Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) as Springboard / ZFF Highlights at the Oscars 2013

27. February 2013

Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) screens films and invites honorary guests that generate impressive headlines throughout the awards season. ARGO and AMOUR triumphed at the Golden Globe Awards, the British BAFTA awards and at the Oscars. Other films presented in Zurich in 2012, including the ZFF highlight BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, received Oscar nominations. With an ever-increasing number of ZFF film entries finding their way into local cinemas, Zurich Film Festival can also celebrate its success as a national promoter. What’s more, success can be measured in retrospect: Zurich Film Festival introduces films and personalities to its public that cause a sensation at the world’s most prestigious big-screen competitions the following year, namely the Golden Globes and Oscars. In its 8th edition, the Zurich based ‘celebration of cinema’ presented a number of works and invited several guests who are far from unfamiliar within the world of awards and who were quite successful at this year’s Academy Awards.


Triumph at the Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards. Ben Affleck’s hostage thriller ARGO was awarded Best Motion Picture and Michael Haneke’s film AMOUR triumphed at the Golden Globes in mid-January. Affleck also pushed heavyweights Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino aside to win the race for Best Director, while Haneke’s sensitive romantic drama took the award for Best Foreign Language Film; AMOUR also prevailed in the same category at the British BAFTA Awards on February 11. Ben Affleck and his film ARGO snapped up an additional two top-category BAFTA awards for Best Film and Best Director. ARGO collected a total of 5 Golden Globe Nominations; Helen Hunt was also nominated for her role in THE SESSIONS, which she presented to the ZFF public in person in 2012. Helen Hunt’s co-star John Hawkes made the top five, as did and Richard Gere, who was celebrated in Zurich for his role in ARBITRAGE.


Resounding success at the Oscars 2013 for AMOUR and ARGO. It was expected that ARGO and AMOUR (7 and 5 nominations respectively) would be among the Oscar favorites. The Oscar for Best Picture went to ARGO and was accepted on Sunday evening by the film's producers Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov. ARGO also won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing. AMOUR won in the category of Best Foreign Language Film, and Austrian director Michael Haneke personally accepted the Oscar. Surprising competition came from BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, meriting four nominations, among them Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay as well as Best Director for rising star Benh Zeitlin, who was also a guest lecturer at one of last year’s highly-regarded Zurich Master Class sessions. Familiar to local cinemagoers were two nominees for Best Actress: 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD), the youngest actress ever nominated, and the 85 year-old, much applauded ZFF guest, Emmanuelle Riva (AMOUR), who also won the BAFTA Pendant on February 11, the oldest actress ever to be nominated in this category. Last but not least, Helen Hunt (THE SESSIONS) was among the nominees for Best Supporting Actress. At last year’s festival, the ZFF public was able to make up its own mind about two of the five nominated documentary films screened at ZFF in this section, 5 BROKEN CAMERAS and HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE.


Zurich Film Festival as a Platform for the National Cinema Market. Numerous productions from last year’s International and German-language competition sections found their way into Swiss cinemas, including OH BOY, END OF WATCH and BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. The documentary film APPASSIONATA, which won the 2012 ZFF’s Audience Award for its sensitive portrayal of the Swiss immigrant and Ukrainian pianist Alena Cherny, opens in Swiss cinemas on March 7. The ZFF competition entry PAUL BOWLES: THE CAGE DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN, which celebrated its World Premiere in Zurich, went on to screen at last week’s Berlinale and will be released in theatres later this year.