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Cascadeuses (Stuntwomen) by Elena Avdija - 18th Zurich Film Festival award winners
Cascadeuses (Stuntwomen) by Elena Avdija

The 18th Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) presented the main Golden Eye prizes in the three competition categories to Cascadeuses by Elena Avdija, Los Reyes del Mundo by Laura Mora Ortega and Sam Now by Reed Harkness.

In the Focus Competition category focusing on films from Switzerland, Germany and Austria, the Golden Eye went to Cascadeuses (Stuntwomen) by Elena Avdija. In her debut feature Stuntwomen, filmmaker Elena Avdija sheds light on an exciting and hard-hitting business in which female actors all too often remain in the shadows.

The Golden Eye for Best Feature Film went to Los Reyes del Mundo by Laura Mora Ortega. The film tells the story of five boys who live on the streets of Medellín. Five kings with no kingdom, no law, no family, set out on a journey in search of the promised land.

The Golden Eye in the Documentary Film Competition category went to Sam Now by Reed Harkness, a coming-of-age documentary that follows Sam Harkness from age 11 to 33 as his once-average, middle class Seattle family is heartbroken and unsure of what to do after his mother suddenly abandons them.

Christian Jungen, artistic director of the ZFF explained in his speech: “The strong increase in the number of admissions for films in competition is gratifying. This shows that the audience is curious and has a desire to discover new filmmakers and that auteur cinema is alive.”

Focus Competition

The winner of the Golden Eye is CASCADEUSES by Elena Avdija.

They are hit by cars, have to dive 70 meters into the depths and absorb many a hard blow. For professional stuntwomen Virginie, Petra and Estelle, this is all in a day’s work. In order to perform physically demanding scenes for film and television, they undergo rigorous daily training. But in the male-dominated film industry, stereotypical portrayals of vulnerable women on screen are still common, and even stuntwomen often find themselves in the roles of female victims, while male colleagues embody perpetrators or heroes. In her debut feature, filmmaker Elena Avdija sheds light on an exciting and hard-hitting business in which female actors all too often remain in the shadows.

Special Mention: FOUDRE by Carmen Jaquier

Feature Film Competition

The winner of the Golden Eye for Best Feature Film is LOS REYES DEL MUNDO by Laura Mora Ortega.

Young Rá lives on the streets of Medellin with his friends Culebro, Sere, Winny and Nano. But hope is in sight for the gang: The government has granted Rá the right to a piece of land from which his family, like thousands of other Colombians, was once driven off by the paramilitaries. And so, the bunch sets off on the dangerous trip into the Colombian hinterland. It is the beginning of an exciting journey that oscillates between adventure and delirium. Set against the backdrop of Columbia’s spectacular nature, director Laura Mora tells in breath-taking, immersive images and mystical dream sequences of the search by five stray good-for-nothings for happiness and justice.

Special Mention: WAR PONY by Gina Gammell and Riley Keough, and UNTIL TOMORROW / TA FARDA by Ali Asgari

Documentary Film Competition

The Golden Eye in the Documentary Film Competition category goes to SAM NOW by Reed Harkness.

Half-brothers Sam and Reed have always made movies together. Even back when Sam was 14 and his mother left the family one day without any explanation. While father, grandmother and aunts keep silent for years about what happened, and brother Jared loses his drive for life, Sam seems to suffer no pain. Until Reed suggests he go find his mother. What follows is a road trip through Washington, Oregon and California – the beginning of an emotional roller coaster. Using his own Super 8 footage and home movies from his rich family archive, filmmaker Reed Harkness tells with subtle humor of the wounds of separation and the power of reconciliation.

Special Mention: THE NEW GREATNESS CASE by Anna Shishova and THE KILLING OF A JOURNALIST by Matt Sarnecki

Other prizes of the 18th Zurich Film Festival

Emerging Swiss Talent Award (Critics’ Prize): FOUDRE by Carmen Jaquier

ZFF for Kids – Jury Prize: LUCY IST JETZT GANGSTER by Till Endemann

ZFF for Kids – Audience Award: MY ROBOT BROTHER by Frederik Meldal Nørgaard

Audience Award: BECOMING GIULIA by Laura Kaehr

Science Film Award: THE TERRITORY by Alex Pritz

Zurich Churches Film Prize: FOUDRE by Carmen Jaquier

Best International Film Music: Robert IJserinkhuijsen

Honorary awards

A Tribute to … Award: Luca Guadagnino
The Italian director and screenwriter was honored with the ZFF’s most prestigious award for an auteur filmmaker, and presented his newest work BONES AND ALL.

Golden Icon Award: Sir Ben Kingsley
The actor was honored with the ZFF’s most coveted award for his career achievements. He accepted the award virtually via live stream on September 29. Immediately afterwards, the ZFF screened his most recent movie DALÍLAND, in which Kingsley the plays the lead character Salvador Dalí.

Career Achievement Award: Rachel Portman
The British film score composer Rachel Portman accepted the award during the 10th International Film Music Competition, where she presided over the jury.

Golden Eye Award: Charlotte Gainsbourg
The ZFF honored the French-British actress for her outstanding career and versatility on September 26. She also presented her most recent movie THE ALMOND AND THE SEAHORSE on the same evening.

Golden Eye Award: Eddie Redmayne
The actor Eddie Redmayne received the Golden Eye for his outstanding career achievements. He accepted the award in person on September 25 during the screening of his latest movie THE GOOD NURSE at Zurich Conference Center.

Game Changer Award: Michael Barker and Tom Bernard
The two founders and co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics were honored for their outstanding contribution to the film industry during the Zurich Summit.

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