The 9th International Film Music Competition is Now Open

21. April 2021

A springboard for talented film music composers from around the globe, this year’s International Film Music Competition requires participants to score the award-winning short film ETIQUETA NEGRA (BLACK LABEL) by David Vergés. The call for entries to the 9th International Film Music Competition is now open.

The Zurich Film Festival and the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich AG join forces once again this year with Forum Filmmusik to organise the 9th International Film Music Competition. Entrants to the competition are asked to create a new score of their own making for the film. “We’re really proud to be celebrating the 9th edition of the Film Music Competition this year. It not only enjoys great popularity among composers and audiences, but also carries Zurich’s reputation as a capital of cinema and music to the world,” explains Christian Jungen, Director of the Zurich Film Festival. “And it’s a fine example of how great things can become when you collaborate across interdisciplinary boundaries within the field of culture.”

A jury of internationally renowned music professionals and filmmakers will nominate three works from the competition entries. These three winning compositions will be premiered at the Tonhalle Zürich during the Zurich Film Festival on September 30, 2021 by the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich under the musical direction of Frank Strobel and in the presence of the nominees. A jury of experts will select a winner, who will receive the Golden Eye for “Best International Film Music 2021”, an award endowed with a 10’000 Swiss franc cash prize. "Without music, many a film would only be half as successful”, says Marc Barwisch, Head of Operations of the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich AG. "The power of music - especially in terms of helping to shape the dramaturgy of a film - is enormous. The fact that the soundtrack in many films is dominated by classical music is always a discovery, especially for a younger audience."

Performance by film composer Hans Zimmer at the International Film Music Competition 2014. © Christian Clavadetscher

Three upcoming programme scouts were selected to each find and nominate 5 short films from which the film to be scored for the competition was chosen. A jury of experts comprising Marc Barwisch (Head of Artistic Operations of the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich AG), Markus Welter (director), Pierre Funck (President of Forum Filmmusik) and Reta Guetg (Head of Industry and Senior Programmer at the Zurich Film Festival) chose the winning film from the 15 nominated. The film they selected was nominated by Ivana Kvesić, the Co-Director of the Schweizer Jugendfilmtage and Programmer of the Kurzfilmtage Winterthur as well as Rote Fabrik Zurich, and future director of the animation film festival “Fantoche”. “The competition promises to be exciting because the film is open to a wide variety of scoring possibilities,” informs Pierre Funck.

ETIQUETA NEGRA (BLACK LABEL) tells the story of Erik, a gas station worker who discovers to his great surprise one night that there’s a totally different person hiding inside Alex, a regular female customer. In his short film the Catalan director David Vergés plays expertly with a wide variety of movie genres: drama, comedy, love story and small-time crook story. The film has screened at numerous festivals and scooped several awards.

Composers from around the world who have not scored or orchestrated more than three films with a duration of more than 60 minutes are eligible to enter the competition.

A download link for the film to be scored and further information are available now at