ZURICH – The 8th Zurich Film Festival all but ended with tonight’s announcement of its four feature winners, including Rufus Norris’ adolescent drama Broken and Pola Beck’s pregnancy-themed Breaking Horizons as best international and German-speaking feature, respectively. Bart Layton’s The Imposter, about a young man who weasels his way into a San Antonio family as their lost son, received best international documentary honors, while Gerald Igor Hautzenberger’s Der Prozess, which deals with an Austrian animal-activist’s trial, was singled out as the best German-speaking documentary.
Apart from a trophy, all filmmakers received CHF 20.000 in cash and CHF 60.000 for the marketing of their works in Swiss territories – with the latter acting as an incentive for local distributors to add them to their slates.
The award-ceremony marked a busy ten-day-schedule for the four juries, whose members – including director Frank Darabont, producer Michael Shamberg, casting-agent Deborah Aquila, director Daniel Espinosa, German-pop-icon and former actor Herbert Gronemeyer and actress Julia Jentsch, as well as Austrian producer Gabriele Kranzelbinder – sifted through works by promising first, second or third-time filmmakers.
It also served as a grand-finale to one of the young festival’s most star-studded editions, which could boast of appearances by Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Helen Hunt, Oliver Stone, John Travolta, Heather Graham, producer Jerry Weintraub and director Tom Tykwer. German-actor Til Schweiger cancelled on Tuesday, though, citing health reasons – but only after having previously banned press and general public from the screening of his latest film Schutzengel, which took place as planned.
Coming on the heels of Toronto, Venice and Telluride, the festival provided a rich palette of star-studded films as well, including Ben Affleck’s Argo, Nicolas Jarecki’s Arbitrage and Susanne Bier’s Love is All You Need. But it also was not short on challenging international fare, like Danish-director Tobias Lindholm’s modern-pirate drama A Hijacking, which created intense buzz among the guests, as did Sarah Judith Mettke’s Transpapa, about a young girl’s search for her father, who has since become a woman.
The festival was rounded-out by a host of master-classes from esteemed filmmakers like Weintraub, Darabont and Tykwer, which were open to the public, as well as a film finance forum and a market for German-speaking films for industry-professionals.