Women Directors Sweep Main Prizes at Zurich Film Festival

Women-directed films made a major mark at this year’s Zurich Film Festival, taking home all three main prizes. According to Swiss News Channel, Fernanda Valadez won the Golden Eye for best feature film for “Identifying Features” (“Sin Señas Particulares”), Garrett Bradley’s “Time” scored the Golden Eye for best documentary, and Evi Romen’s “Why Not You” (“Hochwald”) received the Golden Eye for best film in the German-speaking competition.

Valadez’s feature debut, “Identifying Features” tells the story of a woman who embarks on a journey to find her missing son, a Mexican migrant who goes missing on his way to the U.S. border. The drama was recently named as the winner of the Latin Horizons Award at San Sebastian Film Festival.

Filmed over two decades, “Time” follows Fox Rich, a modern-day abolitionist, as she fights to free her incarcerated husband, Rob, who received a 60-year sentence. Earlier this year Bradley became the the first Black woman to win Sundance’s Directing Award: U.S. Documentary for the film, which is set to hit theaters and Amazon Prime Video later this month.

Austrian drama “Why Not You” portrays a dancer living in a small village mourning the loss of his best friend, a man who died during an attack at a gay club.

Each main prize is worth CHF25,000 (about $27,300 USD).

A woman-helmed film also won the audience award, Karin Heberlein’s “Sami, Joe and I” (“Sami, Joe und Ich”), a coming-of-age story about three teenage girls in Zurich.

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