Zurich Film Festival

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Zurich Film Festival
LocationZurich, Switzerland
Founded2005; 18 years ago (2005)
Founded by
Most recent2022
AwardsGolden Eye
Hosted by
  • Zurich Film Festival AG
  • Spoundation Motion Picture AG
Artistic directorChristian Jungen [de]
No. of films146 films from 49 countries
Festival date28 September to 8 October 2023
Websitezff.com/en/home/ Edit this at Wikidata
Zurich Film Festival chronology

Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) is an annual film festival that has been held in Zürich, Switzerland, since 2005. The festival's main focus is to promote emerging filmmakers from all over the world. In three competition categories only first, second or third directoral works are admitted. There are three competition sections: International Feature Film, International Documentary Film and 'Focus: Switzerland, Germany and Austria' which focuses on these three production countries. Several industry events take place in the framework of the festival, such as the ZFF Academy or the international Zurich Summit, which have rendered the film festival an international platform for the film industry.

The ZFF is co-organized by the Zurich Film Festival AG, which is a member of the NZZ Mediengruppe, and the Spoundation Motion Picture AG, a marketing and event management company, in cooperation with local institutions, sponsors as well as national and international distributors and producers.

Nadja Schildknecht, Karl Spoerri and Antoine Monot Jr. founded the festival back in 2005. Until 2020 the festival was co-directed by Nadja Schildknecht (managing director) and Karl Spoerri (artistic director).[1][2] The current artistic director is Christian Jungen,[3] the managing director is Jennifer Somm.[4]

In 2019, more than 100,000 visitors attended the screenings.[5] In 2022 this record was broken as more than 137,000 visitors attended the festival, which featured 146 films from 49 countries.[6]


In 2004, Karl Spoerri and Tim Geser decided to bring the English digital film festival onedotzero_adventures in moving images to Zurich. From 29 to 31 October 2004, the festival was a guest at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Zurich. This small event developed into the Zurich Film Festival and its core team. In spring 2005, Karl Spoerri, Nadja Schildknecht and Antoine Monot, Jr. founded Spoundation Motion Picture GmbH, which has been running the Zurich Film Festival ever since and is headed by Karl Spoerri and Nadja Schildknecht. Antoine Monot, Jr. was Artistic Director from its inception until 2008, before handing over this role to Karl Spoerri.

The 1st Zurich Film Festival (5 to 9 October 2005) was held in the Plaza cinemas in Zurich. The main focus was on debuts - around eight first films were presented in a competition series. Other film series were called "Debut Classics" and "Züri Bellevue", among others. In its first year, the festival was already well received by the public and attracted 8,000 visitors - the press and the industry were still sceptical about the young festival. The "onedotzero_ch" series was part of the ZFF every year until 2011.

In 2006, the 2nd Zurich Film Festival (2 to 6 October 2006) the Golden Eyes were newly awarded in three competition categories (Best Newcomer Feature Film, Best Newcomer Documentary Film as well as Debut Feature Film). New programme sections included "New World View", which continues to this day. The 2nd ZFF already registered more than 18,000 viewers and over 600 accredited industry participants.

The young Zurich Film Festival took a big leap in 2007 when it was held for the first time over the length of 11 days. Over 50 world, European or Swiss premieres were presented on the "Film Mile" along the Limmat. The number of spectators rose to 27,000 within three years. For the first time, the Zurich Film Festival had a centre in the heart of the city: a large tent on Rathausplatz became the meeting place for cinema enthusiasts and filmmakers. In 2007, the festival was expanded to include the Zurich Coproduction Forum. From 2008 to 2012, the Zurich Film Festival continued to develop and the number of visitors doubled again.

In 2009, the Zurich Film Festival was overshadowed and at the same time made world famous by a particularly unfortunate incident. Guest of honour Roman Polański was arrested upon entering Switzerland and placed under house arrest for nine months. In 2011 he returned to the Zurich Film Festival to collect his honorary award two years late.

In 2011 a new festival centre was established on the Sechseläutenplatz. The Zurich Opera House has also been established as the venue for the Award Night. In 2011, the ZFF offered school screenings for the first time. In 2012, the ZFF included two films especially for children aged 6 and over and two films for primary school pupils in its programme for the first time.

Since August 2016, the NZZ media group has held a stake in Zurich Film Festival AG, the organiser of the Zurich Film Festival, and in the marketing organisation Spoundation Motion Picture AG.

Programme Sections[edit]


In the competition, only first, second and third directorial works are presented in three categories (10-14 films each):

  • Focus Competition (Switzerland, Germany, Austria)
  • Feature Film Competition
  • Documentary Competition

Film selections out of competition[edit]

Gala Premieres

In the "Gala Premieres" section, excitingly anticipated film premieres by established filmmakers are celebrated every evening mostly in the presence of the director and cast, with both feature film and larger documentary productions being shown. The films are presented as world, European, German-language or Swiss premieres.

Special Screenings

In the "Special Screenings" series, the Zurich Film Festival shows a selection of unique festival hits and brand-new films from the fields of fiction and documentary – whether artistic, experimental or taken from life.


The "Hashtag" section is dedicated to films that focus on current topics and themes that dominate conversations around the world. Various Feature and Documentary Films that shine a light on the issue from different angles will be presented. So far, the focus has been on the following topics:

#Masculinity (2023) | #MyReligion (2022) | #letSEXplore (2021) | #GetUpStandUp (2020) | #SpeakingTheTruth (2019) | #BigData (2018)

New World View

The "New World View" programme puts a spotlight on a new generation of filmmakers from a selected production country that has provided some of the most innovative new filmmaking in recent years. The section has been dedicated to the following countries:

Korea (2023) | Spain (2022) | Tunisia (2021) | France (2020) | Colombia (2019) | Italy (2018) | Hungary (2017) | Mexico (2016) | Iran (2015) | India (2014) | Brazil (2013) | Sweden (2012) | Turkey (2011) | Australia (2010) | Argentina (2009) | Israel (2008) | Russia (2007)

Border Lines

The "Border Lines" section presents films dealing with border situations occurring in present-day world conditions, and humanitarian projects, territorial and social conflicts, and conflicts between individuals and the state. It is organized in collaboration with Amnesty International, Human Rights Partner of ZFF.


The "Window" section comprises windows through which one can take a look at various cinematographic traditions. The "Hong Kong Window" presents a selection of unique and daring new films from Hong Kong ans is presented in collaboration with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Berlin. The "San Sebastián Window" presents a selection of four films from Spain and Latin America that were screened as part of the San Sebastián Film Festival.


The "Sounds" section celebrates the relationship between film and music in all its diverse aspects. With an exquisite selection of feature and documentary films, for once the soundtrack takes center stage - whether the film shines its light on musicians, captivates with exceptional film music, or deals with the topic of sound in a very fundamental way. The program is complemented by two special screenings: One accompanied by live music and one with a live commentary by the film composer.

ZFF for Kids

At the 9th Zurich Film Festival, the children's programme was expanded with a separate audience award. The aim of the film series is to introduce children and young people to sophisticated film culture beyond the mainstream and to strengthen their media competence in a world dominated by images. Since 2020, there has been a year-round ZFF for Kids programme consisting of workshops and cinema screenings.

ZFF Series

At the 10th Zurich Film Festival in 2014, a section was introduced in which TV series are shown. Until the 13th edition, this was called "ZFF TVision" and was renamed "ZFF Series" in 2018. With the renaming, a separate small competition was started, which was held until 2020. Since 2022 series are no longer shown in a separate section.

Guest of honour and Lifetime Achievement Awards[edit]

A Tribute to…[edit]

The A Tribute to… Award honours filmmaking personalities who have had a significant influence on film history. The award winners receive the prize in person in Zurich and usually take part as speakers at the ZFF Masters, where they share their experiences and knowledge with the participants.

Year Name Award
2023 Todd Haynes A Tribute to … Award
2022 Luca Guadagnino A Tribute to … Award
2021 Paolo Sorrentino A Tribute to … Award
2020 Maïwenn A Tribute to … Award
2019 Roland Emmerich A Tribute to … Award
2018 Wim Wenders A Tribute to … Award
2017 Rob Reiner A Tribute to … Award
2016 Olivier Assayas A Tribute to … Award
2015 Mike Leigh A Tribute to … Award
2014 Claire Denis A Tribute to … Award
2013 Michael Haneke A Tribute to … Award
2012 Tom Tykwer A Tribute to … Award
2011 Paul Haggis A Tribute to … Award
2010 Miloš Forman A Tribute to … Award
2009 Roman Polański A Tribute to … Award
2008 Costa-Gavras A Tribute to … Award
2007 Oliver Stone A Tribute to … Award
2006 Stephen Frears A Tribute to … Award
2005 Rainer Werner Fassbinder Retrospektive

Golden Icon Award[edit]

In 2008, the Golden Icon Award was presented for the first time. It's an award that honours the lifetime achievement of an actor or actress. This award goes to a person who has become the icon of an entire generation and whose performance and cinematic work has become unforgettable. Previous award winners include:

Year Name Award
2023 Jessica Chastain Golden Icon Award
2022 Sir Ben Kingsley Golden Icon Award
2021 Sharon Stone Golden Icon Award
2020 Juliette Binoche Golden Icon Award
2019 Cate Blanchett Golden Icon Award
2018 Judi Dench Golden Icon Award
2017 Glenn Close Golden Icon Award
2016 Hugh Grant Golden Icon Award
2015 Arnold Schwarzenegger Golden Icon Award
2014 Diane Keaton Golden Icon Award
2013 Hugh Jackman Golden Icon Award
2012 Richard Gere Golden Icon Award
2011 Sean Penn Golden Icon Award
2010 Michael Douglas Golden Icon Award
2009 Morgan Freeman Golden Icon Award
2008 Sylvester Stallone Golden Icon Award

Career & Lifetime Achievement Awards[edit]

The Career Achievement Award is presented to a personality who has distinguished himself or herself in the field of production, directing or interdisciplinarity. The award winners are honoured with a Golden Eye. The Lifetime Achievement Award honours the life and work of personalities from various fields who have particularly enriched and shaped filmmaking and film history.

Jahr Name Award
2023 Mads Mikkelsen, Diane Kruger Golden Eye Award
Volker Bertelmann, Michel Merkt Career Achievement Award
2022 Eddie Redmayne, Charlotte Gainsbourg Golden Eye Award
Rachel Portman Career Achievement Award
2021 Mychael Danna Career Achievement Award
Paul Schrader Lifetime Achievement Award
Andrey Mordovsky Golden Eye Award
2020 Iris Berben, Til Schweiger Golden Eye Award
Rolf Lyssy Career Achievement Award
2019 Kristen Stewart Golden Eye Award
2018 Donald Sutherland Lifetime Achievement Award
2017 Aaron Sorkin Career Achievement Award
Andrew Garfield, Jake Gyllenhaal Golden Eye Award
2016 Marcel Hoehn Lifetime Achievement Award
Lorenzo di Bonaventura Career Achievement Award
2015 Armin Mueller-Stahl Lifetime Achievement Award
Steve Golin, Liam Hemsworth Career Achievement Award, Golden Eye Award: The New A-Lister
2014 Michael Shamberg Career Achievement Award
Hans Zimmer, John Malkovich Lifetime Achievement Award, Golden Eye Award
2013 Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner Career Achievement Award
Harrison Ford Lifetime Achievement Award
2012 Jerry Weintraub Career Achievement Award
John Travolta, Helen Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award, Golden Eye Award
2011 Alejandro González Iñárritu Career Achievement Award
2009 Michael Keaton Lifetime Achievement Award

Awards and jury[edit]

  • Golden Eye: In each category, a separate, internationally composed jury awards a Golden Eye for the best film. The prize is worth CHF 25,000 (international feature and documentary film competition) or CHF 20,000 (focus). In addition, the winning films will receive promotional measures for distribution in Switzerland.
  • Emerging Swiss Talent Award: All Swiss productions (1st, 2nd or 3rd feature film by the director) screening at the festival are nominated. The prize is endowed with CHF 10,000.
  • Audience Award: The audience chooses their favourite film from all the competition entries by ballot and online voting, which is awarded the Audience Award at the Award Night.

Jury members[edit]

The Golden Eyes are awarded by an international competition jury, which views the films together with the audience during the festival in Zurich. The jury is not bound by any special guidelines in awarding the prizes, but only one film per category can be awarded a Golden Eye.

Year Competition President Jury
2023 Feature Film Anton Corbijn Finola Dwyer, Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, Juho Kuosmanen, Bryce Nielsen
Documentary Feras Fayyad Monica Lazurean-Gorgan, Claudio Cea, Crystal Moselle, Shaunak Sen
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Malte Grunert Gabrielle Tana, Katrin Renz, Heike Parplies, Sven Schelker
2022 Feature Film Asghar Farhadi Clio Barnard, Daniel Dreifuss, Petra Volpe, Piodor Gustafsson
Documentary Alexander Nanau Atanas Georgiev, Joëlle Bertossa, Nina Numankadić, Sushmit Ghosh
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Christine Vachon Fred Baillif, Katharina Mückstein, Maria Fantastica Valmori, Roger Schawinski
2021 Feature Film Daniel Brühl Stéphanie Chuat, Dieter Kosslick, Andrea Cornwell
Documentary Asif Kapadia Hanka Kastelicová, Gregory Kershaw, Sophie Maintigneux, Michela Pini
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Sönke Wortmann Caterina Mona, Pierre Monnard, Sandra Guldberg Kampp, Ada Solomon
2020 Feature Film Michel Franco Karim Aïnouz, Ellen Harrington
Documentary Vitaly Mansky Gabriela Bussmann, Susanne Regina Meures
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Angelina Maccarone Edna Epelbaum, Sabine Moser, Francesco Rizzi, Dan Wechsler
2019 Feature Film Oliver Stone Laura Bispuri, Ciro Guerra, Sebastian Koch, Tiziana Soudani
Documentary Simon Chinn Christian Frei, Maryam Goormaghtigh, Anja Kofmel, Stephen Nemeth
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Thomas Kufus Natascha Beller, Benjamin Herrmann, Marie Kreutzer, Aline Schmid
2018 Feature Film Gabrielle Tana Ana Lily Amirpour, Ann Hui, Max Irons
Documentary Dick Fontaine Talal Derki, Camilla Nielsson, Maya Zinshtein
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Barbara Albert Max Karli, Wolfgang Thaler, Markus Welter
2017 Feature Film Trine Dyrholm Mabel Cheung, Ed Guiney, Michel Merkt, Paul Negoescu, Lucas Ochoa
Documentary Simon Kilmurry Gabór Hörcher, Hanna Polak, Patrik Soergel
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Quirin Berg Anne Fabini, Burhan Qurbani, Anne Walser
2016 Feature Film Lone Scherfig Graham Broadbent, David Farr, Sibel Kekilli
Documentary Mike Lerner Betzabé García, Firouzeh Khosrovani, Stéphane Kuthy, Nadav Schirman
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Bettina Reitz Joel Basman, Nathalie Borgers, Micha Lewinsky, Devid Striesow
2015 Feature Film Elizabeth Karlsen Rosa Attab, Yann Demange, Maria Furtwängler, Katja von Garnier
Documentary Catherine Dussart Abbas Fahdel, Alexander Nanau, Havana Marking, Joelle Alexis
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Nico Hofmann Nick Brandestini, Anika Decker, Alexander Fehling, Birgit Minichmayr
2014 Feature Film Susanne Bier Donald De Line, Marie Masmonteil, Jasmila Zbanic
Documentary Steve James Nick Broomfield, Greg Gorman, Nishtha Jain
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Stefan Arndt Iris Berben, Jan-Ole Gerster, Peter Reichenbach, Anna Thommen
2013 Feature Film Marc Forster Andrew Dominik, Thomas Imbach, Melissa Leo, Guneet Monga, Stacey Sher
Documentary Elizabeth Radshaw Gabriel Mascaro, Ilian Metev, Eugene Panji
Feature Film Switzerland, Germany, Austria Veronica Ferres Jochen Laube, Rolf Lyssy, Manuela Stehr
Documentary Switzerland, Germany, Austria Markus Imhoof Tizza Covi, Sabine Gisiger
2012 Feature Film Frank Darabont Deborah Aquila, Daniél Espinosa, Carlos Leal, Pietro Scalia, Michael Shamberg
Documentary Jessica Yu Mohamed Al-Daradji, Philippe Diaz, Janus Metz
Feature Film Switzerland, Germany, Austria Herbert Grönemeyer Peter Luisi, Florian Flicker, Julia Jentsch, Marcel Hoehn
Documentary Switzerland, Germany, Austria Gabriele Kranzelbinder Martin Hagemann, Stefan Haupt, Mirjam von Arx
2011 Feature Film Laurence Fishburne Beki Probst, John Lesher, Paprika Steen, Alice Eve, Stefan Arsenjevic
Documentary Charles Ferguson, John Battsek, Stephen Nemeth, Eline Flipse, Nino Kirtadze
Feature Film Switzerland, Germany, Austria Xavier Koller, Florian Keller, Pasquale Aleardi, Janine Jackowski, Florian Causen
Documentary Switzerland, Germany, Austria Jacqueline Zünd, Christian Beetz, Güzin Kar, Vincent Lucassen
2010 Feature Film Frank Langella Julia Solomonoff, Carlos Cuaron, Anatole Taubman, Sharon Swart, Barry Gifford
Documentary Chris Paine, Nenad Puhovski, Mark Lewis, Heidi Specogna, Jennifer Fox
Feature Film Switzerland, Germany, Austria Johanna Wokalek, Christoph Schaub, Christof Neracher, Jessica Hausner, Frieder Wittich
2009 Feature Film Debra Winger Pawel Pawlikowski, Randal Kleiser, Anahi Berneri, Dale Launer
Documentary Peter Liechti, Erwin Wagenhofer, Elizabeth Wood
Feature Film Switzerland, Germany, Austria Niki Reiser, Martin Rapold, This Brunner
2008 Feature Film Peter Fonda Stephen Nemeth, Dror Shaul, Hervé Schneid, Michael Dougherty, Andrea Staka
Documentary Walter Hügli, Lorna Tee, Christian Frei
2007 International Feature Film and Documentary Albert S. Ruddy Moritz Bleibtreu, Justus von Dohnanyi, Bettina Oberli, Matthew Modine, Dieter Meier
2006 International Feature Film and Documentary Ed Pressman Jessica Schwarz, This Brunner, Ueli Steiger, Oliver Hirschbiegel
2005 International Feature Film and Documentary Hellmuth Karasek Sabine Timoteo, Michael Steiner, Sigried Narjes, Shane Walter

Award winners[edit]

Laura Mora, director of Golden Eye winner film in 2022

The Zurich Film Festival awards the Golden Eye to the winners of the competition on the last Saturday of the event during a festive Award Night at the Zurich Opera House. Further prizes are awarded by external juries.

Year Award Film Director Country
2023 Feature Film Hesitation Wound Tereddüt Çizgisi Turkey, Spain, Romania, France
Documentary In the Rearview Maciek Hamela Poland, France, Ukraine
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Hollywoodgate Ibrahim Nash’at Germany, USA
Audience Award Queendom Agniia Galdanova USA, France
Best International Film Music Elliot Murphy Ireland
Award of the Kids Jury Dancing Queen Aurora Gossé Norway
Audience Award ZFF for Kids Checker Tobi und die Reise zu den fliegenden Flüssen Johannes Honsell Germany
Critics' Award and und Filmpreis der Zürcher Kirchen Las Toreras Jackie Brutsche [de] Switzerland
2022 Feature Film The Kings of the World, (Los reyes del mundo [es]) Laura Mora [es] Colombia, Spain, Norway, Luxembourg, Mexico, France
Documentary Sam Now Reed Harkness USA
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Cascadeuses (Stuntwomen) Elena Avdija Switzerland, France
Audience Award Becoming Giulia Laura Kaehr Switzerland
Best International Film Music Robert IJserinkhuijsen Netherlands
Science Film Award The Territory Alex Pritz Brazil, Denmark, USA
Award of the Kids Jury Lucy ist jetzt Gangster Till Endemann Germany, Netherlands
Audience Award ZFF for Kids My Robot Brother Frederik Meldal Nørgaard Denmark
Critics' Award and und Filmpreis der Zürcher Kirchen Foudre (Thunder) Carmen Jaquier Switzerland
2021 Feature Film A Chiara Jonas Carpignano Italy
Documentary Life of Ivanna (Zhizn Ivanny) Renato Borrao Serrano Russia
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria La Mif (The Fam) Fred Baillif Switzerland
Audience Award Youth Topia Dennis Stormer Switzerland, Germany
Best international TV series
Critics' Award Azor Andreas Fontana Switzerland, France, Argentina
Science Film Award All Light, Everywhere Theo Anthony USA
Award of the Kids Jury Le Loup et le Lion (The Wolf and the Lion) Gilles de Maistre France, Canada
Audience Award ZFF for Kids
Filmpreis der Zürcher Kirchen La Mif (The Fam) Fred Baillif Switzerland
2020 Feature Film Sin señas particulares / Was geschah mit Bus 670? Fernanda Valadez Mexico, Spain
Documentary Time Garrett Bradley USA
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Hochwald Evi Romen Austria
Audience Award Sami, Joe und ich Karin Heberlein Switzerland
Best international TV series Cry Wolf Maja Jul Larsen Denmark
Critics' Award 80.000 Schnitzel Hannah Schweier Germany
Science Film Award I Am Greta Nathan Grossman Sweden
Award of the Kids Jury The Club of Ugly Children Jonathan Elbers Netherlands
Audience Award ZFF for Kids Little Crumb Diede In't Veld Netherlands
Filmpreis der Zürcher Kirchen Sami, Joe und ich Karin Heberlein Switzerland
Treatment Award Fleisch und Blut Ares Ceylan
2019 Feature Film Sound of Metal Darius Marder USA
Documentary Collective / Kollektiv – Korruption tötet Alexander Nanau Romania, Luxembourg
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Systemsprenger Nora Fingscheidt Germany
Audience Award Volunteer Anna Thommen und Lorenz Nufer Switzerland
Best international TV series Just for today Nir Bergman und Ram Nehari Israel
Science Film Award Bruno Manser – Die Stimme des Regenwaldes Niklaus Hilber Switzerland, Austria
Award of the Kids Jury Zu weit weg Sarah Winkenstette Germany
Filmpreis der Zürcher Kirchen Waren einmal Revoluzzer Johanna Moder Austria
2018 Feature Film Girl Lukas Dhont Belgium, Netherlands
Documentary Heartbound Janus Metz und Sine Plambech Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria L'Animale Katharina Mückstein Austria
Audience Award Cold November Ismet Sijarina Kosovo, Albania, Mazedonia
Audience Award ZFF for Kids Raoul Taburin Pierre Godeau France, Belgium
Critics' Award The Guilty Gustav Möller Denmark
Award of the Kids Jury Los Bando Christian Lo Norway, Sweden
Treatment Competition C.O.D.A. – Child Of Deaf Adults Maurizius Staerkle Drux und Lenz Baumann Switzerland
Schweizer Förderpreis Walden Daniel Zimmermann Switzerland
2017 Feature Film Pop Aye Kirsten Tan Singapore
Documentary Machines Rahul Jain India
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Blue My Mind Lisa Brühlmann Switzerland
Audience Award A River Below Mark Grieco USA/Colombia
Audience Award ZFF for Kids Die Häschenschule: Jagd nach dem goldenen Ei Ute von Münchow-Pohl Germany
Critics' Award Blue My Mind Lisa Brühlmann Switzerland
Award of the Kids Jury Upp i det blå/Up in the Sky Petter Lennstrand Sweden
Treatment Competition Secondo Seraina Nyikos Switzerland
Schweizer Förderpreis Avant la fin de l’été Maryam Goormaghtigh Switzerland
Filmpreis der Zürcher Kirchen Blue My Mind Lisa Brühlmann Switzerland
2016 Feature Film Hymyilevä mies / The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Mäki Juho Kuosmanen Finland
Documentary Madame B, histoire d’une Nord-Coréenne Jero Yun France, South Korea
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Hidden Reserves [de] Valentin Hitz Austria
Audience Award When Two Worlds Collide Heidi Brandenburg und Mathew Orzel Peru
Audience Award ZFF for Kids Geheimcode M. Dennis Bots Netherlands
Critics' Award Lady Macbeth William Oldroyd UK
Award of the Kids Jury Ma vie de courgette Claude Barras Switzerland
Treatment Competition Cold Turkey for Emergencies Anna Schwingenschuh Switzerland
Schweizer Förderpreis Europe, She Loves Jan Gassmann Switzerland
2015 Feature Film Hrútar Grímur Hákonarson Island
Documentary Los reyes del pueblo que no existe Betzabé García Mexico
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Thank You for Bombing Barbara Eder Austria
Audience Award Amateur Teens Niklaus Hilber Switzerland
Audience Award ZFF for Kids Supilinna Salaselts Margus Paju Estonia
Critics' Award Pikadero Ben Sharrock Spain, UK
Treatment Competition Renatas Erwachen Stefanie Klemm Switzerland
2014 Feature Film Una noche sin luna Germán Tejeira Uruguay
Documentary Toto and his sisters Alexander Nanau Romania
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria Children of the Arctic Nick Brandestini Switzerland
Audience Award Zu Ende Leben Rebecca Panian Switzerland
Audience Award ZFF for Kids Fiddlesticks [de] Veit Helmer Germany
Critics' Award Svenskjävel Ronnie Sandahl Schweden
Treatment Competition Änneli Christine Wiederkehr Switzerland
2013 Feature Film La jaula de oro Diego Quemada-Díez Spain
Documentary Lej en familie A/S/ Kaspar Astrup Schroeder Denmark
Feature Film Switzerland, Germany, Austria Finsterworld Frauke Finsterwalder Germany
Documentary Switzerland, Germany, Austria Neuland Anna Thommen Switzerland
Audience Award Journey to Jah Noël Dernesch, Moritz Springer Germany
Audience Award ZFF for Kids Believe David Scheinmann UK
Critics' Award Finsterworld Frauke Finsterwalder Germany
Treatment Competition Projekt Stürm – Bis ich tot bin oder frei Dave Tucker UK
2012 Feature Film Broken Rufus Norris UK
Documentary The Imposter Bart Layton USA
Feature Film Switzerland, Germany, Austria Am Himmel der Tag Pola Beck Germany
Documentary Switzerland, Germany, Austria Der Prozess Gerald Igor Hauzenberger Austria
Audience Award Appassionata Christian Labhart Switzerland
Critics' Award El último Elvis Armando Bo Argentina
2011 Feature Film Take Shelter Jeff Nichols USA
Documentary Buck Cindy Meehl USA
Feature Film Switzerland, Germany, Austria Atmen Karl Markovics Austria
Documentary Switzerland, Germany, Austria Darwin Nick Brandestini Switzerland
Audience Award Unter Wasser Atmen Andri Hinnen, Stefan Muggli Switzerland
Critics' Award Happy, Happy Anne Sewitsky Norway
2010 Feature Film The Woman with a Broken Nose Srdjan Koljevic Serbia
Documentary Camp Armadillo Janus Metz Denmark
Feature Film Switzerland, Germany, Austria The Day I Was Not Born [de] Florian Cossen [de] Germany
Audience Award Stationspiraten Mike Schaerer Switzerland
Variety’s New Talent Award Adem Hans van Nuffel Belgium
Critics' Award Pal Adrienn Agnes Kocsis Hungary
2009 Feature Film Wolfy Vasilij Sigarev Russia
Documentary The Sound After the Storm Patrik Soergel, Ryan Fenson-Hood, Sven O. Hill USA
Feature Film Switzerland, Germany, Austria 66/67 – Fairplay war gestern Carsten Ludwig, Jan-Christoph Glaser Germany
Audience Award Ceasefire [de] Lancelot von Naso Germany
Variety’s New Talent Award Amreeka Cherien Dabis USA, Kuwait, Canada
Critics' Award Applause Pieter Zandvliet Denmark
2008 First Feature Film For a Moment, Freedom Arash T. Riahi Germany, Turkey
Feature Film - Newcomer Tulpan Sergei Dworzewoi Germany, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, Switzerland
Documentary - Newcomer Blind Loves Juraj Lehotský Slovakia
Audience Award The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner Stephan Komanderev Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary
2007 First Feature Film Chapter 27 – Die Ermordung des John Lennon Jarrett Schaefer USA
Feature Film - Newcomer Bikur Hatizmoret Eran Kolirin Israel, France
Documentary - Newcomer Running With Arnold Dan Cox USA
Audience Award Twelve In A Box John McKenzie UK
2006 First Feature Film Omaret Yacoubian Marwan Hamed Egypt
Feature Film - Newcomer Shortbus John Cameron Mitchell USA
Documentary - Newcomer Hammer & Tickle – The Communist Joke Book Ben Lewis USA
Audience Award The Hip-Hop Project Matt Ruskin, Scott K. Rosenberg USA
2005 First Feature Film The Italian Andrei Kravchuk Russia

Industry events[edit]

Zurich Summit[edit]

The Zurich Summit, launched in 2014, traditionally takes place on the first weekend of the Festival at the Dolder Grand Hotel. The boutique conference offers a unique platform in the German-speaking world that brings together high-profile representatives from the entertainment and film sectors with investors and the financial world. Topics include production and investment strategies, film financing and risk minimisation, distribution and European co-productions.

ZFF Academy[edit]

The ZFF Academy, founded in 2006 under the name ZFF Master Class, serves to promote and network talented directors, screenwriters and/or producers. Interested parties can apply for a place in the ZFF Academy. Around 30 invitations are issued each year. In some cases, recordings can be found on YouTube.[7]

Speakers until the 19th ZFF (2023) included:


ZFF Masters[edit]

The ZFF Masters are moderated talks with well-known personalities (directors, screenwriters, producers and actors) from the international film industry. The audience gains an insight into their creative work and their attitude as filmmakers. The ZFF Masters are open to the public and are aimed at the film industry as well as the entire festival audience. Many interviews can be viewed afterwards on the ZFF Channel on YouTube.[8]

Speakers until the 19th ZFF (2023) included:

International Film Music Competition[edit]

The International Film Music Competition, first held in 2012, is an integral part of the Zurich Film Festival and is organised by the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in collaboration with the Forum Filmmusik. The competition is aimed at composers worldwide. The task is to compose music for a short film. The three best submissions will be premiered at a film music concert at the Zurich Film Festival. An international jury of experts awards the Golden Eye, worth CHF 10,000, for the best international film music.

Former events[edit]

Treatment Competition

In 2013, Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF) and Telepool launched a treatment competition in cooperation with the Zurich Film Festival. Authors could submit a treatment for a feature-length cinema or television film. The work had to have a strong connection to Switzerland - be it in terms of content, characters or production conditions. The prize for the treatment competition was CHF 5,000. In addition, the winner received a development contract worth up to CHF 25,000 to write a script for a long feature film for TV or cinema.

ZFF 72

ZFF 72 was an online film competition organised by the Zurich Film Festival until 2020. Participation was open to all film enthusiasts. At ZFF 72, filmmakers had 72 hours to produce a maximum 72-second clip. The Zurich Film Festival provided the theme for the clip. The choice of genre was free: everything from scenic films and documentary formats to CGI and stop-motion was permitted. The winners were the Jury Award, determined by a jury of experts, and the Viewers Award, which was determined by online voting.


  1. ^ Bühler, Urs (11 September 2009). "Der Duft der grossen weiten Kinowelt". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  2. ^ Mathias Ohanian (24 September 2014). "Zurich Film Festival: Von Null auf 100 in zehn Jahren". Handelszeitung (in German). Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  3. ^ Bühler, Urs (4 April 2019). "'Christian Jungen wird künstlerischer Leiter beim Zurich Film Festival". nzz.ch (in Swiss High German). Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  4. ^ Prenaj, Elena (22 June 2022). "Spoundation Motion Picture AG: Stabsübergabe von Elke Mayer an Jennifer Somm » Unternehmen NZZ". Unternehmen NZZ (in German). Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  5. ^ Bühler, Urs (3 October 2021). "Das 17. ZFF zeigt: Der Hunger nach Kino im Gross- statt im Taschenformat ist noch längst nicht gestillt". NZZ (in Swiss High German). Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  6. ^ "137 000 visitors at the 18th ZFF". Zurich Film Festival (in German). Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  7. ^ "ZFF Master Class - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  8. ^ "ZFF Masters - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 6 December 2022.

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