The Zurich Film Festival officially opened on Thursday evening at the Corso cinema with the European premiere screening of Garth Davis’ biopic feature length drama LION, the true story of a five-year-old Indian boy who lost his mother in the bustle of a train station, only to find her again 20 years later using Google Earth.
Federal Councillor Alain Berset, Zurich’s Mayor Corine Mauch and the Festival Co-Directors Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri welcomed numerous honorary guests from the fields of culture, politics and commerce in the presence of the film’s director Garth Davis and its producers Iain Canning and Harvey Weinstein.
Said Federal Councillor Alain Berset in his Opening Night speech: „The ZFF is the urban film festival in Switzerland.” The source of creativity in urban spaces is the “collision of various ideas and lifestyles.” The collision of various worlds is also a major theme running through the entire festival program. The high number of Swiss films screening this year is confirmation to Berset that “Switzerland as a film-producing country has wide reaching impact.”
Mayor Corine Mauch said in her Opening Night speech that the film festival is not just a delightful, large-scale celebration of film and the city of Zurich, but also “a way of experiencing the world in a condensed form; an intense, concentrated and extraordinary chance to discover something about the world, to dive into the lives of others, and to understand that those ‘others’ don’t actually exist at all – there are only us humans.”
The Opening Night film LION, a Weinstein Company production, stars Dev Patel, who visited the ZFF in 2015 with THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY, Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) and Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman (SECRET IN THEIR EYES). LION was shot in West Bengal and at various locations in Australia. LION is Garth Davis’ feature film debut as a director.
The film is based on the novel ‘A Long Way Home’ by Saroo Brierley, who penned his life story in 2014. Saroo was just five year’s old when he boarded a train that took him thousands of kilometers across India. Unable to recall the name of his hometown or his parents, he ended up on the streets before being discovered and adopted by an Australian couple. Saroo used Google Earth to track down his Indian hometown and was reunited with his family 20 years later.