Zurich Film Festival enters final weekend with Johnny Depp as guest of honour

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Alex Macbeth - [email protected]
Zurich Film Festival enters final weekend with Johnny Depp as guest of honour
Johnny Depp is expected in Zurich today. Chris Delmas/AFP.

The US actor is in the city as a guest of honour during the final weekend of this year's film gala, which features more than 150 movies and half a dozen new sections and awards.


Johnny Depp will be attending the festival as a guest for the screening of the film Richard Says Goodbye, in which he stars. The film is set to screen at the Arthouse Le Paris (sold out) at 20.45 this evening. A Q&A with the public will also take place at 15:30 today at the Podium.

The 14th edition of the Zurich Film Festival, which runs until Sunday October 7th, presents 160 films from 48 countries. The 2018 programme has a special focus on Italy, but also presents 42 debut works, 12 world premieres, 16 Swiss films and 2 retrospectives – including one of iconic German filmmaker Wim Wenders. 

118 film screenings will take place from Friday October 5th to Sunday October 7th at venues and locations across Zurich. 

The programme was designed to reflect current affairs. "This means that films about current world politics between Russia and America, are just as strikingly represented as those on strong women who do not address emancipation and how to deal with sexual assault from a position of victimisation," says Spoerri.

"The side lines, like 'New World View', 'Border Lines' or the new sections 'Hashtag' and 'ZFF Series' offer many discoveries," says festival co-director  Karl Spoerri in a press release.  

This year's 'New World View' focuses on Italy and includes the Italian Oscar contender Dogman, a crime drama set in Rome by the director of Gomorra.

READ ALSO: Five things to know about Dogman, Italy's Oscar pick


Seven films from four continents feature in the 'Border Lines' section, which explores "humanitarian projects, territorial and social conflicts, and conflicts between individuals and the state."

Eight films in 'Hashtag' explore the issue of big data. "Data is the oil of the 21st century. What happens to this data? What are the dangers of collecting our data? And what is the wider political and economic impact?" states the festival programme. ZFF is a children's section featuring nine movies. 

 READ ALSO: Zurich Film Festival returns with focus on women in cinema (2017)

The festival awards three main awards:  Best International Feature Film, Best International Documentary Film and Focus: Switzerland, Germany, Austria. The winners of the first two prizes receive 25,000 Swiss francs (€22,000). The Focus winner gets 20,000 (€17,500). 

An award for the best TV series was launched this year too. The Golden Eye for Best International Series went to the Mexican production AQUÍ EN LA TIERRA by Gael Garcia Bernal. Swiss film BEAST won the 4th Filmmaker Award, which "supports outstanding Swiss film projects that are at the production or post-production stage".

READ ALSO: On location: 12 famous movies filmed in Switzerland

The festival also features industry-focused events such as the Zurich Summit, which "brings together filmmakers, tech companies and investors to address the most burning questions of the digital future." The Film Music Competition sees a shortlist of five composers present their original score for a 5-minute film to a live audience. The music is played by the Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich. 

This year's budget for the festival is 3.7 million francs (€3.24 million). Tickets and the full programme for events and screenings are available here

READ MORE: Switzerland's Locarno Festival kicks off 71st edition with an eclectic program featuring 293 films


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