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ZURICH 2020 Awards

Zurich sets its Golden Eyes on Identifying Features and Why Not You

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- Female directors have come out on top as Evi Romen’s film was named the winner of the Focus Competition, with Fernanda Valadez’s flick dominating the Feature Film Competition

Zurich sets its Golden Eyes on Identifying Features and Why Not You
The winners and jury members of the 2020 Zurich Film Festival (© Tim Hughes for the Zurich Film Festival)

With Time by Garrett Bradley named Best Documentary, Cry Wolf by Maja Jul Larsen crowned as Best Series and the Children's Jury Prize going to Jonathan Elbers’ The Club of Ugly Children, there were plenty of reasons to celebrate at the closing gala of the 16th – and very much physical – edition of the Zurich Film Festival. “With its variety of topics, Why Not You [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
  takes a risk that the main actor, Thomas Prenn, knows how to master at every point,” added the jury, praising the Focus Competition winner. “We follow him through the most dramatic twists and turns that confront us with his role as an outsider and our prejudices. Director Evi Romen convinced us with the choice and staging of her cast, and the way she handled the narrative rhythm and visuality.”

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While Special Mentions went to One of These Days [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bastian Günther
film profile
]
 by Bastian Günther and the investigative documentary Wood [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 by Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan, Michaela Kirst and Ebba Sinzinger, for the Feature Film Competition, jurors Michel Franco – whose New Order [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
was also shown at the fest – Karim Aïnouz and Ellen Harrington plumped for Identifying Features [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
instead, directed by Fernanda Valadez. It focuses on the character of Magdalena, who travels north through a desolate Mexican landscape in search of her son. “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...” it was argued. “Focusing on a humanitarian crisis that has left empty villages and armies of people in its wake, this film is a comprehensive portrait of a tragedy. It is a breathtaking approximation of a war fable, and it can be associated with many places around the world that are internally at war.”

Finally, the Audience Award was given to Karin Heberlein for her debut, Sami, Joe and I, and the movie also took home the Film Award of the Churches of Zurich. Local cinema was also acknowledged with this year’s opening film, My Wonderful Wanda [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bettina Oberli
film profile
]
by Bettina Oberli, and Eden fur Jeden by Rolf Lyssy, also awarded the Career Achievement Award.

As shared with the press, the festival attracted 68,000 visitors, as well as the likes of Johnny Depp, who presented the documentary Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan [+see also:
film review
interview: Julien Temple
film profile
]
(this time as a producer), Til SchweigerMaïwenn and Juliette Binoche, given the Golden Icon Award (the first French actress in the festival’s history to be honoured with the trophy).

“We are highly satisfied. We wanted to send a signal of optimism and new beginnings, and we succeeded,” said artistic director Christian Jungen. “We have proven that it is possible to organise a cultural event even under the current conditions. Now we hope that other organisers will dare to resume operations and that people will go to the cinema more often.”

The 17th Zurich Film Festival will take place from 23 September-3 October 2021.

Here is the list of all award winners at the festival:

International Feature Film Competition

Golden Eye for Best Film
Identifying Features [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Fernanda Valadez (Mexico/Spain)

Focus Competition

Golden Eye for Best Film
Why Not You [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Evi Romen (Austria/Belgium)

Special Mentions
One of These Days [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bastian Günther
film profile
]
- Bastian Günther (Germany/USA)
Wood [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan, Michaela Kirst and Ebba Sinzinger (Austria/Germany/Romania)

Documentary Film Competition

Golden Eye for Best Film
Time - Garrett Bradley (USA)

Special Mentions
The Earth Is Blue as an Orange [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Iryna Tsilyk
film profile
]
- Iryna Tsilyk (Ukraine/Lithuania)
Acasa - My Home [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Radu Ciorniciuc
film profile
]
- Radu Ciorniciuc (Romania/Finland/Germany)

Series

Golden Eye for Best Series
Cry Wolf - Maja Jul Larsen (Denmark)

Special Mention
Riot Police Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Isabel Peña (Spain)

Other awards

Audience Award
Sami, Joe and I - Karin Heberlein (Switzerland) 

Critics’ Prize
80,000 Schnitzel [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
- Hannah Schweier (Germany)

Prize of the Children's Jury
The Club of Ugly Children - Jonathan Elbers (Netherlands)

ZFF for Kids Audience Award
Little Crumb - Diede In't Veld (Netherlands)

Science Film Award
I Am Greta [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nathan Grossman
film profile
]
– Nathan Grossman (Sweden)

Film Award of the Churches of Zurich
Sami, Joe and I - Karin Heberlein

Treatment Award
Flesh and Blood - Ares Ceylan

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