Laurence Fishburne, Paul Haggis, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Marc Forster were all in attendance at the awards ceremony, which marks the highest profile Zurich Film Festival to date.
Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter has been named Best International Feature at the Seventh Zurich Film Festival.
The jury, led by Laurence Fishburne, chose the film about a man who believes an apocalyptic storm is on its way in Ohio, because it “demonstrated excellence across the board.”
Take Shelter, which stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, won the top prize at Cannes Critics Week and in Deauville earlier this year.
The Best International Documentary Feature Award went to Cindy Meehl’s Buck, about a real life horse whisperer who turned his life around after a horrific childhood. Jury member and director Charles Fergurson, who won the Oscar for best documentary in 2011 for Inside Job, presented Meehl with the award.
Karl Markovics’ Austrian film, Breathing (Atmen) was named as the best German Language Feature Film, with the best German Language Documentary Award going to Swiss film Darwin, directed by Nick Brandestini.
The Festival’s Critics Award prize went to the Norwegian comedy Happy Happy.The Audience Award winner was the German-language documentary Unter Wasser Atmen.
The glitzy awards ceremony took place for the first time in Zurich’s Opera House.
Oscar winning screenwriter/director Paul Haggis was presented with a tribute award for his body of work, which includes Crash, Million Dollar Baby and In The Valley Of Elah. He dedicated his award to the Iranian film-makers who were arrested in Iran on September 20 along with Jafar Panahi and the other film-makers who “do not have a voice tonight.”
The career achievement award was presented to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu by former agent and Paramount head John Lesher.
After a montage of clips from his hard hitting dramas Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel and Biutiful, the Mexican director told the packed Opera House, “I promise you the next one will be a comedy.”
Both Haggis and Inarritu took part in masterclasses during the festival.
Swiss-born director Marc Forster also flew in for the ceremony from London where he has been shooting World War Z. He paid credit to festival directors Karl Spoerri and Nadja Schildknecht. “The festival is so new, but I am so impressed by the quality of the work here. It’s just very special.”
This year’s edition of the Zurich Film Festival has been the highest profile yet, with the programme including Contagion, Shame and the European premiere of Moneyball.
Earlier in the week Roman Polanski attended the festival to collect the lifetime achievement award which he was due to collect two years ago before his infamous arrest in Zurich. Sean Penn was also in town to pick up the Golden Icon Award.
The Zurich Film Festival closes tomorrow night with The Help, with the film’s director Tate Taylor, and stars Emma Stone, Viola Davies and Octavia Spencer all expected to attend.