Golden Eyes awarded to Austria, Mexico and the USA

03. October 2020

The Golden Eyes of the three competitions of the 16th Zurich Film Festival go to HOCHWALD by Evi Romen (Focus Competition), SIN SEÑAS PARTICULARES by Fernanda Valadez (Feature Film Competition) and TIME by Garrett Bradley (Documentary Competition). The Golden Eye for the Best Series goes to CRY WOLF by Maja Jul Larsen, while the children's jury prize goes to THE CLUB OF UGLY CHILDREN by Jonathan Elbers. The prizes were awarded this evening as part of the Award Night in the opera house.


Focus Competition

Angelina Maccarone (Jury President) / Director and writer
Edna Epelbaum / Cinema entrepreneur
Sabine Moser / Producer
Francesco Rizzi / Director and writer
Dan Wechsler / Producer

The Golden Eye of the 16th Zurich Film Festival for the best film in focus competition goes to HOCHWALD by Evi Romen (Austria, Belgium). The film tells the story of Mario, who breaks out of his South Tyrolean homeland with his childhood friend Lenz and visits a gay bar in Rome with him. When Lenz falls victim during an armed attack, Mario returns to his home village, where his life gradually falls apart.


The jury justified its choice as follows: “With its variety of topics, HOCHWALD is taking a risk that the main actor Thomas Prenn knows how to master at every point. We follow him through the most dramatic twists and turns that confront us with his role as an outsider and our prejudices. The director Evi Romen convinced us with the choice and staging of her cast and the way she handled the narrative rhythm and visuality. We are curious about her further cinematic work."

Special mentions go to ONE OF THESE DAYS by Bastian Günther (Germany, USA) and WOOD by Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan, Michaela Kirst and Ebba Sinzinger (Austria, Germany, Romania).

Feature Film Competition

Michel Franco (Jury President) / Director, writer, producer
Karim Aïnouz / Director, writer, artist
Ellen Harrington / Producer, film researcher and curator

The Golden Eye of the 16th Zurich Film Festival for the best film in the feature film competition goes to SIN SEÑAS PARTICULARES by Fernanda Valadez (Mexico, Spain). The drama revolves around Magdalena, who travels north through a desolate Mexican landscape in search of her son, who left for the United States and is presumed to be dead.


“This fearless, magical, haunting and all-too-real film begins as a straight-line journey and then takes the viewer into a cinematic world where monsters are real ... Focusing on a humanitarian crisis that has left empty villages and armies of people, this film is a comprehensive portrait of a tragedy. It is a breath-taking approximation of a war fable, and it can be associated with many places around the world that are internally at war. This outstanding first feature film from a group of exceptional artists refuses to set up any stereotypes about what a film made by women can be.” the jury stated.

Documentary Competition

Vitaly Mansky (Jury President) / Director
Gabriela Bussmann / Producer
Susanne Regina Meures / Director

The Golden Eye of the 16th Zurich Film Festival for the best film in the documentary competition goes to TIME by Garrett Bradley (USA). The long-term documentary portrays Sibil and her husband Rob, who are said to have robbed a bank 21 years ago. While she got away with a minor sentence, he was sentenced to 60 years in Louisiana State Prison. Sibil has been fighting for the pardon of her husband for two decades - and records family life with a video camera.


The jury justified their choice as follows: “The film looks back in an impressive way on twenty years of struggle for justice. Using original material and archive home videos, the director creates a portrait of a woman that expands into a complex chronicle of a marriage, a family, a community and ultimately a country. Heartbreaking and passionate, the film offers an intimate and haunting look at a long history of police misconduct and social discrimination. The evocative black and white film adaptation creates a fundamental feeling of timelessness in which injustices persist. It's a film about strength and resilience and ultimately about hope.”

Special mentions go to THE EARTH IS BLUE AS AN ORANGE by Iryna Tsilyk (Ukraine, Lithuania) and ACASĂ, MY HOME by Radu Ciorniciuc (Romania).


Nir Bergmann (Jury President) / Director and writer
Baran bo Odar / Director
Sabine Steyer-Violet / Producer and writer

The Golden Eye of the 16th Zurich Film Festival for the best Series goes to CRY WOLF by Maja Jul Larsen (Denmark). The series is about 14-year-old Holly, who accuses her stepfather of raping her in a school essay. Holly's mother and the accused himself portray the serious allegations as fantasies and the search for the truth between the two statements begins.


“Domestic violence is an important topic, but that is not the reason why we have been so amazed by the series. The way Maja Jul Larsen has build this complex family story is a masterpiece. The characters are so well written, that you forget to breath sometimes while you are in their present. The directing by Pernille Fischer Christensen and the performance of the actresses and actors is sofine and well nuanced, that you stay with them every minute and constantly ask yourself what happened? Who is telling the truth? And you got to know where is this going to,” the jury stated.

A special mention goes to ANTIDISTURBIOS by Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Isabel Peña (Spain).

Audience Award
Karin Heberlein was able to win over audiences with her feature film SAMI, JOE UND ICH. The winning film tells the story of the three girls Sami, Joe and Leyla, who are confronted with various problems at the end of their school days together.


Critics’ Prize
The Critics' Jury Prize goes to the documentary 80.000 SCHNITZEL by Hannah Schweier (Germany). It documents the life of the 83-year-old landlady Berta and her granddaughter Monika, who are trying to save the family business in Upper Palatinate together. The Jury consists of Murièle Weber, Geri Krebs and Majid Movasseghi.

Prize of the Children's Jury
Jonathan Elbers won over the 30-member children's jury with his drama THE CLUB OF UGLY CHILDREN, winning the Children's Jury Prize. The film tackles topics such as discrimination, independence and friendship.


ZFF for Kids Audience Award
The audience award of the "ZFF for Kids" section goes to LITTLE CRUMB by Diede In't Veld from the Netherlands, who recreates the classic children's book.

Science Film Award
The Science Award, launched by Eye on Science, will be presented for the second time this year and will be presented to Nathan Grossman for his documentary I AM GRETA, in which he closely follows the Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg on her mission to stop climate change. The jury justified their choice as follows: “Although everyone has heard of Greta, this documentary shows the person behind the icon. In this way, the filmmaker is able to be part of Greta's journey from the very beginning. With sensitivity and respect, he creates a fascinating and insightful portrait that focuses closely on how this young woman, with unique determination, goes from being a child to the catalyst of a worldwide movement with her call ‘I want you to unite behind science!’”

Film Award of the Churches of Zurich
The Swiss coming-of-age drama SAMI, JOE UND ICH by Karin Heberlein was awarded the film prize of the Zurich Churches last Thursday, October 1st. “The director's acting is convincing through its precision and empathy. The actresses' authentic play is impressive”, the jury stated.

Treatment Award
The film FLESH AND BLOOD by Ares Ceylan convinced the jury headed by President Rolf Lyssy, to award it the Treatment Award. Lyssy explains: “A fictional film story has to be convincing even at the exposé level. This is what Ares Ceylan's tragicomic road movie exposé FLESH AND BLOOD does in a partly funny, partly touching way.”

The winners of ZFF 72
Yesterday evening the winning films of the ZFF 72 competition were announced. The participants had the task of making a short film on the topic of "Heroes" within 72 hours. Out of more than 180 submissions, three films were awarded. All submitted films are available on

by Marty Trezzini (Jury Award)

THE REAL HERO by Lutharsan Sivalingarajah (Viewers Award)

BOOT_CLIP by Cyril Fischer (Mobile Filming Award)