WARSAW, POLAND – The more than 3,800 members of the European Film Academy (EFA) have elected Polish director Agnieszka Holland as the new EFA President. The Europa Europa director will take over from German filmmaker Wim Wenders, who has been the president of the Academy since 1996.
“The time is challenging and to save the creative power of independent cinema and the involvement of our audience, we need to use all our experience and imagination,” said Agnieszka Holland, who was the chairwoman of the EFA Board from to 2014 to 2019. “I believe there is an important role for EFA here and I am happy to be part of it.”
Matthijs Wouter Knol will also take over from Marion Döring as EFA Director alongside a re-vamped Board, which will include Hungary’s On Body and Soul director Ildikó Enyedi, representing Central & Eastern Europe.
“Whilst we welcome with open arms Agnieszka and Matthijs,” says continuing EFA Chair Mike Downey, “the departure of Wim Wenders and Marion Döring will mark the end of an era for the Academy. This having been said – I know that I can speak for Wim, Marion and the Board, that the future of the Academy is assured with these two new appointments and that their experience and standing in the industry backed by a re-invigorated board membership bodes well in these increasingly mercurial times in which we live.”
Agnieszka Holland, who began her career as assistant to directors Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda before emigrating to France, is best known for her films To Kill a Priest (1988), about the murder of Jerzy Popiełuszko, historical drama Europa Europa (1991), and In Darkness (2011), which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.
She has more recently been nominated in the Best Director category for her latest film, Charlatan (2020), a Czech drama about faith healer Jan Mikolášek, at this year’s European Film Awards, presented by the European Film Academy.
The EFA’s annual European Film Awards, which were supposed to be held at a gala event in Reykjavik this year, will be awarded in a series of virtual ceremonies taking place from December 8 to December 12, and available to stream online at the EFA’s website, as well as on German television.
In addition to Agnieszka Holland’s latest film, this year’s frontrunners include last year’s Polish Oscar nominee Corpus Christi, directed by Jan Komasa and written Mateusz Pacewicz, who are both also nominated in the best director and best screewriter categories. The film’s lead Bartosz Bielenia has been nominated in the best actor category as well.
The Czech Republic’s World War II drama written and directed by Václav Marhoul, The Painted Bird, which emerged as the biggest winner of this year’s Czech Lion ceremony, is also among this year’s nominees.