Reta Guetg • Responsabile, ZFF Industry
"Cerchiamo di dare una spinta al settore da Zurigo"
- Abbiamo parlato con Reta Guetg, responsabile della sezione ZFF Industry del Festival del cinema di Zurigo, per saperne di più sulla prossima versione fisica
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The Zurich Film Festival is one of the events that has decided to run physically in this still-uncertain period. Its platform for film professionals, ZFF Industry, is also taking a similar route by running most of its regular events physically, with international guests (see the news). Just hours before the launch of this edition, we had a chance to talk to Reta Guetg, head of ZFF Industry, who shared some of her insights into the upcoming event.
Cineuropa: When most film-industry events are moving online or have a limited physical presence, ZFF Industry is running as “normally” as possible. How is this achievable, and are you setting an example for the sector in this new world of ours?
Reta Guetg: It is a tour de force, but I think it’s really worth it. Our business is a people’s business, and encounters are key. Thankfully, we received a lot of support facilitating the flexibility of the timing from the authorities as well. Also, industry delegates are much more likely to be available to travel, while it is definitely more difficult with talents, but still, it comes down to very personal reasons and the ever-changing state of the pandemic. We also think that less is more, in the sense of having an intimate and inspiring exchange of new encounters with a limited but selective group of guests, instead of having a massive gathering. This has always been our strategy. So, when it comes to industry events on site, the trick is to keep it high-level but smaller.
At the Zurich Summit, you also aim to “kick-start a new era”. What does this mean for you, and what are the highlights of this year’s programme?
It is more urgent and interesting than ever to discuss the state of our business – and, I believe, much more inspiring, as we can have more hands-on discussions and fewer theoretical talks. At the same time, we also want to try to foresee the future and get a glimpse of it thanks to the inspiring minds attending, since they will have such different views on this new era. Personally, I think some of the most interesting topics might be: “Has the Film Business Turned Local?”, “Production During a Pandemic and How We Move Forward” and “Future of Film Festivals and Film Markets”. In a “regular” year, we would have played tennis on the Sunday. That won’t happen this time, but we will welcome US composer Ray Parker Jr, with a special concert for our Summit speakers and guests, so that’s another live event that will make people’s networking even more enjoyable.
You are also organising the Zurich Market, in partnership with the San Sebastián Film Festival, which aims to support independent producers. You have previously said, “The film world has not been waiting for a new film market,” so what is extraordinary about yours?
Yes, it’s true that the world does not need another film market. But our idea is very simple and straightforward: to help out in a strange world where people can’t meet. Also, to give a few titles the chance to be screened in cinemas, instead of virtual rooms or via screener links. But mostly, it’s to have sales agents and buyers attending to meet up and discuss things in person. When we launched this idea months ago, we didn’t know what the world would look like in September, so we had to adjust it accordingly. We will have a few American attendees, but not as many as we used to; also, the idea of having a simultaneous small market screening in the States and in San Sebastián wasn’t possible any more, due to the pandemic. Lastly, “normally”, the festival calendar is always packed from Venice to Toronto to San Sebastián; it’s obviously hugely different this year, and we are happy to welcome some of the big sales companies to Zurich. Still, with our partners, we try to generate a boost for the industry from Zurich.
As for the ZFF Academy, what are the topics that you think this year’s talents will have to deal with, and could you tell us about some of the master classes?
We have a small group of 19 participants in the ZFF Academy, in order to make it more intimate and have people really get to know each other, like on a school trip – an approach which has been very successful already. We have some inspiring speakers such as Nir Bergman, who is premiering his feature Here We Are in Zurich, and Karim Aïnouz, who is serving on the jury. The meetings among participants are equally important. For example, during our “Bits & Pieces” session, they teach each other and give feedback on current projects. They learn, but they also gain self-confidence when they meet other wonderful people with whom they can collaborate, and when they see that they are not alone in choosing this difficult career.
This year, you also have some parallel initiatives – namely, SoundTrack_Zurich, FOCAL Audience & Market Strategies, and Leading FeMales. Could you give us a quick overview of them, even though they are so different from each other?
SoundTrack_Zurich is a completely new conference on film music. The ZFF has been hosting the film-music competition for a long time, so it was a no-brainer to collaborate with the well-known SoundTrack_Cologne conference and set up an edition in Zurich. The conference consists of B2B matchmaking sessions, workshop discussions, case studies and live events. And film and music are siblings, anyway.
FOCAL Audience & Market Strategies is a brand-new Swiss initiative on a particularly important topic, where European and Swiss producers still have a lot to learn. The programme will have its final project showcase at the festival, where the participating producers will present their fresh feature-length projects still in development, with the focus being on their audience and market strategy. This is something that producers often overlook and only start to think about once the films are produced. To include the pitching at a festival makes much more sense, as it gives us the chance to invite experts to join us and discover these projects at a very early stage.
Last, but not least, at Leading FeMales, we need to talk about diversity, still – especially in 2020. This is why we are hosting a panel and a get-together that not only includes filmmakers, but also leaders from other creative sectors.
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