«To unite all those who love European cinema». With that mantra, the European Film Academy turns 35 and faces new challenges, without giving up its critical commitment to the issues of our time. Its origin dates back to 1988, when West Berlin was the European Capital of Culture and hosted the first European Film Awards.
At the end of the gala, in which Ingmar Bergman collected the Honorary Award, István Szabó took the stage to read a manifesto signed by all filmmakers present (Bergman, Wen- ders, Angelopoulos, Bertolucci, Fellini, Rohmer, Oliveira, Men- zel, Chabrol, Theodorakis, Almodóvar, Kieslowski, Zanussi...) which called for the strengthening of film culture in Europe and the creation of a European Film Academy.
The official foundation took place in 1989. Bergman was elected president (an honorary figure representing the outs- tanding quality and character of European cinema) and Wim Wenders, president of the Governing Board (in charge of setting up the policies of the institution).
Since then, the European Film Academy has strived to posi- tion itself as a strong institution in the global film hierarchy, facilitating crucial debates within the industry. Since the end of 2020, the Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, three-time Oscar nominee competing this year in our Official Section with ‘Green Border’, assumed the presidency of the institution, with Irish producer Mike Downey as president of the Board and the Dutch producer Matthijs Wouter Knol as director.
In its desire to build bridges between creativity and industry, share knowledge and educate audiences of all ages, the EFA has created a Short Film Network at festivals in 23 countries and launched the Month of European Film, while this autumn it will be starting a new project, the European Film Club.
Today, the EFA operates in 52 countries and has 4,600 mem- bers who represent all types of film-related professions. Every year it continues to present the prestigious European Film Awards, with a total of 24 categories, to recognize excellence.