EFA Diary 2005

EIN JAHR IM RÜCKBLICK [A year in retrospective]

by Pascal Edelmann


Back in Berlin after the European Film Awards 2004 in Barcelona, the preparations for another EFA Master Class are already fully under way. From January 6 on, 18 cinematographers from across Europe spend a week with Anthony Dod Mantle (EUROPEAN CINEMATOGRAPHER 2003 for 28 DAYS LATER and DOGVILLE) in the EFA Master Class DEVELOPING A PERSONAL VISUAL DICTIONARY. Also, just 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 2004. The EFA Board holds its first regular annual Board meeting in Moscow on the occasion of the Moscow International Film Festival. As one result of the meeting it is decided to modify the selection procedure so that in the 20 countries with the most EFA members, these members vote one film directly into the selection.



All EFA activities within the Berlin International Film Festival are overshadowed by the sudden and unexpected death of EFA Chairman Humbert Balsan. An informal Board Meeting is summoned at the EFA Secretariat and Nik Powell is elected to step in as Acting Chairman until the next regular EFA Board elections at the end of the year. In memory of Humbert Balsan, there is a public screening of Y AURA-T-IL DE LA NEIGE À NOËL? As part of the Berlinale Talent Campus, EFA presents two events: In “Production Design: What You See Is What You Get” Wim Wenders screens excerpts from his film LAND OF PLENTY and discusses the co-operation with production designer Nathan Amondson and editor Moritz Laube. “Lesson In Instant Filmmaking” sees the screening of the film shot within the EFA Master Class HOW TO COMBINE VISION AND CRAFT AND MAKE A FILM IN ONE WEEK with Mike Figgis (Slovenia, November 2004). Afterwards, Mike Figgis and the majority of the EFA Master Class participants discuss their experiences and what they learned from it. During the Panorama Reception EFA and UIP present the Prix UIP Berlin.



The Tampere Film Festival in Finland is festival number five to award a short film with the Prix UIP. In cooperation with the festival and the European Co-ordination of Film Festivals (ECFF), EFA and UIP also present SHORT MATTERS!, the short film nominees of 2004, in Tampere. The cooperation with ECFF is further intensified and leads to the presentation of this short film programme at the festivals in Lecce (Italy), Dresden (Germany), Linz (Austria), Umeå (Sweden), Helsinki, Drama (Greece), Münster (Germany), Århus (Denmark), Braunschweig and Wiesbaden (both Germany). At the same time the selection procedure for the Awards starts in Berlin: 50 European institutions, associations and media are confirming their co-operation. Various EFA publications are prepared, edited and designed to come out in time for Cannes: A DVD titled “Postcards 2003 – 2004” contains the clips made by film students across Europe for the Awards Ceremonies of the past two years as well as a booklet summarising the project with texts by the young film critics Pamela Bienzobas and Claire Chabat. A 60-page brochure reflects the discussions between actors and actresses during the EFA Conference 2004 SHOP TALK: ACTORS TALK ABOUT THEIR WORK in Barcelona. And a DVD titled DEVELOPING A PERSONAL VISUAL DICTIONARY documents the EFA Master Class with the same title.



Preparations are underway for another SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY, an EFA project which brings together established EFA Members with young filmmakers. Invited by the International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Nikola Joetze (production assistance) travels to Belgrade (Serbia & Montenegro) to open the programme SHORT MATTERS! (the short films nominated in 2004) and to introduce EFA’s activities and goals within a press conference. EFA director Marion Döring and Gisela Corsten, taking care of finances, meet with potential partners in Warsaw to discuss the possibilities of hosting the European Film Awards in the Polish capital.



The International Cannes Film Festival sees a Board meeting where it is decided to introduce two new award categories: EUROPEAN EDITOR and EUROPEAN PRODUCTION DESIGNER. In Cannes an agreement is signed with the mayor of Seville to announce the nominations for the European Film Awards in the next four years in the framework of the Seville Film Festival. The Transilvania International Film Festival in Cluj (Romania) screens SHORT MATTERS! And the International Film Festival Festroia in Setúbal (Portugal) screens the 2004 Discovery nominees.



The Cracow Film Festival in Poland and the Norwegian Short Film Festival in Grimstad present two more Prix UIPs. Because of its great success, other festivals are interested in joining the Prix UIP initiative and this possibility is explored by the EFA and its partners. Bettina Schwarz attends the ECFF conference “Film Festivals and the Digital Challenge” in Brussels. Maria von Hörsten travels to the documentary festival On The Sunny Side Of The Doc in Marseille to oversee the first meeting of the selection committee for this year’s documentary award.



In Portugal, EFA and UIP present the Prix UIP Vila do Conde. For the sixth time and again invited by the Karlovy Vary Film Festival (Czech Republic), the EFA Board members come together for the European Film Awards selection. In memory of EFA Chairman Humbert Balsan, the Jerusalem International Film Festival organises a Humbert Balsan Day with screenings of his last films. The festival also screens the SHORT MATTERS! programme. Marion Döring attends the International Film Festival Palic in Serbia & Montenegro as president of the jury. Together with the Motovun Film Festival in Croatia, EFA organises another SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY where young filmmakers from Ukraine, Switzerland, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Slovenia, Portugal, Croatia and Belgium meet with EFA Members Stefan Arsenijevic´, Francine Brücher, Mike Downey and Nik Powell for a weekend of screenings and discussions on film. Marion Döring, Nikola Joetze and Viviane Gajewski from the EFA Secretariat are in Motovun to assist and oversee the project. Some of the participants will create the filmed “postcards” for the 2005 Ceremony.



At the Film Festival in Sarajevo, and at the same time at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, two further Prix UIP winners are presented. In Sarajevo, there is a spezial screening of all short films already nominated for 2005. Meanwhile at the EFA Secretariat, Maria von Hörsten organises the voting procedure for the European Film Awards 2005: 1,600 copies have to be made of each of the 46 shortlisted films and shipped out to members across Europe. DDA Productions and EFA sign a Termination Agreement and it is announced that EFA takes over the production of the European Film Awards. The International Film Festival Espoo Ciné (Finland) screens the 2004 Discovery nominees.



Marion Döring travels to the Venice International Film Festival where EFA and UIP present the 11th Prix UIP. In Greece the International Short Film Festival in Drama presents the 12th Prix UIP. The short film nominees for the 2005 European Film Awards are now complete and it is announced that two more festivals will join the Prix UIP initiative from 2006 on: International Film Festival Rotterdam and Film Festival Cork. In the EFA Secretariat, the shipping of about 60,000 video tapes by sponsor TNT to the EFA membership is organised. Across the continent, they will now view the 46 films and vote for their favourites. The members are invited to nominate the candidates in each of the main categories. Jameson Irish Whiskey opens the official voting website and the public vote for the Jameson People’s Choice Awards begins. Throughout Europe, the campaign is supported by EFA’s media partners. The short films nominated in 2004, in the SHORT MATTERS! Programme, travel to the European Short Film Biennale Ludwigsburg (Germany) and from there to the Panorama of European Cinema in Athens and Cyprus.



Upon an invitation by the Icelandic Film Centre, the EFA Board holds its annual nomination meeting in Iceland. For the fifth 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 for EUROPEAN COMPOSER 2005. Ghent’s international jury already selects the Prix UIP Ghent 2006, the first short film nominee for the European Film Awards 2006. The Documentary Jury meets in Berlin: producer Jacques Laurent (Belgium), Alessandro Signetto (Italy), president of DocIt, and Noemi Schory (Israel), head of the Sam Spiegel Film And Television School Jerusalem. They decide upon the EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY DOCUMENTARY 2005 – PRIX ARTE and announce the winner. Together with the Federal Agency for Civic Education, EFA organises “Spot on: Europe”, a workshop for students and young filmmakers from Germany and Poland.



The nominated short films 2005 are screened at interfilm, the Berlin International Short Film Festival, and at the Film Festival Seville. EFA press officer Pascal Edelmann and Maria von Hörsten travel to Seville where the nominations for the European Film Awards 2005 are announced by EFA Chairman Nik Powell, Board Members Uli Felsberg and Antonio Pérez Pérez, and EFA members Florinda Bolkan and Michael Ballhaus. The festival also screens the majority of films from the selection list. In Valladolid, the second short film nominee for 2006 is presented. The EFA members are voting for the winners of the European Film Awards.



The European Film Awards return to Berlin with a strong focus on film music. EFA Members and guests checking in at the EFA Welcome Counter are welcomed by Sofie- Louise Thörner Andersen (EFA Accounting/Administration) and Viviane Gajewski. A first weekend highlight is the concert “The Music of the Image–European Film Composers in Concert” with the Flemish Radio Symphonic Orchestra under Dirk Brossé. The composers Bruno Coulais, Frédéric Devreese, Alberto Iglesias, Maurice Jarre, Stephen Warbeck and Gabriel Yared are present to introduce their works. The EFA Symposium “The Agony and the Ecstasy – Being a Film Composer” with some of the composers also concentrates on the importance of music for film. In addition to the European Film Academy holding its annual General Assembly, the Producers Club is meeting in Berlin with its members. The Awards Ceremony on Saturday, December 3, is broadcast on the following evening in most European territories. 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, Sir Sean Connery.