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Guests of Honour


Paolo Sorrentino

A Tribute to... Award: Paolo Sorrentino

His work ignites a firework of aesthetic imagery. Paolo Sorrentino creates movies that delight both audiences and critics alike, and give testimony to his great artistic range.

Naples-born Paolo Sorrentino has been working as a screenwriter and director since the 1990s. His very first feature L’UOMO IN PIÙ (2001) brought him the Nastro d'Argento for Best Emerging Director. This was followed by LE CONSEGUENZE DELL'AMORE (2004), L'AMICO DI FAMIGLIA (2006) and IL DIVO (2008), both of which screened in competition at Cannes, the latter winning the Jury Award. The auteur filmmaker earned wider international praise for THIS MUST BE THE PLACE (2011), which screened at the 7th Zurich Film Festival. Moreover, the critically acclaimed LA GRANDE BELLEZZA (2013) won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film. His political film LORO (2018) was in the Official Selection of the 14th Zurich Film Festival. In more recent years, the Italian has made waves with the miniseries THE YOUNG POPE (2016) and its sequel THE NEW POPE (2020).

He will present his latest work È STATA LA MANO DI DIO at this year’s ZFF. Paolo Sorrentino accepts the A Tribute to… Award on September 29. The ZFF further honours the director with a 10-title retrospective.

Sharon Stone

Golden Icon Award: Sharon Stone

She captivates the audience like no other: acting icon Sharon Stone conquers the big screen with her irresistible charm, human depth and incredible acting versatility.

American actress Sharon Stone made movie history in 1992, after appearing as the femme fatale in BASIC INSTINCT. However, Stone refused to be typecast as a man-eating vamp. In fact, the actress, who recently published her memoirs in the New York Times bestseller “The Beauty of Living Twice”, has since proven herself to be an exceedingly versatile character actress. She especially shined in Martin Scorsese’s CASINO (1995), which brought her an Oscar Nomination and a Golden Globe for Best Actress. Two further Golden Globe Nominations followed: one for her dramatic performance in THE MIGHTY (1998) and the other for her comedic talent in THE MUSE (1999). Additionally, Stone not only proved her versatility in the world of independent cinema, by collaborating with such directors as Jim Jarmusch on BROKEN FLOWERS (2005) and John Turturro on LOVELACE (2013), but she also delivered inspiring performances in TV series, culminating in an Emmy for her impressive performance in THE PRACTICE (2004). Now, in 2021, she has been honoured with France’s highest accolade for creative artistry, the “Commandeur des Arts et Lettres”.

The ZFF honours Sharon Stone with the Golden Icon Award, the festival’s most prestigious prize. The actress will receive the Golden Eye on Saturday, 25 September. The award ceremony will be followed by a screening of the cult classic CASINO.

Paul Schrader

Lifetime Achievement Award: Paul Schrader

Widely considered an icon of New Hollywood, American director and screenwriter Paul Schrader wrote himself into cinema history, when he penned the screenplays for Scorsese’s TAXI DRIVER and RAGING BULL. His own directorial works, such as AMERICAN GIGOLO, have also earned him wide international attention.

Schrader, who had a strict Calvinist upbringing, had never seen a movie theatre from the inside, until he turned 18. The moment he saw Ingmar Bergman’s THE SEVENTH SEAL, the back then theology student discovered his passion for film. He met the critic Pauline Kael, who helped him get a place at UCLA Film School and became his mentor. After making a name for himself as a film critic, Schrader began to write his own screenplays. Sydney Pollack filmed his first work, the gangster thriller YAKUZA (1974). This was followed by screenplays for Brian De Palma’s OBSESSION and Martin Scorsese’s TAXI DRIVER (both 1976), which marked Schrader’s breakthrough as a screenwriter. He also successfully directed the masterpiece that would launch Richard Gere’s career, AMERICAN GIGOLO (1980). His list of renowned works further include the horror movie CAT PEOPLE (1982) and the drama FIRST REFORMED (2019), which earned him the Oscar Nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Schraders œuvre now comprises more than 30 films as a director or author. He will present his most recent film THE CARD COUNTER in Zurich. The filmmaker will accept the Lifetime Achievement Award for his life’s work in person at Zurich Convention Center on Friday, October 1.

Mychael Danna

Career Achievement Award: Mychael Danna

The uniqueness of Canadian film score composer and Oscar winner Mychael Danna lies in his ability to fuse various world-music styles from across the ages with traditional orchestration, thus transforming movies into a magical experience.

Mychael Danna has already scored more than a 100 films and TV series, and gained international acclaim, especially for his unforgettable melodies in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (2006). His imaginative, transcultural score for Ang Lee’s masterpiece LIFE OF PI was awarded an Oscar, a Golden Globe and an Emmy. Further collaborations followed, with renowned directors such as Terry Gilliam and Denzel Washington. In 2016, he was crowned the Hollywood Film Awards’ Composer of the Year. Danna was also able to exhibit his playful side, while collaborating with his brother, Jeff Danna, on Disney’s Pixar animated movie ONWARD (2020). The ZFF, too, has already experienced the delights of his experimental soundscapes in movies such as MONEYBALL (2011) and AFTER THE WEDDING (2019). Danna’s complex and multi-ethnic blending of styles always elevates the visual experience to another dimension.

The Career Achievement Award will be presented to Mychael Danna during the 9th International Film Music Competition, where the Canadian presides over this year’s jury. Music from one of his works will be performed during the awarding ceremony on September 30, 2021 at the Tonhalle Zurich.