The Zurich Film Festival in Switzerland has attracted a galaxy of stars, including Cate Blanchett, Josh Hutcherson, and Antonio Banderas.
Their presence marks a shift into the big time for the festival, which was founded in 2005 to spotlight new directors, especially those working in German.
Today however, as Karl Spoerri, the festival’s founder and co-director, said, the focus has shifted to a much more international outlook. He also noted that starting small had its advantages: “If we had had a lot of money at the beginning, we would have screwed it up just because it’s difficult to run a festival – you can make so many mistakes, you can do so many things wrong and if you don’t have that much money, you can’t do that on such a big scale, so that helps.”
‘Northmen: A Viking Saga’, directed by Claudio Fäh was premiered at the festival. It tells the story of a group of Vikings stranded in Scotland, who kidnap a princess and are then hunted down by a gang of mercenaries. It’s a very European production.
Ken Duken, who stars in the film, said: “It’s time we tell our own stories. I think for decades Americans told our stories because we weren’t able to get the budgets but if we think more European, we could do bigger films that are entertaining and tell our stories.”
Fellow star Tom Hopper, added: “And I think it’s also about us having the confidence and the ability to compete with that bigger market where we can go – hold on a minute, we can actually get the talent and the ambition to do something like that so more people should do that. More people should be more courageous and make a film like this.”
Spanish film “Automata” directed by Gabe Ibáñez and staring Antonio Banderas, was also premiered at the festival. It deals with a future world in which robots start to take on lives of their own.
The Zurich Film Festival runs until 5th October.
For more information see the official website.