ZIFF 2013: Weekend Update
Posted on Sunday September 29, 2013, 13:22 by Simon Braund in Under The Radar
This year marks the first in an on-going partnership between the ZIFF and Spain’s long-established San Sebastian Film Festival. The aim is to de-emphasize competition between festivals and to establish Zurich and San Sebastian as a dual launch pad for films seeking to penetrate the European market.
Fascinating stuff! And, no doubt, uppermost in Harvey Weinstein’s mind when he swept into town on Sunday to promote Weinstein Co.’s festival entries The Railway Man, Fruitvale Station and One Chance, a biopic of amateur opera singer and Britain’s Got Talent phenomenon Paul Pots, On typically garrulous form, the indie mogul also delivered a master class, entertaining a capacity crowd at Zurich’s Film Podium with pearls of wisdom drawn from his 30-plus years in the business. He revealed that his favourite film of 2013 was Prisoners, hinted at the Weinstein Co.’s forthcoming Oscar campaign and explained why Grace Of Monaco, a lavish biopic of Grace Kelly starring Nicole Kidman, has been pushed back to next February. “It just wasn’t ready.,” he said. “The score wasn’t ready, a lot of things weren’t ready.” So, nothing whatsoever to do with the reviews for Diana, then.
On that note, earlier in the day Diana director Oliver Hirschbiegel defended his critically derided film at a press conference. “I liked the idea of pissing people off,” he said. “Well, certain people anyway. My intention was a very straightforward, truthful and emotional love story about Diana and Hasnat Khan.” His approach, he said, was to be deliberately un-British. “British sarcasm and irony are the source of the most brilliant humour in the world. But at the same time, the British use them to deflect deep emotions, the dramas of life. We Germans tackle life as it is. To me the Brits always need that filter of irony.”
Later that evening, Weinstein received a rock star reception when he introduced a gala screening of One Chance. After the show, he was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates by two female fans. Who knew producers had groupies!?
Monday kicked off promisingly with a screening of writer-director J. C. Chandor’s superb survival flick All Is Lost, a virtually dialogue free nail-biter starring Robert Redford as a lone yachtsman stranded in the Indian Ocean with a slowly sinking boat, a busted radio and no navigational equipment following a collision with a container ship.
Sadly, that’s where Empire’s brief sojourn at this year’s ZFF came to an end. The festival – another terrific event: big enough to matter, small enough to be manageable and intimate – carries on until the 6 October. James McAvoy is scheduled to bring more star power to proceedings when he arrives to promote Irvine Welsh adaptation Filth, and the weekend sees a tribute to director Michael Haneke and, just in case you heven’t been keeping up, Harrison Ford picking up the festival’s Golden Eye Award for Lifetime Achievement.