Michael Steiner’s long-awaited fourth film Sennentuntschi will open this year’s Zurich Film Festival as a world premiere.

Michael Steiner’s long-awaited fourth film Sennentuntschi will open this year’s Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) (23 September – October 3, 2010) as a world premiere on the evening of September 23.

Shot on location in Switzerland and Austria’s Tyrol in autumn 2008, the drama about a beautiful mute woman who unsettles the precarious idyll of a small Alpine village in the early 1970s had a troubled production history.

Due to budget overspend and financial irregularities the project looked as if it would never be completed until Constantin Film’s Swiss production arm Constantin Film Schweiz came to the rescue early this year with a reported cash injection of CHF 3.4m to bail out the production.

Sennentuntschi will now be released by the Swiss outpost of Walt Disney into Swiss cinemas on October 14.

ZFF’s lineup this year of 72 films include another four world premieres of local Swiss films such as Cihan Inan’s Zurich-based Short Cuts-style episodic film 180 and Fabian Kimoto’s The Rising Sun about the multi-cultural breakdance troupe Roc Kidz Crew.

The International Feature Film Jury headed by veteran actor Frank Langella will be deciding on the winner of the Golden Eye from 12 titles ranging from David Pinillos’ debut Bon Appetit and Dana Adam Shapiro’s Monogamy through Srdjan Koljevic’s The Woman With A Broken Nose to Karl Golden’s Pelican Blood and Hattie Dalton’s Third Star.

Meanwhile, Pope Joan actress Johanna Wokalek and Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner are members of the five-person jury for the German Language Feature Film Competition screening such films as Ralf Westhoff’s Der letzte schöne Herbsttag and Sebastian Stern’s Die Hummel – both had their world premieres at Filmfest München – and Tomasz Thomson’s Edinburgh Film Festival title Snowman’s Land.

Moreover, debut documentaries by Amy Hardie (The Edge Of Dreaming), Dariela Ludlow (Un Dia Menos), Lixin Fan (Last Train Home) and Anna Katharina Wohlgenannt (Einmal mehr als nur reden) are among 12 selected for the International Documentary Film Competition.

Sidebars include a focus on New World View dedicated to new feature films and documentaries from Australia as well as “onedotzero” showcasing of over 50 digitally produced shorts, animation films and music videos.

In addition, 19 feature films and documentaries – from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful through Woody Allen’s You Will Meet  A Tall Dark Stranger to Mark Lewis’s 3D documentary Cane Toads: The Conquest - will  be shown in nightly gala screenings.

The festival’s sixth edition will once again host the Zurich Master Class with around 25 up-and-coming filmmakers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland attending workshops given by such eminent guests as Milos Forman (subject of this year’s ten-film A Tribute to…), Jeremy Thomas, Jessica Hausner, Vilmos Zsigmond and Jennifer Fox.

 ZFF managing director Nadja Schildknecht reported at the official programme launch press conference on Thursday that the festival’s budget had increased slightly over last year – from CHF 3.8m to around CHF 4.1m – and 80% are raised from sponsors. The Swiss national government, the Canton of Zurich and the City of Zurich provide 7% of the budget, with the remainder being generated by ticket revenues and sales. (ends)