Zurich Film Festival Beefs Up TV Focus With Small-Screen Competition

Hackerville Still 1 - Publicity - H 2018
Bogdan Comanescu

Shows from around the world — including 'Hackerville,' a crime drama from HBO Europe and TNT Serie in Germany — will vie for a $10,000 prize as well as key exposure to local buyers.

Four years ago, Zurich was one of the first film festivals to embrace the small screen, launching the TVision sidebar to showcase innovative TV productions. So it should come as no surprise that, for its 2018 edition, Zurich has elevated TV to star status, creating a stand-alone competition section for series.

"We wanted to focus more attention on television and also, with a competition, give the producers an opportunity to use the festival for promotion," says festival co-founder Karl Spoerri, explaining the move.

The ZFF Series section will include six international world premieres, including Hackerville, a crime drama from HBO Europe and TNT Serie in Germany; the Netflix-Telemundo co-production Miguel, about Latino musical icon Luis Miguel; and Fox Networks Group Latin America's crime thriller Here on Earth.

The winner of the top award — the Golden Eye — will receive a $10,000 cash prize. Zurich will highlight TV series that have not yet sold to Switzerland, providing an extra business incentive for local networks to check them out.

"Our audience hasn't seen these series yet and we're hoping the premiere in Zurich could lead to a broadcast deal or two," says Spoerri. "Mixing business and pleasure, just like we do in the rest of the festival."

 This story first appeared in the Sept. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.