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Zurich Film Festival

Zurich Film Festival offers its 79’000 visitors insight into the work of the most exciting and promising filmmakers from around the world. In the International Documentary and Feature Film Competitions emerging directors have the opportunity to present their films in Zurich to the wide attention of the entire German-language market. Participants include both rising and renowned filmmakers as well as buyers, sellers, distributors, media professionals and industry leaders. Twitter I facebook Youtube I Instagram


The call for entries to the 9th International Film Music Competition is now open.

A springboard for talented film music composers from around the globe, this year’s International Film Music Competition requires participants to score the award-winning short film ETIQUETA NEGRA (BLACK LABEL) by David Vergés. 

The Zurich Film Festival and the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich AG join forces once again this year with Forum Filmmusik to organise the 9th International Film Music Competition. Entrants to the competition are asked to create a new score of their own making for the film. “We’re really proud to be celebrating the 9th edition of the Film Music Competition this year. It not only enjoys great popularity among composers and audiences, but also carries Zurich’s reputation as a capital of cinema and music to the world,” explains Christian Jungen, Director of the Zurich Film Festival. “And it’s a fine example of how great things can become when you collaborate across interdisciplinary boundaries within the field of culture.”

A jury of internationally renowned music professionals and filmmakers will nominate three works from the competition entries. These three winning compositions will be premiered at the Tonhalle Zürich during the Zurich Film Festival on September 30, 2021 by the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich under the musical direction of Frank Strobel and in the presence of the nominees. A jury of experts will select a winner, who will receive the Golden Eye for “Best International Film Music 2021”, an award endowed with a 10’000 Swiss franc cash prize.
"Without music, many a film would only be half as successful”, says Marc Barwisch, Head of Operations of the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich AG. "The power of music - especially in terms of helping to shape the dramaturgy of a film - is enormous. The fact that the soundtrack in many films is dominated by classical music is always a discovery, especially for a younger audience."

Hans Zimmer IFMW 2014 © Christian Clavadetscher for ZFF 

Performance by film composer Hans Zimmer at the International Film Music Competition 2014.
© Christian Clavadetscher for Zurich Film Festival

Three upcoming programme scouts were selected to each find and nominate 5 short films from which the film to be scored for the competition was chosen. A jury of experts comprising Marc Barwisch (Head of Artistic Operations of the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich AG), Markus Welter (director), Pierre Funck (President of Forum Filmmusik) and Reta Guetg (Head of Industry and Senior Programmer at the Zurich Film Festival) chose the winning film from the 15 nominated. The film they selected was nominated by Ivana Kvesić, the Co-Director of the Schweizer Jugendfilmtage and Programmer of the Kurzfilmtage Winterthur as well as Rote Fabrik Zurich, and future director of the animation film festival “Fantoche”. “The competition promises to be exciting because the film is open to a wide variety of scoring possibilities,” informs Pierre Funck.

ETIQUETA NEGRA (BLACK LABEL) tells the story of Erik, a gas station worker who discovers to his great surprise one night that there’s a totally different person hiding inside Alex, a regular female customer. In his short film the Catalan director David Vergés plays expertly with a wide variety of movie genres: drama, comedy, love story and small-time crook story. The film has screened at numerous festivals and scooped several awards.

Composers from around the world who have not scored or orchestrated more than three films with a duration of more than 60 minutes are eligible to enter the competition.

A download link for the film to be scored and further information are available now at
Zurich Film Festival

The Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) is the second-largest festival in the German-speaking world. Over 11 days each autumn it presents the greatest discoveries and the year’s most anticipated movies. The ZFF facilitates exchange between upcoming directors, established filmmakers, the film industry and the general public. In the year of Corona 2020, the ZFF was able with great success to implement a physical and comprehensive 165-film programme, attracting 68’000 viewers (2019: 117’000) and thousands of accredited film and media workers from across (almost) the entire globe. The 17th edition takes place from September 23 until October 03, 2021.

What do the scouts say?


Three international programme scouts were assigned to each nominate 5 short films. A jury of experts then chose the winning film from the 15 nominated. ETIQUETA NEGRA was suggested by Ivana Kvesić. 




Bianca Lucas – Filmmaker & Programmer (a.o. Sarajevo Film Festival)

My focus was on searching for smart, fresh, visually memorable shorts that demonstrated a talent in expressing a lot without making 'too much noise'. Ones that could accommodate a soundtrack without so much as dictating what and how the audience should feel.






Ivana Kvesić – Co-Director (Schweizer Jugendfilmtage), Programmer (Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur and Rote Fabrik Zurich), designated Director (Fantoche)

A good score is when it gives you another layer of feelings. You start to feel a space, it amplifies your own emotions or it even moves your body. A film with an excellent score means that the filmmaker has put a lot of energy into the creation of the sound and is aware of how much influence a score can have.






Wouter Jansen – Sales Agent (Square Eyes)

When looking for films, I had to keep in the back of my mind that the film had to be suitable to be shown with a completely new score. A film that lends itself for this should not be too dialogue heavy, so the new soundtrack doesn’t have too many limitations, and should be dynamic in it’s storytelling, so that you can go in different directions when thinking about a new score.

Further information:

About Zurich Film Festival

September 26 - October 6, 2019

The Zurich Film Festival presents the most promising new filmmakers and films.

The competition comprises of the following three categories:

  • International Feature Film Competition
  • International Documentary Film Competition
  • Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria (Feature Films and Documentary Films)

Furthermore the Zurich Film Festival includes other fascinating sections:
-Border Lines
-New World View
-Gala Premieres
-Special Screenings
-ZFF for Kids

Call for Entries! Submit your film now and take a chance to screen your film at the Zurich Film Festival 2019.

Submit now!


Zurich Film Festival





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