17th Zurich Film Festival 2021

The 17th Zurich Film Festival welcomed in 2021 more than 102’000 visitors, which makes it the largest festival in Switzerland for the second time in a row. Hollywood icon Sharon Stone was delighted, as were auteur filmmakers Paolo Sorrentino and Paul Schrader, to once again be able to make personal contact with the audience. In addition, NO TIME TO DIE, the most highly anticipated film in years, was launched during the ZFF, and numerous up-and-coming directors presented their debut works as world premieres. 

The 17th Zurich Film Festival is thrilled with the outcome of its purely physical edition, which took place with a full programme of 164 films from 53 countries. 102’000 visitors came to the ZFF, that figure was 68’000 in 2020, making it the most visited film festival in Switzerland twice in a row.   

“Our expectations were far exceeded,” said Festival Director Christian Jungen. “The last few days have impressively shown that people are once again in the mood for cinema and shared common experiences. The mood was positive right from the start and many international guests were touched because they were able to present their films to a real audience for the first time.”

The new venue in the Zurich Convention Center, Switzerland’s largest cinema, has contributed to the growth. Yesterday Saturday alone, four performances there were sold out with 1300 spectators each. A total of 67 screenings were sold out, with the festival recording the greatest growth in attendance in the three competitions for the Golden Eye. “We have succeeded in winning a loyal, cinéphile audience, which is prepared to engage with demanding works and also attends afternoon screenings in increasing numbers,” explains Christian Jungen.

Among the guests the ZFF had the pleasure of welcoming were such auteur filmmakers of international standing as Jacques Audiard, Todd Haynes, Paolo Sorrentino and Paul Schrader, character actresses like Cécile de France and veteran star Timothy Spall, the Oscar-winning composer Mychael Danna and Sharon Stone, who was honoured with the Golden Icon Award. The Hollywood star was delighted beyond measure and described the award as “simply the greatest honour of my career”.   

Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images for ZFF