Zurich Film Festival Co-Founders to Resign after 2019 Festival

Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri will step down from their posts as co-directors, with Swiss film critic and journalist Christian Jungen coming on as the new artistic director of the Zurich Film Fest.

Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri, co-founders of the Zurich Film Festival, will step down after this year's festival.

Christian Jungen, the chief cultural editor at Swiss newspaper the NZZ am Sonntag, a long-term festival partner, will take over as Zurich's new artistic director. He will be joined in the future by new commercial management. Both Schildknecht and Spoerri will continue to work with the festival on a strategic level.

"It was our wish that in the long term we could transfer operational management to other hands. We’re excited to continue to work with the new management on a strategic level as board members and advisors to the festival from 2020 onwards," Schildknecht and Spoerri said in a statement.

The Zurich Festival, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, has established itself as one of the world's top second-tier festivals, just behind the giants of Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin and Sundance.

Jungen will join the Zurich programming team in May to work together with the exiting co-directors on this year's festival.

A film critic for a quarter century, Jurgen heads the culture department of the NZZ am Samstag as well as Frame, the largest German-language film magazine, which was co-founded by the Zurich Film Festival and the NZZ am Samstag. Jurgen was president of the Swiss Film Association of Journalists from 2011-2017 and from 2013-2018 was a member of the Zurich Film Commission. He's published two books on the film industry: Hollywood in Cannes and the biography Moritz de Hadeln - Mister Film Festival, on the one-time Berlin and Venice Film director.

The 2019 Zurich Film Festival runs Sept.26-Oct.6. The program for the 15th anniversary addition will be announced September 12.