Zurich Film Festival

Zurich Film Festival

September 28th | October 8th 2023

19th Edition

The Zurich Film Festival began in October 2005 and became firmly established upon the national and international festival landscape within a very short period of time. The festival has continued to grow rapidly since that inaugural edition:  the ZFF attracted approximately 117’000 cinemagoers and more than 1’500 accredited journalists and media professionals from around the world.  The aim of the Zurich Film Festival is to offer audiences insight into the work of the most promising filmmakers from around the globe, and to promote the exchange of ideas between established film workers, creative talent and the public. Emerging directors have the opportunity to present their films to the wide attention of the entire German-language market. Participants come from around the globe and include both emerging and renowned filmmakers as well as buyers, sellers, distributors, media professionals and industry leaders.

ZFF presents the most promising international new filmmakers.
ZFF provides the N°1 platform for a film’s release in the German speaking market in the fall.
ZFF creates a unique networking platform uniting industry players, creative talent and a large audience.
The International Competition sees emerging filmmakers compete for the coveted Golden Eye – the festival’s main award. In addition to the competition, the fest also presents the latest films from renowned filmmakers as exclusive “Gala Premieres” or “Special Screenings”. Furthermore, the “New World View” series focuses on the current cinematic oeuvre of a particular film producing region; “Border Lines” is a section dedicated to films dealing with border situations including territorial, social and individual conflicts; “TVision” focuses on the latest, most innovative TV formats; and finally, numerous side events, such as the “Zurich Master Class”, the “Zurich Summit” and the “Film Music Competition”, complete the festival programme.

Zurich Film Festival Progam and Competition Categories

The International Competition sees emerging filmmakers compete in three categories with their first, second or third directorial works for the coveted Golden Eye – the festival’s highest accolade. The ZFF’s “Focus” competition section concentrates on the film-producing countries Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Out-of-competition, the fest also presents the year’s greatest discoveries (Gala Premieres) and most anticipated movies (Special Screenings). Furthermore, the “New World View” section focuses on the current cinematic oeuvre of a particular film-producing region. Other thematically focussed sidebars include the “Border Lines” (human rights) and “Series” sections. And finally, numerous side events, such as the “ZFF Academy”, the “Zurich Summit” and the “Film Music Competition”, make the ZFF an important networking platform. Film screenings in the presence of cast and crew, and the Public ZFF Masters events offer unique opportunities for the general public to interact with filmmakers. The ZFF’s screenings for kids and school pupils introduces the art of filmmaking to the very youngest of audiences, and helps them to see the cinema as a place of cultural exchange.

The competition comprises of the following three categories:
International Feature Film Competition
International Documentary Film Competition
Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria (Feature Films and Documentary Films)

The Golden Eye endowed with a CHF 25’000 cash prize will be awarded in each of the two categories International Feature Film Competition and International Documentary Film Competition by two separate juries. The Golden Eye endowed with a CHF 20,000 cash prize will be awarded in the competition category Focus by a separate jury. The cash endowment is to be shared equally between director and producer of winning films in all three categories. Winning films with Swiss distribution further profit from P&A contribution for a theatrical release in Switzerland.
Competition Entry Requirements
Submissions to the competition must fulfill the following criteria:
• Director’s 1st, 2nd or 3rd feature-length film (> 60 min)
• Projects completed after October 1, 2017
• Minimum status requirement: Swiss Premiere at ZFF

Rules & Terms

The  Zurich Film Festival is organised by Zurich Film Festival AG.
Selection procedure:
Deadline for arrival of the entry form is June 30, 2022. The festival organizers will choose and invite the films to be shown in the Zurich Film Festival program. The film cannot be withdrawn after the applicant has accepted and confirmed the invitation for his/her film to participate in the Zurich Film Festival competition and program. Zurich Film Festival reserves the right to remove a film from the program and/or demand restitution of CHF 10,000 should a film be withdrawn from the festival. Please submit your film via FilmFreeway.

Invitation of the competition film directors:
Directors whose films are selected for participation in one of the competition sections will be invited to Zurich during the festival. Zurich Film Festival will pay for the directors accommodation in a hotel (three nights) chosen by the festival organisers. It will also pay for an economy round-trip ticket (train or plane, depending on the distance) to the festival from the country of origin for one person. The festival will only cover a transportation fee up to CHF 1500. In the case of a co-direction, the festival will cover the costs for one director only. Zurich Film Festival is not bound to issue an invitation.

Winners/Credit to Zurich Film Festival:
The winning film in each main competition category (Focus Competition, Feature Film Competition, Documentary Competition) will be chosen by separate juries and awarded the Golden Eye, which is endowed with a CHF 25,000 cash prize. The three main prize winners of Zurich Film Festival’s “Golden Eye” must ensure that all promotional material (official posters, flyers etc.) contain correct reference to Zurich Film Festival and their prize. The same applies to the opening credits of the respective film at all screenings taking place in cinemas after Zurich Film Festival.

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