In accordance with the long-term strategy of the Zurich Film Festival (ZFF), Co-founders Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri are planning for their succession after 15 years of operational leadership. The co-directors will be stepping down from their current posts at the beginning of 2020 but continue to work with the festival on a strategic level. Christian Jungen, chief cultural editor at “NZZ am Sonntag” will serve as the festival’s new Artistic Director. The search for the future commercial management has been initiated.

“It was our wish that in the long term we could transfer operational management to other hands. We’re excited to continue to work with the new management on a strategic level as board members and advisors to the festival from 2020 onwards,” so Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri.

As part of this long-term plan, Karl Spoerri will hand over his duties as Artistic Director to Christian Jungen for the 2020 edition. To ensure a smooth transition Christian Jungen will be joining the existing program team at ZFF already in May 2019 as a senior programmer. “Christian Jungen has a comprehensive track record and extensive experience in the film industry. He is an important voice in film criticism and very well connected in the industry”, says Karl Spoerri. “We are very pleased that he will take over the artistic direction of the ZFF”, adds Nadja Schildknecht.

Christian Jungen will also receive support from Senior Programmer and Executive Viviana Vezzani. As Senior Programmer she was in charge for the prestigious “Gala Premieres” section and served on the selection committee for the international competition since 2008. Among other things, she also successfully built and ran the festival’s international talent department. She will be stepping down from her operational role after 12 years at the end of 2019 and continue to support Christian Jungen and the team as a Senior Advisor to the festival.

Christian Jungen has a doctorate in film studies and is regarded as an internationally recognized specialist for film festivals. He has been a film critic for 25 years and currently directs the culture department of the “NZZ am Sonntag” as well as “Frame”, the largest German-language film magazine. The magazine was co-founded by the “NZZ am Sonntag” in cooperation with the Zurich Film Festival. From 2011 to 2017 he was President of the Swiss Association of Film Journalists. From 2013 to 2018 was member of the Zurich Film Commission. He wrote both the highly-praised book “Hollywood in Cannes” and the biography “Moritz de Hadeln – Mister Film Festival”.

Nadja Schildknecht is responsible for the commercial aspects of the festival and the operation in the areas of finance, event, sponsoring and marketing. The search for her successor who will take over in January 2020 has been initiated.

About the Zurich Film Festival:
The Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) was founded in 2005 by Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri. The festival has established itself within a few years in the national and international festival landscape. Since the first edition, the festival has grown continuously. In 2018, the ZFF recorded around 104,000 admissions and attracted more than 600 accredited filmmakers and more than 600 media professionals from around the world. The ZFF has the highest level of self-financing of the film festivals in Switzerland. In 2016 the NZZ Media Group became the major shareholder in the Event. About 90 percent of the budget of over 7.5 million Swiss francs stems from the private sector. More than 150 sponsors trust the ZFF, but also foundations, the ZFF Donors Association and the public sector actively support the ZFF. The city and the canton of Zurich as well as the federal government (Federal Office of Culture) have extended their service agreement for several years.

The 15th Zurich Film Festival takes place from September 26 to October 6. The program for this year’s edition will be announced on September 12, 2019.

About the NZZ Media Group
The NZZ Media Group is one of the largest private media companies in Switzerland. They concentrate on high-quality, independent journalism and represent a liberal worldview. With their products, they offer their readers daily orientation

More information at: www.zff.com