Golden Eyes awarded to Austria, Mexico and the USA

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 film 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 Jury
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 Jury
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 Jury
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).

Series Jury
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.

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’”

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. 

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

HOW TO BECOME A HERO by Marty Trezzini (Jury Award)

THE REAL HERO by Lutharsan Sivalingarajah (Viewers Award)

BOOT_CLIP by Cyril Fischer (Mobile Filming Award)

Highest Honour for Juliette Binoche at Zurich Film Festival 2020

© Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for Zurich Film Festival

The 16th Zurich Film Festival presented actress Juliette Binoche with the Golden Icon Award for her career achievements. The Frenchwoman thanked Christian Jungen, the Zurich Film Festival and all the people who supported her on her way from the bottom of her heart.

For the first time in its history, the festival presented its most prestigious accolade for an actress to a star from France. The Zurich Film Festival bestowed the Golden Icon Award upon Juliette Binoche last night. The French actress presented LA BONNE ÉPOUSE, Martin Provost’s comedy in which she excels as the conservative director of a school for housewives who is confronted with female emancipation on the eve of the 1968 revolution.     

Binoche is regarded as one of the most versatile actresses in France and also spoke in her acceptance speech about various forms of change; from the process she undergoes in embodying each role to the social upheaval that films can portray: “Now in this time of transition we are living through, it is a question of finding a way to create stronger links between us, hoping that films will be at the rendezvous on today’s major issues, and to lower the weapons of our fears.”

Binoche accepted the Golden Icon Award from the hands of ZFF Director Christian Jungen, who praised her in a laudation as being “a character actress who has transformed over the years into a true icon of the big screen through her exceptional craftswomanship and unwavering passion. In France. In Europe. Around the globe.” Jungen went on to say that the history of auteur cinema could be written on the basis of the list of directors she has collaborated with, which spans from André Téchiné to Krzysztof Kieslowski, from Abbas Kiarostami to Hirokazu Kore-eda.     

This is already the second time that Binoche has attended the ZFF. Talking about her first visit, she said: “I was impressed by the festival’s dynamism when I met the public in 2014. Meeting people who are passionately interested in other people and cultures has continued to drive me forward, because it is exactly that which fascinates me about every new film I work on: the discovery of new worlds and, through the characters I play in them, the ability to enable audiences from around the world to explore new universes for themselves. Many thanks to the Zurich Film Festival.”

Former recipients of the Golden Icon Award include Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sean Penn, Hugh Jackman, Michael Douglas and Sylvester Stallone.

Credit Suisse is the official partner of the Golden Icon Award.

Olivia Colman receives Golden Eye Award
THE FATHER as Gala Premiere at ZFF

© Zurich Film Festival

The 16th Zurich Film Festival honours the actress Olivia Colman with its Golden Eye. She excels alongside Anthony Hopkins in the drama THE FATHER.   

The British Academy Award-winning actress plays the daughter of a dementia-suffering father who refuses to be helped in director Florian Zeller’s THE FATHER. The Zurich Film Festival honours the actress with a Golden Eye for her achievements. Colman, who is currently filming and unable to travel to Zurich due to the corona pandemic restrictions, will appear via live-stream during the Gala Premiere screening of THE FATHER on Saturday, September 26.

“Olivia Colman is one of the most exciting character actresses of her generation. She is a highly versatile performer who embodies her characters with great depth,” remarked Artistic Director Christian Jungen. “You never see the star when she’s at work, only the character. After having the privilege of showing her Academy Award-winning performance in THE FAVOURITE, we are deeply honoured to present her with the Golden Eye for her achievements.”

Colman embodied the English ruler Queen Anne in THE FAVOURITE (2018) and expressed with great skill both the extravagance and the tragedy of the early 18th century monarch. The film, her second collaboration with Yorgos Lanthimos, followed an initial performance for the director in his dystopian romantic comedy THE LOBSTER (2015). Colman now demonstrates her exceptional talent once again, this time alongside acting heavyweight Anthony Hopkins. Released by Sony Pictures Classics, Florian Zeller’s drama is set to join the Oscar race.

“I am genuinely honoured to receive the Golden Eye Award. To be in the company of those that have been presented with it previously, I mean, wow! My enormous thanks to the Zurich Film Festival. I only wish I could be there in your beautiful city in person.” Olivia ColmanOlivia Colman can currently be seen performing a further regal role on Netflix, where she excels as Elizabeth II in the third season of the series THE CROWN. The fourth season, also with Colman in the lead role, starts in November.

Born in 1974 the daughter of a nurse and a chartered surveyor, Olivia Colman initially trained as a teacher before discovering acting during a school performance. She later enrolled at a theatre school and worked as a cleaner prior to being able to make a living from her craft. She first appeared to a wider audience while in her late twenties in the comedy series PEEP SHOW (2003), and remained with the long-running TV show until 2015. She scored a further TV hit credit in 2013 with the crime drama series BROADCHURCH, before going on to conquer the hearts of viewers as a domineering Godmother in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s series FLEABAG (2016).

Colman was also able to establish herself as a movie character actress. Beginning 2011 with the portrayal of a domestic violence victim in the social drama TYRANNOSAUR, she also appeared the same year as the daughter of Margaret Thatcher in THE IRON LADY. Colman first tried on the crown for size in 2012 when she played Queen Elizabeth in the comedy HYDE PARK ON HUDSON – that was the mother of the queen she currently portrays in the highly acclaimed series THE CROWN.

It was the same Queen Elizabeth II that bestowed the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) upon Colman last year.

Previous winners of the Golden Eye Award have been: Iris Berben, Kristen Stewart, Jake Gyllenhaal, John Malkovich, Helen Hunt.

The 17th edition of Zurich Film Festival will take place from September 23 to October 3, 2021.

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