Every year, there is a series of conferences covering a range of subjects as broad as film culture itself. Very often, the debates won’t stop with the panel’s opinions, but will carry on to include the attending Academy members, filmmakers, students, or simply film-lovers. In 2008, the EFA-Conference ‘WHAT MAKES EUROPE LAUGH? Local Comedies for an International Market’ concentrated on European comedies.

Here are some impressions from past conferences:

Derek Malcolm:

Some years ago, the International Film Critics Association (Fipresci) organised a seminar in conjunction with the European Film Academy. We called it “Don’t Shoot The Critics”. Many European filmmakers might disagree with that sentiment, having suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous critics. But there was method in our madness, since one of the themes of the seminar was that editors these days persist in appointing as film critics journalists with very little knowledge of the medium. Since everyone sees Hollywood films, they reckon, readers would be interested in little else but star profiles, production gossip and reviews of American rather than European and world cinema.
The results of this policy are readily evident in many European papers and magazines, and Fipresci is very aware of the change of emphasis. It makes even good critics feel they are writing with one arm tied behind their backs. It is not always their fault. And the result is that both European filmmakers and those who buy their films must often feel badly neglected. Can anything be done about it?
The seminar was extremely relevant to the work of the European Film Academy, since it cannot promote film successfully without the aid of the media, whether it is the written media, television or radio. If we can’t identify our problems, we certainly cannot begin to solve them. But solve them we must for the health of European film and also the health of arts journalism itself. So don’t shoot the critics, even if many of them may well deserve a long term of imprisonment! At least some of us are flying the flag for European cinema rather than simply Hollywood.

Derek Malcolm, Honorary President, Fipresci (Fédération Internationale de la presse cinématographique) and EFA member, UK.

Irene Bignardi:

The public and the media love any form of competition. And the fact of having created an appointment which enhances and highlights the competition among European films, in the same way as there is the Oscar competition among the American ones, has cast a lot of attention on European movies, in an unprecedented way. The media and the public have found a new reason of attention, and have discovered the range and the richness of European cinema seen as a whole.

The conference “Film Festival in the Spotlight” has been a great idea and it was a very friendly atmosphere and well directed event. I feel the meeting was very useful in order to get to know each other and to confront our problems and our points of view.
I think that EFA has established an important point of reference through which you can easily pass to reach your colleagues and the other representatives of European cinema. Where there is a human face it is so much easier to draw connections …

Irene Bignardi, Director Locarno International Film Festival and EFA member, Italy.

EFA Conferences & Seminars

June 1996
Strategies for Survival – The Challenge of Independent Filmmaking

November 1996
The Actor’s Value – Does Europe need a Star System?

September 1997
Don’t Shoot the Critic
San Sebastian

December 1997
State of the High-Tech Art

June 1998
Pleading for the Darkness

July 1998
Update your Promotion

December 1999
Producing for the Next Millennium

December 2000
E la Nave Va – For a New Energy in European Cinema

December 2001
Film Festivals in the Spotlight

December 2002
For a European Agenda for Film Education at School

February 2003
Hopper and Wenders: Until the End of the World
Berlinale Talent Campus, Berlin

February 2003
Bankruptcy and Resurrection – A Lesson in Damage Control
Berlinale Talent Campus, Berlin

December 2003
Let’s Talk About Content! How to train future filmmakers in artistic, cultural and social skills

February 2004
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Critics
Berlinale Talent Campus, Berlin

December 2004
Shop Talk: Actors Talk About Their Work

February 2005
Production Design: What You See Is What You Get
Berlinale Talent Campus, Berlin

February 2005
A Lesson In Instant Filmmaking
Berlinale Talent Campus, Berlin

October 2005
Spot On: Europe
Slubice & Frankfurt/Oder

December 2005
The Agony And the Ecstasy - Being A Film Composer

February 2006
Colour Me Kieslowski
Berlinale Talent Campus, Berlin

December 2006
Cinema of Tomorrow: An encounter with young European filmmakers

February 2007
Short Waves
Berlinale Talent Campus, Berlin

December 2007
EUROPE ON THE MOVE - Migration in Movies

December 2008
Local Comedies for an International Market

May 2009
EFA Think Tank
Essen / Germany