EFA Honours Aleksandr Sokurov

On the occasion of this year's 30th European Film Awards (EFAs) and in recognition of a unique contribution to the world of film, the European Film Academy takes great pleasure in presenting Aleksandr Sokurov with the LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD for his outstanding work in the field of directing, dramaturgy and cinematography.

Having first graduated in History, Aleksandr Sokurov started out making various TV films and documentaries and then studied at the Soviet Union's famous VGIK film school. All films created by Sokurov during the Soviet period were banned in the USSR. One of his first feature-length films, MOURNFUL UNCONCERN, was in competition at the Berlinale in 1987, and in the same year his film THE LONELY VOICE OF MAN, his 1978 debut which was prohibited in the USSR, won the Locarno Bronze Leopard and the FIPRESCI Award at the Moscow IFF. When the very first EFAs were celebrated in what was then West-Berlin in 1988, he was nominated with DAYS OF ECLIPSE in the category "Best Young Film". He was again nominated for the EFAs in 2001 with ELEGY OF A VOYAGE, this time in the category "European Documentary".

His epic MOTHER AND SON premiered at the 1997 Moscow IFF and received various awards, among them the Vatican’s Tertium Millennium Award. The film was followed by FATHER AND SON, the second part of the still not completed trilogy which won the FIPRESCI Award in Cannes in 2003.

Aleksandr Sokurov’s tetralogy on the effects of power was also recognised across Europe and the world: The first one, MOLOCH, about Hitler, was in competition in Cannes in 1999, awarded for the Best Screenplay, and also EFA-nominated. The second, TAURUS, about Lenin, where Sokurov was also director of photography, again premiered in Cannes in 2001, and received the Russian NIKA Awards for Best Film, Director and Cinematographer. The third, THE SUN (2005), about the Japanese Emperor Hirohito – again with Sokurov as cinematographer, was in competition in Berlin and received the Russian NIKA Award for Best Screenplay. Finally, the film FAUST received the Golden Lion in Venice in 2011, the Ecumenical Jury Prize and the NIKA for Best Film.

He stunned film-lovers and critics alike with his 2002 Cannes entry RUSSIAN ARK which was filmed in a single shot. The film was EFA-nominated and won the NIKAs for production and costume design. Sokurov was also awarded the Robert Bresson Award in Venice and the Vittorio De Sica Award.

Meanwhile, he keeps filming documentaries in Russia - a recurring theme in these being the military world of the former USSR. From 2011 until 2016 he taught Cinema at the Kabardino-Balkarian State University in the North Caucasus where he opened his workshop for young filmmakers from the region. For several years, his foundation “Example of Intonation” has been identifying talented young people, collecting funds, and launching films of new directors. As a respected public figure, he also created “Sokurov’s Group for the Protection of the Cultural and Historical Image of Russian Cities”.

In 2015, he presented in competition at the Venice IFF FRANCOFONIA, his film about the French Louvre during the Nazi occupation, awarded with the Fedeora Award and the Fondazione Mimmo Rotella Award.

As a writer and director, Aleksandr Sokurov continues to be an important and inspirational voice in Russian and European cinema, not just artistically but also through his courageous commitment for the freedom of speech and artistic expression and humanistic values.

He will be an honorary guest at the 30th European Film Awards Ceremony on 9 December in Berlin - streamed live on www.europeanfilmawards.eu

Berlin, 5 June 2017