Unexpected by the epidemic, the Zurich Film Festival begins this month with an impressive lineup that includes his biggest film, James Bond, “No Time to Die”, which will be released a few minutes after its world premiere on September 28 in London.
Zurich is one of the few big festivals for full-fledged physical events last year during the Covid crisis. Despite concerns about the new look, organizers are confident that health care measures will ensure a welcome return to the cinema hall. Christian Jungen, ZFF’s artistic director, said the festival is working with embassies to bring guests from other countries safely and relies on a verification process that includes vaccination certificates, current negative covid test results or evidence of recovery from infection.
“Here until today in Zurich, 70% of the population is vaccinated,” he says. “The city of Zurich has one of the highest rates in Switzerland and I am really confident that we can do the festival without masks and in full theater. [with] Lots of happy people. September 2 marks the beginning of Michael Steiner’s “And Tomorrow We Will Be Dead”, a truth-based drama about a Swiss couple who was taken hostage by the Taliban during a 2011 trip to Pakistan.
“We saw this long before the Taliban took over Afghanistan,” Jungen said. “Michael Steiner is my personal favorite because he is a writer but who makes films with blockbuster appeal.” Noting that Steiner’s films have been hugely successful locally, Jungen said, “And tomorrow we’ll be dead.” Steiner’s previous feature, “Awakening of the Fat Olkenbruch,” similarly premiered in Zurich before being caught by Netflix.
ZFF has become a major platform for Swiss films, featuring major festivals such as Berlin, Cannes, Venice and Sundance. “We want to be supportive of this trend.” Most of Switzerland’s biggest box office hits have premiered at the festival. “Two-thirds of the Swiss film industry is located in Zurich, so it’s our role to do something for Swiss cinema.” Jungen, who took over as artistic director last year, has expanded the focus of the festival by maintaining its long-standing relationship with Hollywood.
“The Zurich Festival is known for its strong American presence,” he says. “If you look at how many stars there are here, it’s pretty impressive, even if you compare it to a big festival. One of the reasons you can do a film position for the Oscars while playing in Zurich.
Among the last 10 best picture winners, five are Zurich and several of them, ‘Spotlight’ or ‘Green Book’, for example, as the European premiere. So it’s a good launchpad for Oscar films and I want to maintain this high-level American presence.
“What I’ve added is to focus more on the French-speaking region, because I personally like Francophile-I like French movies.” Also on a music subject, Jungen has formed a collaboration with the ZFF and Montreux Jazz Festival and this year launched a section called Sounds, which presents music films, and concerts will be a highlight of the event.
Ray Parker Jr., who attended Zurich for the premiere of French Strain’s “Who You’re Called” last year, is returning to play a series of concerts with an all-star band of musicians সক all of whom have performed in Montreux.
“It brings more emotion to the festival and it’s better to have a concert in the evening.”
While the ZFF will continue the anagona of big stars – going to this year’s Golden Icon Sharon Stone – Jungen says it will also want to celebrate well-known filmmakers. It pays tribute to Paolo Sorrentino and welcomes Jack Adiard, Todd Haynes and Paul Schrader, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
An impressive prime location is expanding the potential of the ZFF. The 1,65-seat main hall of the restructured Zurich Convention Center has made it possible for the ZFF to land the James Bond film সবচেয়ে the biggest movie since Zurich was founded in 2005. “Since we are a festival, we see ourselves as the proponents of the theatrical experience.”