We stand behind Agnieszka Holland

    Agnieszka Holland. Credits: Jacek Poremba

    The European Film Academy firmly stands behind its President Agnieszka Holland

    We are stunned by the current personal hostility and threats from the Polish Minister of Justice, Mr Zbigniew Ziobro, against the President of the European Film Academy, the highly acclaimed filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, at a high political level because of her film ZIELONCA GRANICA (THE GREEN BORDER). Agnieszka Holland was compared to the propagandists of the Third Reich by the Minister, even though the filmmaker is the daughter of a liaison officer of the Warsaw Uprising and the granddaughter of victims of the Holocaust. THE GREEN BORDER was awarded with the Special Jury Prize at the 80th Venice International Film Festival. With this statement, the European Film Academy wants to express its unwavering support for and solidarity with Agnieszka Holland.

    One of the expectations of European cinema, of which she is an outstanding representative, is to look critically and closely at human stories, instead of looking away. Agnieszka Holland’s films are characterized by a deep humanity and respect, and she therefore deserves to be treated respectfully and humanely. It is a characteristic of significant art when cinema provokes different opinions and attitudes, when it creates the need to discuss the topics presented on a social and private level, in politics, in the media, and when speaking with family and friends. This discussion the European Film Academy will always help to facilitate, as our aim is to encourage people to speak and share opinions about the work of filmmakers from Europe. We acknowledge that art can at times be painful and uncomfortable, or be liberating and eye-opening in equal measure. Cinema has the power to set things in motion and to promote dialogue between people.

    In Europe and around the world, many artists – whether they are filmmakers, writer, thinkers or intellectuals in every field, have been and continue to be subject to hostility. Judgement and opinions reign supreme, without any conversation has taken place. We all know countless examples where it became clear pretty quickly or in retrospect how advisable it would have been to listen and speak with artists instead of insulting and threatening them. A free, democratic society can withstand any criticism because it knows the inestimable value of that very criticism in order to grow and prosper. Only those who look closely and want to understand things can solve problems. Those who criticize do so because they love life, people, their country, the world and wish for change and improvement for all. Those who remain silent have given up.

    The European Film Academy demands an immediate end to the hostility and threats against its President Agnieszka Holland. We stand fully behind her and urge critical engagement with the important issues of our time, as they are visible around us in Europe and in the films made. We strongly believe that culture in every society benefits from this.We demand respect and recognition for European filmmakers, including Agnieszka Holland. We ask for the preservation of her dignity and integrity.

    The European Film Academy