Golden Eye Award Helen Hunt

Helen Hunt has enjoyed a diverse career not only as an award winning actress, but more recently as an accomplished writer, director and producer.  As an actress, her extensive and diverse body of work includes roles in film, theater, and television.

In 2011, she completed two independent film projects - Steven Bernstein’s DECODING ANNIE PARKER with Samantha Morton as well as Ben Lewin’s THE SURROGATE opposite John Hawkes and William H. Macy. THE SURROGATE re-named THE SESSIONS premiered in competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and took home the Audience Award as well as the jury prize for Best Ensemble.  Within hours of the premiere the film was sold to indie giant Fox Searchlight for a festival record. THE SESSIONS is scheduled to open in theaters this fall.

Some of Hunt’s recent TV work includes “Mad About You” and the critically acclaimed HBO Miniseries “Empire Falls”.  For her role as Jamie Buchman in “Mad About You”, Hunt garnered four Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards (three as lead actress and one as Producer for Best Comedy), and a Screen Actors Guild Award.  She was also named “Best Actress” for her role in the film AS GOOD AS IT GETS for which Hunt won a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Oscar.  

Hunt has directed television episodes of “Mad About You”; “The Paul Reiser Show” and most recently an upcoming installment of Showtime’s “Californication”.  In 2007, she directed her first feature film THEN SHE FOUND ME based on a novel by Elinor Lipman..  Hunt also co-wrote, produced, and starred in this critically acclaimed and commercially successful film opposite Colin Firth, Matthew Broderick, and Bette Midler.

Hunt is equally accomplished theater actress who most recently reprised the role of ‘Stage Manager’ in David Cromer’s latest production of Our Town at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica this past January and February.  Ms. Hunt first played the role of ‘Stage Manager’ in the 2010 New York production of Our Town at the Barrow Street Theater.  Additional theater credits include Twelfth Night (Viola) at Lincoln Center and Life X Three at Circle in the Square Theater.  Other theatre credits are Taming of the Shrew at NYSF-Shakespeare in the Park; Been Taken at EST; Much Ado About Nothing (Beatrice) at the Shakespeare Center L.A;, The Guys and Methusalem with the Actor’s Gang; The Value of Names at the Skylight Theatre; and Love Letters in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston.

A Los Angeles native, Hunt grew up in an artistic environment.  Her father, Gordon Hunt, is a director and respected acting coach.  Hunt currently lives in Los Angeles with her partner, Matthew Carnahan, her daughter Makena Lei and her stepson Emmett.            

Golden Icon Award Richard Gere

With his exceptional talent for playing strong characters, Richard Gere has been an influential figure on the big screen since the 1980s. The Zurich Film Festival honours him for his life’s work.

Richard Gere began his career in theatre in the late ‘60s. In 1973 he played the role of Danny Zuko in a London production of the musical, Grease. Big screen success came when he played the lead in Paul Schrader’s erotic drama, AMERICAN GIGOLO (1980). It was his performance alongside Debra Winger in AN OFFICER AND GENTLEMAN (1982) that sealed his stardom.

Great Popularity

Gere celebrated his greatest successes in the earlier ‘90s, starring in the romantic comedy PRETTY WOMAN alongside Julia Roberts. The film was a huge success story. The films that followed also captivated the public, including the drama SOMMERSBY (1993) and comedy RUNAWAY BRIDE (1999) in which he was reunited with his Pretty Woman co-star, Julia Roberts. In 2003, Gere embodied smart lawyer Billy Flynn to give a truly spectacular premiere performance as a dancer and singer alongside Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the multi Oscar winning film adaptation of the musical CHICAGO – and pocketed a Golden Globe along the way.

Character Roles

In addition to his acclaimed star making performances, Gere has also embraced an array of character roles, including Jesse Lujack in Jim McBride’s remake of Godard’s BREATHLESS (1983), as a jazz trumpeter in Francis Ford Coppola’s THE COTTON CLUB (1984) and, more recently, as the deceitful author, Clifford Irving, in Lasse Hallström’s THE HOAX (2006). In 2007, Gere was a member of the ensemble of postmodern Dylan biography I’M NOT THERE. In his latest work ARBITRAGE, Gere plays an ambitious financial investor, sinking into a moral slump when his financial empire begins to crumble.  

Richard Gere will accept the Golden Icon Award in person on September 23 at the cinema corso. Susan Sarandon will deliver the laudation. The Zurich Film Festival celebrates the actor with a retrospective screening of his most important films.

 

Career Achievement Award Jerry Weintraub

Jerry Weintraub has been one of the most influential producers in Hollywood for over 50 years. As an agent, manager and concert organiser, Weintraub worked with such greats as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra before moving into the film business. The Zurich Film Festival honours him for his life’s work as a producer. 

 Born in New York in 1937, Weintraub’s career began in the music industry. After working as an agent for MCA, at the age of 26 he was given the responsibility of producing Elvis Presley’s legendary arena tour. By the ‘70s, he had become the world’s most successful concert organiser: He promoted the careers of artists such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, The Carpenters and The Beach Boys. He also discovered and managed John Denver.

 An Eye for Directing and Acting Talent

Weintraub’s first work as producer was with Robert Altman’s ensemble film NASHVILLE (1975), which, to the surprise of many, was nominated for several Oscars. He continued to follow his nose for great talent and went on to produce Barry Levinson’s debut DINER in 1982. The film became a springboard for the careers of such renowned actors as Mickey Rourke and Kevin Bacon. In 1984, Weintraub celebrated one of his most commercially successful films ever, THE KARATE KID. He produced both the movie series and the 2010’s remake, starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.

The Ocean’s Trilogy

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Weintraub’s OCEAN’S ELEVEN brought together some of the biggest Hollywood stars of our time, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts. The film was followed by sequels OCEAN’S TWELVE (2004) and OCEAN’S THIRTEEN (2007). Weintraub is currently producing a film about the pianist and entertainer, Liberace. The film will be directed by Steven Soderbergh and star Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.

Jerry Weintraub will accept the Career Achievement Award in person on September 26, 2012 – his 75th birthday – at the cinema corso. Secure your tickets now! The Zurich Film Festival celebrates the producer and filmmaker with a retrospective screening of his most important films.  

 

A Tribute To ... Tom Tykwer

Tom Tykwer is one of the few German-language directors whose productions have captivated both European and American audiences. The Zurich Film Festival honours him for his life’s work as a director. 

At the beginning of the 1980s, film buff Tom Tykwer became the programmer at Berlin’s Movimento cinema. His first feature film was 1993’s DIE TÖDLICHE MARIA. His directing breakthrough came in 1998 with LOLA RENNT, which achieved cult status not only in Germany and turned Moritz Bleibtreu and Franka Potente into overnight stars. 

Between America and Europe

Tykwer directed his first English-language film, HEAVEN, in 2002. The film came to be after Miramax offered him a screenplay from the Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski’s estate. The lead roles were played by Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi. Tykwer went on to shoot the short film TRUE for the compilation project, PARIS JE T’AIME, before joining forces with Bernd Eichinger to bring his next film, DAS PARFUM, to the big screen. The film would go on to be a box office hit. His first American film, the political thriller THE INTERNATIONAL, starred Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. The film opened the 2009 Berlinale.

Activities as a Producer

In addition to his work as a director, Tykwer is also a producer. In 1994, he founded the X Filme Creative Pool production company with Stefan Arndt, Dani Levy and Wolfgang Becker, producing such films as ABSOLUTE GIGANTEN and several of his own projects. In 2008, he and Marie Steinmann founded One Fine Day Films, which supports creative education projects in East Africa. As part of this project, Tykwer produced SOUL BOY (2009) and NAIROBI HALF LIFE (2012), which will receive its European premiere here at this year’s festival. For the last two years, Tykwer has been working as producer and co-director on CLOUD ATLAS, starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. The film will be released in November.

Tom Tykwer will accept the Golden Eye in person on September 29. The Zurich Film Festival will celebrate the director and producer with a retrospective screening of four of his most important films. 

 

Lifetime Achievement Award John Travolta

As an actor, John Travolta has influenced two generations. The first grew up in the 70s and loves him for his unmistakable dance sequences. The second became acquainted with the actor in the 90s in his role as a gangster – with an unmistakable style. The Zurich Film Festival honours him for his life’s work. 

Born in Engelwood, New Jersey, in 1954, the young Travolta left home and high school at 16, to pursue a career in acting. He secured his first role in L.A. in the series WELCOME BACK, KOTTER, which soon became a hit and got the young Travolta noticed in the role of Vinnie Barbarino.

Dance Floor Idol

Soon after, Travolta was cast in the role of disco king Toni Mareno in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977), which brought him an Oscar nomination and made him a cultural icon in the age of disco fever. Despite receiving numerous film offers, Travolta returned to the stage and toured with the musical Grease. He also starred in the film adaptation of the musical, which became the cult film of the decade. At the end of the 80s, Travolta starred alongside Kirstie Alley, as a charming father and cab driverin the box office hit, LOOK WHO’S TALKING.

Comeback as a Gangster

Travolta made an explosive comeback in the mid ‘90sm when he played hitman Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino’s cult gangster film PULP FICTION (1994) – a performance that brought him an Academy Award nomination, and catapulted him back into the spotlight. This was followed by numerous great performances in such films as FACE/OFF (1997) alongside Nicolas Cage, and SWORDFISH (2001) with Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman. Travolta’s latest role is as a corrupt narcotics officer in Oliver Stone’s SAVAGES – which will open this year’s festival.

John Travolta will accept the Golden Eye in person on September 20 at the cinema corso.

The Zurich Film Festival celebrates the actor with screenings of five of his most important films. 

 

Festival Day 2