinion in front of her community, while beatboxer Spencer X inspires millions of people with his art. In TIKTOK, BOOM, we dive with the help of numerous experts into the world of the video platform that is taking the market by storm and has the potential to change the world.

La montagneLA MONTAGNE

Mystery / adventure film
France, 2022
Director: Thomas Salvador
Cast: Thomas Salvador, Louise Bourgoin, Martine Chevallier

Pierre, a 40-year-old engineer, travels to Chamonix on business. Irresistibly drawn by the beauty of the Alps, he decides to leave his everyday life behind and set up a bivouac in the high mountains. One night he discovers a shifting luminescence in the darkness and sets out to get to the bottom of the mysterious phenomenon. LA MONTAGNE is a visually captivating story about a dropout who longs to lose himself in the mysticism of nature.

 

Zurich

The Golden Eyes of the 18th ZFF go to films from Switzerland, from Colombia and from the USA

The Golden Eyes Of The 18th ZFF Go To Films From Switzerland, From Colombia And From The USA

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

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 

Jury: 
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

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

Jury:
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

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

Jury: 
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

(more…)

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Zurich

Luca Guadagnino is honoured with the A Tribute to… Award at the Zurich Film Festival

Luca Guadagnino Received The A Tribute To... Award.
Luca Guadagnino received the A Tribute to... Award. © Thomas Niedermüller / Getty for ZFF

Italian director and screenwriter Luca Guadagnino was honoured this evening with the A Tribute to… Award, the Zurich Film Festival’s highest prize for an auteur filmmaker. The award was presented to Guadagnino at the gala premiere of his new film BONES AND ALL at the Corso cinema.


The Zurich Film Festival’s highest award for auteur filmmakers, the Tribute to… Award, was presented to Luca Guadagnino this evening on the occasion of his new feature film BONES AND ALL at the Corso cinema. The Italian was very pleased to be able to attend the ZFF for the second time and emphasised: “Thank you so much, thank you Zurich Film Festival, thank you Christian Jungen. I am very touched by your words, very grateful.” Luca Guadagnino explained about his work: “I like to look at things and I like to look at people, very very much. And this job I do, that gathers people, is like a safe space for me, because there I can look at people and I can do something that normally you cannot do, but I am allowed to. And I am very grateful.”

Luca Guadagnino has found his very own place in contemporary Italian cinema with his films: They delight audiences and critics alike, and the director, born in Palermo in 1971, has found a film language that makes him unmistakable. At the latest since his global success CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (2017), which premiered at the Zurich Film Festival, Guadagnino has also become one of the most sought-after directors internationally. 

Christian Jungen, Artistic Director of the ZFF, said: “What I admire about Luca Guadagnino is that he always steps out of his comfort zone and challenges himself – each film is unique and surprises us anew.” He then continued about Guadagnino’s work: “His cinema is perfectly in form because he finds the right visual language, the right rhythm and the right actors for his stories. It is almost impossible to love cinema but disregard Guadagnino.”

BONES AND ALL is a story of first love between Maren (Taylor Russell), a young woman learning how to survive on the margins of society, and Lee (Timothée Chalamet), an intense and disenfranchised drifter, as they meet and join together for a thousand-mile odyssey which takes them through the back roads, hidden passages and trap doors of Ronald Reagan’s America. But despite their best efforts, all roads lead back to their terrifying pasts and to a final stand that will determine whether their love can survive their otherness.

Luca guadagninos latest film bones and all

Luca Guadagninos latest film BONES AND ALL © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

Luca Guadagnino convinces with his diversity and surprises his audience again and again: In 2015, Guadagnino did a remake of the 1968 movie LA PISCINE with the title A BIGGER SPLASH; director Jacques Deray created a cult movie starring Romy Schneider and Alain Delon, Guadagnino succeeded this with a remake starring Tilda Swinton that has almost nothing in common with the original and weaves sociopolitical traits into the plot. In 2018, Guadagnino dived headlong into the horrifying spheres of an abominable dance company with his remake of the Dario Argento classic SUSPIRIA. Tilda Swinton was part of the cast for this one, too; the actress is like a common thread that runs through Guadagnino’s work: He created a 35-minute short film from his first encounter with Swinton, which happened to be an interview with her at the Hotel Majestic in Cannes in 2002. Guadagnino’s breakthrough came in 2005 with MELISSA P, the film adaptation of the novel “With Closed Eyes” by Melissa Panarello. His IO SONO L’AMORE – again with Tilda Swinton – received a Golden Globe nomination. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME received four Oscar nominations, with James Ivory winning the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Zurich Film Festival presents The A Tribute to… Award to auteur filmmakers for their contribution to film history. Former recipients include Paolo Sorrentino, Wim Wenders, Olivier Assayas, Claire Denis, Michael Haneke, Oliver Stone and Maïwenn.

The complete programme of the 18th Zurich Film Festival (22 September to 2 October) is available on  website. 

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Zurich

ZFF celebrates the Zurich Film Night

ZFF Celebrates The Zurich Film Night
Director Laura Kaehr and lead actress Giulia Tonelli from BECOMING GIULIA with Corine Mauch during the Zurich Film Night. © Zurich Film Festival

The Zurich Film Festival turns the spotlight on Switzerland’s film capital: The Zurich Film Stroll – a tour along the value chain of the filmmaking business – took place yesterday. Companies opened their doors to offer interested visitors unique insights into the world of filmmaking. At the end of the day, guests from film and politics gathered together for the Zurich Film Night, where director Laura Kaehr joined Felix von Muralt and Stéphane Kuthy in a panel to present the interplay between directing and camera work, using the example of their documentary BECOMING GIULIA.

Domestic filmmaking proves its value at the ZFF. The Zurich Film Night is a collaborative event between the ZFF and the Zürcher Filmstiftung that highlights the economic and social importance of filmmaking. Christian Jungen, ZFF Artistic Director, opened the Film Night at the Folium and in his speech drew attention to the highly prevalent film culture in the city of Zurich, “Even international guests visiting the Zurich Film Festival are amazed at the great cinema city that we are.” The festival wishes to impact not only internationally, but on a local level, too. “We want to be a platform of exchange where the population can also come into contact with the local film scene.” said Jungen.

Mayor of Zurich and president of the Zürcher Filmstiftung Corine Mauch was equally pleased and proud about Zurich’s film culture, “I’m delighted to hear that international guests have noticed that Zurich is a city of culture, and also that culture is very important to us.” The aim of the Zurich Film Night is to celebrate this, “This Film Night, we want to celebrate filmmaking, a filmmaking that plays an important role in our region,” continued the Mayor.

During an entertaining panel, director Laura Kaehr and cameraman Felix von Muralt discussed the close collaboration between director and cameraman, and gave exclusive insights into the challenges of producing a documentary film. The discussion was chaired by Monika Schärer. The guests of the Zurich Film Night then gathered at the Arena Cinema to view BECOMING GIULIA. The screening was followed by a Q&A session that enabled Kaehr and von Muralt to offer a deeper insight into the filming process.

The 3rd Zurich Film Stroll took place during the day. Interested visitors took the opportunity to stroll the entire city in order to gain a behind-the-scenes peek at Zurich’s filmmaking business. Various doers and makers of the Zurich film industry, from production through to distribution, presented their work, including the team of costume designers behind the Swiss production THE ROBBER HOTZENPLOTZ. This year also saw an exclusive guided tour through the city to the original filming locations of ZWINGLI, which was led by Stefan Haupt (director) and Monika Schmid (costume).

Many thanks to the companies that opened their doors yesterday and took part in the Zurich Film Day: 

Aaron Film GmbhAbrakadabra Films AGAtelier – Eis am SeeGlaus&Gut Casting GmbHJingle Jungle AGMaximage GmbH, Rudolf JostShining Film AG, Studio uuuh! KLGSwiss Film School SFSZürcher Filmstiftung 

You can find the entire programme of the 18th Zurich Film Festival (Sept 22-Oct 2, 2022) on website.

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