EFA Diary 2007

Preparing the 20th European Film Awards

by Pascal Edelmann


Returning to Berlin after the European Film Awards in Warsaw, the EFA Secretariat immediately continues working on the preparations for the 20th European Film Awards and on a publication on occasion of the anniversary, PROJECTIONS 15, published by Faber & Faber. The European Film Academy and United International Pictures (UIP) continue their co-operation presenting short film prizes at a network of film festivals around Europe. At each of the participating festivals, a European short film is presented with the Prix UIP, including 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, followed by the International Film Festival Rotterdam (the Netherlands). Two further candidates were already selected in Ghent (Belgium) and Valladolid (Spain) in October and November 2006. EFA Director Marion Döring and head of finances Gisela Corsten travel to Copenhagen for meetings with potential partners for the organisation of the European Film Awards 2008.


On occasion of the Berlin International Film Festival the EFA Board holds its first annual meeting. It is decided to base the eligibility of films for the European Film Awards on the date of their first public screening and no longer on the date of the production. Also, the award for an artistic contribution is re-named PRIX D’EXCELLENCE. As part of the Berlinale Talent Campus EFA co-presents SHORT WAVES, a panel discussion with Ralitza Petrova (Bulgaria), Ken Wardrop (Ireland), Philip Ilson (UK), Annette Kilzer (Germany) and Deepak Nayar (USA). Moderated by Astrid Kühl (Short Film Agency Hamburg), the discussion focuses on the particular benefits and problems of the short film genre and then turns into an open exchange about the possibilities of digital and online exploitation. In a special short film awards ceremony, EFA and UIP award the Prix UIP Berlin.


The Tampere Film Festival (Finland) is festival number six to award a short film with a Prix UIP 2007. In co-operation with the festival, EFA and UIP also present SHORT MATTERS! - a programme of the short film nominees of 2006. This initiative is constantly intensified and leads to the presentation of the films at the festivals in Sofia (Bulgaria), Dresden (Germany), Lecce (Italy), Setubal (Portugal), Ludwigsburg (Germany), and Drama (Greece). At the same time the selection procedure for the Awards starts in Berlin: 50 European institutions, associations and media are confirming their co-operation. Together with the Malta Film Commission, EFA presents another SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY where young filmmakers from Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Sweden, and Switzerland meet EFA Members Francine Brücher, Cedomir Kolar and Sophie Maintigneux for a weekend of screenings and discussions on film. From the EFA Secretariat, Nikola Joetze and Viviane Gajewski are present to oversee the project.


EFA Director Marion Döring and junior producer Nikola Joetze travel to MipTV in Cannes to present the European Film Awards as a TV product and negotiate licensing the ceremony with various broadcasters. The SHORT MATTERS! programme is by now so successful that once again a second set of film prints is produced and the short films are also presented at the festivals in Belgrade (Serbia) and Jerusalem (Israel) from where they go to Umeå (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland), Münster (Germany), Uppsala (Sweden), Århus (Denmark), and Bristol (UK). In the end of April Marion Döring participates in the conference “Rethinking Citizenship Education in a European Migration Societies” in Lisbon to talk about the role of film in communicating migration-specific content.


The EFA Secretariat re-locates to different offices in the same building. Jürgen Biesinger joins EFA Productions as executive producer and Stefanie Röders joins the EFA Secretariat as production assistant. The International Cannes Film Festival sees an informal Board meeting to discuss the state of preparations for the 20th European Film Awards 2007 in Berlin as well as potential future host cities.


EFA publishes CINEMA OF TOMORROW, a 48-page documentation of the EFA Conference 2006. The Krakow Film Festival (Poland) and the Norwegian Short Film Festival in Grimstad present two more Prix UIPs. On invitation by the Filmfest Munich, the EFA Board Members and invited experts Gunnar Bergdahl, Stefan Kitanov, Derek Malcolm and José María Riba come together for the European Film Awards selection meeting. Maria von Hörsten, who takes care of the awarding procedures, travels to the documentary market On the Sunny Side Of The Doc in La Rochelle (France) for the first meeting of the selection committee for this year’s documentary award.


Invited by the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, the network FAN of Europe (Film Academies Network of Europe) holds another meeting in the Czech Republic. In Portugal EFA and UIP present the Prix UIP Vila do Conde. And in Copenhagen a further meeting takes place to negotiate the organisation of the European Film Awards 2008 in the Danish capital.


At the Film Festival in Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina), and at the same time at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (UK), two further Prix UIP winners are presented. In Sarajevo, there is also a special screening of the short films already nominated for 2007. Meanwhile at the EFA Secretariat, the voting procedure for the European Film Awards 2007 is prepared: DVDs of the 42 shortlisted films are being produced to be shipped out to members across Europe.


The voting campaign for the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD 2007 begins, supported by EFA’s media partners in 24 European countries. The final Prix UIP winners for 2007 are presented at the festivals in Venice (Italy) and Drama (Greece). In the EFA Secretariat the shipping of about 60,000 DVDs by EFA sponsor TNT to the EFA membership is organised. Across the continent, they will now view the 42 films and vote for their favourites. The members are invited to nominate the candidates in each of the main categories.


EFA Productions’ Nikola Joetze (junior producer) attends MIPCOM in Cannes to present the awards ceremony as a broadcasting product. And Bettina Schwarz (co-ordination Prix UIP and training projects) travels to Ghent (Belgium) where EFA, UIP and the Flanders International Film Festival - for the seventh time - present the short film nominees and their directors in Ghent. EFA Members Stefan Kitanov and Nik Powell and members of the World Soundtrack Academy Jacques Dubrulle and Marian Ponnet come together in Ghent to establish the nominations for EUROPEAN COMPOSER 2007. Ghent’s international jury already selects the Prix UIP Ghent 2008, the first short film nominee for the European Film Awards 2008. The documentary jury meets in Berlin: Francine Brücher (Swiss Films), David Fisher (The New Israeli Film Foundation) and director/producer Philip Gröning (Germany) screen the nominated films and decide upon the EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY DOCUMENTARY 2007 - PRIX ARTE. On invitation by the Cinema-Festa Internazionale di Roma the EFA Board holds its annual nomination meeting in Rome for the second time. The short films nominated in 2006, in the framework of the SHORT MATTERS! programme, travel to the Panorama of European Cinema in Athens and Cyprus - the next festivals to screen the programme are Braunschweig and Wiesbaden (both Germany), and - for the first time - Bratislava (Slovakia).


The nominated short films 2007 are screened at interfilm, the international short film festival in Berlin, at the festival in Seville (Spain), and - for the first time - in Tallinn (Estonia). Marion Döring and EFA Press Officer Pascal Edelmann travel to Seville where the nominations for the European Film Awards 2007 are announced. The festival also screens films from the selection list and, together with EFA, presents the exhibition DEDICATED TO EUROPEAN FILM: BERGMAN, ALMODOVAR AND FRIENDS. In Cork and Valladolid, two more short film nominees for 2008 are presented. The EFA Members are voting for the winners of the European Film Awards.


For their 20th anniversary, the European Film Awards once again return to Berlin. EFA Members and guests checking in at the EFA Welcome Counter are welcomed by Viviane Gajewski and Rainer Pyls. A first weekend highlight is the concert HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY! with the Flemish Radio Orchestra under Dirk Brossé. Composers Craig Armstrong, David Arnold, Wim Mertens, and Jean-Claude Petit are present to introduce their works. The EFA Conference EUROPE ON THE MOVE - MIGRATION IN MOVIES concentrates on the impact of migration on culture and cinema. Lord David Puttnam gives a lecture at the EFA General Assembly. The Awards Ceremony on Saturday, 1 December, is broadcast in over 60 countries. In France and Germany, ARTE is again presenting a thematic evening focusing on the European Film Awards.