Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) co-founders Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri are will step down after 15 years at the helm.
The festival’s co-directors will leave their posts in the beginning of 2020 but continue to work with ZFF on a strategic level.
Christian Jungen, chief cultural editor at Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, will take over from Spoerri as the festival’s new artistic director in 2020. As part of the transition, Jungen will join the ZFF 2019 team as a senior programmer.
The search for a successor to Schildknecht, who is responsible for ZFF’s finance, event, sponsoring and marketing operations, is ongoing.
Jungen has been a film critic for 25 years and heads up the culture section of both NZZ am Sonntag and German-language film magazine Frame. From 2013 to 2018 he was also member of the Zurich Film Commission. Spoerri said of Jungen: “[He] 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.”
Jungen will receive support from senior programmer and executive Viviana Vezzani, who was in charge of the ZFF’s Gala Premieres section and served on the selection committee for the international competition since 2008. Vezzani will step down from her operational role later this year but will remain as senior advisor to the festival.
The 15th Zurich Film Festival takes place from September 26 - October 6. The programme will be announced on September 12.