EFA Diary 2004


by Marion Döring



Right after the European Film Awards 2003 in Berlin, the EFA Secretariat continues with the preparations for Barcelona 2004. As in the past years, the European Film Academy and United International Pictures (UIP) continue their co-operation presenting short film prizes at a network of twelve festivals around Europe. The winners receive an automatic nomination in the short film category of the European Film Awards. The Premiers Plans Festival in Angers/France is the first festival in the new year (two further candidates were already selected in Ghent/Belgium and Valladolid/Spain in October and November 2003).



The EFA Board holds its first regular annual Board meeting in Berlin on the occasion of the Berlin International Film Festival. As one result of the meeting EFA announces that Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers are invited to become members and that their films are eligible for the European Film Awards. For the fifth time, and again during the Berlinale, the European Pitch Point invites 12 writers to pitch their stories to an audience of international producers. EFA members Nik Powell and Ventura Pons are members of the jury. The event is a co-operation with Script House (Berlin), Maurits Binger Institut (Amsterdam) and Focal (Lausanne) as well as the European Producers Club, Atéliers du Cinema Européen, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and the Media Programme of the EC. EFA and UIP present the Prix UIP Berlin. As part of the Berlinale Talent Campus EFA, together with Fipresci and the Goethe Institute, presents THE TALENT PRESS, a project for twelve young film critics and journalists. Together with the established journalists Peter Cowie, Klaus Eder, Chris Fujiwara, Derek Malcolm and Aruna Vasudev, they publish “The Daily Talent Press”. As part of the programme EFA presents the panel discussion HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE CRITICS with Ken Loach and Jens Meurer, Derek Malcolm, Chris Fujiwara and Aruna Vasudev.



The Tampere Film Festival in Finland is festival number six to award a short film with the Prix UIP. As in the preceding months, EFA Director Marion Döring travels to Barcelona to continue the negotiations for the presentation of the 2004 European Film Awards in the Catalan capital. At the same time the selection procedure for the Awards starts in Berlin: 50 European institutions, associations and media are confirming their co-operation. EFA press officer Pascal Edelmann attends the “Spirit of Fire” Debut Film Festival in Khanty-Mansiisk in Siberia.



On occasion of the 15th anniversary of the founding of the EFA’s predecessor, the European Cinema Society, EFA and filmlounge berlin organise a panel discussion about the state of European film. Participants include EFA Director Marion Döring, Nikolaj Nikitin, Wieland Speck and Jens Meurer. EFA also participates in the conference EUROVISIONEN, organised by the Federal Agency for Education, Robert Bosch Foundation and Goethe Institute. One panel discussion sees the participation of EFA’s deputy chairman Nik Powell, another is moderated by EFA Director Marion Döring. The conference deals with European identity and culture and is under the patronage of Viviane Reding, member of the European Commission, responsible for education and culture. As part of an extensive programme preparing the European Film Awards in Barcelona EFA organises a press conference with board members Assumpta Serna and Antonio Pérez Pérez at the film festival in Malaga to announce this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Carlos Saura. Marion Döring attends GoEast, the Festival for Central and Eastern European Film in Wiesbaden as a member of the jury.



At another preparatory meeting in Barcelona, a creative committee including EFA Director Marion Döring and Assumpta Serna is founded. The International Cannes Film Festival sees an informal Board meeting where the board appoints Marion Döring to act as creative producer for the European Film Awards 2004 alongside with Dennis Davidson and Zoë Taylor as executive producers. The Cracow Film Festival in Poland presents the Prix UIP Cracow.



Marion Döring attends the Transilvania Film Festival in Cluj/Romania and participates in a panel discussion on the prospects of European film. In Norway, the Prix UIP Grimstad is presented. EFA and UIP present the short film nominees of 2003 at the Arcipelago International Film Festival in Rome and at the Film Festival Festroia in Setubal/Portugal EFA presents the Discovery films. The co-operation with the European Co-ordination of Film Festivals is intensified and leads to the presentation of EFA films at nine different festivals across Europe.



At another planning session in Barcelona, Manuel Huerga is contracted as the director for the European Film Awards 2004. In Portugal, EFA and UIP present the Prix UIP Vila do Conde. Invited by the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, the EFA Board members come together for the European Film Awards selection. This is already the fifth Board meeting in Karlovy Vary. As part of the recent opening of EFA for Palestinian and Israeli filmmakers, EFA presents a special event both in Jerusalem and Ramallah. EFA chairman Humbert Balsan and deputy chairman Nik Powell, EFA Director Marion Döring and EFA members Fabrizio Mosca, Ademir Kenovic and Renate Roginas introduce EFA’s work and discuss with local filmmakers. In Barcelona, the preparations for the Awards Weekend proceed and the screening of nominated films in different Spanish cities is discussed.



On occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Sarajevo Film Festival EFA, together with the festival and with the support of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, organises a special event bringing together EFA members and filmmakers from the region. After an introduction by Dusan Makavejev and Cedomir Kolar a discussion in Mostar with Lissy Bellaiche and Mike Downey focuses on the European Dream. In the evening, a gala screening features the short films nominated so far. Also at the festival in Sarajevo, and at the same time at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, two further Prix UIP winners are presented. Meanwhile at the EFA Secretariat, Maria von Hörsten organises the voting procedures for the European Film Awards 2003: 1,600 copies have to be made of each of the 40 shortlisted films and shipped out to members across Europe.



In order to prepare an EFA Master Class with Mike Figgis in Slovenia, Marion Döring and Bettina Schwarz travel to Ljubljana to meet with the local partners. At the same time, Gisela Corsten travels to the Venice International Film Festival where EFA and UIP present the 11th Prix UIP. After another planning session in Barcelona and upon an invitation by the Umeå International Film Festival, EFA once again organises the informal encounter A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY. Film students from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Palestine, Poland, Spain and Sweden come to Umeå with their films and meet with EFA members Hrafn Gunnlaugsson, Ventura Pons and Nik Powell. The young filmmakers will contribute the “filmed postcards” to the 2004 European Film Awards Ceremony. At the International Film Festival in San Sebastian EFA hosts a press lunch to announce the 42 films selected for this year’s European Film Awards. In Greece the International Short Film Festival in Drama presents the twelfth Prix UIP. The short film nominees for the 2004 European Film Awards are now complete. In the EFA Secretariat, Viviane Gajewski organises the shipping of about 60,000 video tapes by EFA sponsor TNT to the EFA membership. Across the continent, they will now view the 40 films and vote for their favourites. The members are invited to nominate three candidates in each of the six categories. Jameson Irish Whiskey, sponsors of the People’s Choice Awards, open their website for the pan-European audience to vote for best director, best actor and best actress. The People’s Choice Awards are supported throughout Europe by campaigns of EFA’s media sponsors.



The application procedure for the EFA Master Class with Mike Figgis is completed and the participants are selected. For the fourth time, EFA, UIP and the Flanders International Film Festival present the short film nominees and their directors in Ghent. EFA Board Members and members of the World Soundtrack Academy come together in Ghent to establish the nominations in the new award category EUROPEAN COMPOSER. Ghent’s international jury already selects the Prix UIP Ghent 2005, the first short film nominee for the 2005 European Film Awards. In Warsaw, another European film capitol interested in hosting a future edition of the European Film Awards, the EFA Board holds its annual nomination meeting upon an invitation by the Warsaw International Film Festival.



In Ljubljana, a group of European filmmakers comes together for the EFA Master Class HOW TO COMBINE VISION AND CRAFT AND MAKE A FILM IN ONE WEEK with Mike Figgis. The Documentary Jury meets in Sevilla: director Nicolas Philibert (France), producer Darius Jablonski (Poland), and Leena Pasanen, head of cultural and documentary programmes at YLE Teema (Finland). They decide upon the European Film Academy Documentary 2004 - Prix Arte and announce the winner in Sevilla. The festival also screens a selection of films from the selection list. In Barcelona, the 2004 nominations for the European Film Awards are officially announced. As part of the Cycle of European Cinema, films selected / nominated for the 2004 European Film Awards are screened in different Spanish cities. In Valladolid, the second short film nominee for 2005 is presented. The EFA members are voting for the winners of the European Film Awards.



The European Film Awards weekend under the auspices of the European Film Academy on Friday and Saturday, December 10 and 11, is marked by a strong presence of actors and actresses from all over Europe. This year’s EFA Conference SHOP TALK - ACTORS TALK ABOUT THEIR WORK focuses on the experience and work of actors. The European Producers Club and Catalan Films are inviting to a co-production forum. In addition to the European Film Academy holding its annual General Assembly, the Producers Club is meeting in Barcelona with their members. The European Film Promotion’s Shooting Stars are also part of the Awards Weekend, participating in both the EFA Conference and Awards Ceremony. The Awards Ceremony on Saturday, December 11, is broadcast in Spain by TVE2 the same night. International TV stations in most European territories transmit a 90-minute broadcast of the event on the following day. In France and Germany, Arte is again presenting a thematic evening focusing on the European Film Awards and the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Carlos Saura.