Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer is one of the most innovative, creative and celebrated film music composers of our time. With his fusion of the ordinary and the extraordinary, traditional instruments and synthesized sounds, the simple with the complex, he has been a pioneer in exploring cinematic worlds for 30 years. German-born Zimmer celebrated his breakthrough in 1988 with the music for RAIN MAN. He has since composed the music for over 100 films, a career dotted with an Academy Award® (for THE LION KING), two Golden Globes® and three Grammys®. Always on the lookout for exceptional elements in music and fearlessly breaking musical conventions, he has advanced to become one of the most versatile film composers of his time. His best-known scores include those for AS GOOD AS IT GETS, GLADIATOR, THE DARK KNIGHT, and INCEPTION. Zimmer is currently working on Christopher Nolan’s latest film INTERSTELLAR, which will be launched this coming November. Zimmer will speak at the ZFF MASTERS about the workings of a film composer. How can you take musical inspiration from the look and theme of a film while also adding your own accents? How does music influence the world of cinema and vice versa? 

Benh Zeitlin

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Benh Zeitlin began his career as a filmmaker at the tender age of 6 when he and a friend made their own Batman film. He continued making films growing up before attending Wesleyan University, where he majored in film. After graduating, he helped start the Court 13 independent filmmaking collective and moved to New Orleans where he made short film, such as GLORY AT SEA (2008), following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the city. His debut film, BEASTS OF A SOUTHERN WILD (2012), co-written with Lucy Alibar, was critically praised and awarded with the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the Camera d’Or and the International Critics’ prize at Cannes. We will focus our discussion on Zeitlin’s debut. What inspires the 29 year old filmmaker? What drove him to create this particular film, narrated by a little girl? We will ask him about his artistic vision; the symbolism, the archaic imagery and the music he chose to convey the spirit of freedom in the film.

Niki Reiser

Niki Reiser was born 1958 in Aargau. He studied classical music in Basel and majored in film music while studying jazz & classical music in Boston. He became acquainted with director Dany Levy in 1986 and wrote the music for his first film DU MICH AUCH. His international breakthrough came with the film music for Caroline Link’s JENSEITS DER STILLE (1996). He has since composed music for numerous films including NIRGENDWO IN AFRIKA (2001), HEIDI (2001), DAS FLIEGENDE KLASSENZIMMER (2003), DIE WEISSE MASSAI (2005), IM WINTER EIN JAHRE (2008) and MARIA, IHM SCHMECKT'S NICHT (2009). As yet, Reiser is five-times-winner of the German Film Award.

Tan Dun

Now living in New York, the Chinese composer and conductor Tan Dun combines classical and modern elements in his compositions and unites Asian and European styles of music. Born in 1957, Dun composes operas and film music as well as works for orchestra. Tan Dun was awarded an Oscar and a Grammy in 2000 after creating the soundtrack to Ang Lee’s Film CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON with Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang. Zurich Film Festival welcomed this exceptional composer in 2008 for an open ZFF Masters. Tan Dun discussed his work for CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, HERO and THE BANQUET, and talked about his work between the continents. The workshop talk was accompanied by film excerpts.