French actress Juliette Binoche is set to succeed Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland as the new President of the European Film Academy.

Binoche was nominated as the new academy President by the board in January 2024 and put forward to its 4,600 members for a deciding vote. Binoche, an active member of the European Film Academy for many years, will take up the role effective from 1 May 2024. Binoche received the Academy Award, BAFTA, European Film Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and the HFPA’s Golden Globe for her turn in the 1996 film The English Patient.


Juliette Binoche is set to become the new President of the European Film Academy

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The honorary role of President of the European Film Academy holds a strongly symbolic power and embodies what the academy wishes to stand for. Ingmar Bergman served as the first President and was originally chosen by the 40 founding academy members in 1989. Wim Wenders succeeded him in 1996 and he served until 2020, followed by Holland, as the Academy’s first female President.

Holland, who served as Chairwoman of the board until 2019, took up the role of President in 2021, succeeding German helmer Wim Wenders. Holland decided to step down from the role to fully dedicate her time to making films.

In a statement, Mike Downey, Chair of the board, and Matthijs Wouter Knol, CEO of the academy, said: “We want to honour Agnieszka Holland’s wish and completely understand that responsibilities besides filmmaking, however inspiring and important, can sometimes stand in the way of creating art. A decision like this is also one that makes us realise how much we owe to Agnieszka Holland’s work for our institution. On behalf of the European Film Academy, we would like to thank her for her tremendous support, strength and strong vision in all the functions she has fulfilled within the structure of the Academy. Without this, the work done in the past years would not have been the same – and it would certainly not have been as pleasant.”

Holland added: “I am not a person to easily step aside, but I have come to the conclusion that I am a filmmaker first and foremost. And this is what I want to focus on in the years to come. I have always felt honoured to act as President of the European Film Academy, having taken over from Wim Wenders, who followed in the footsteps of Ingmar Bergman. But for me, it is time to step aside now. Knowing that Juliette Binoche is willing to pick up the baton strengthens my feeling that this is a decision taken at the right moment. I could not have wished for a better successor, one who represents European cinema so strongly and convincingly throughout her impressive career. I remember writing with Krzysztof Kieślowski, when he was preparing for Three Colors: Blue, on the role of Julie, the film’s main character. The way Juliette played her shaped the film and gave it its soul. This is what a truly great actress manages to do: to give a soul to stories we as filmmakers tell. The film has also helped shape her career as an actress, and actress who continued to give a soul to many more projects she has starred in. I can warmly recommend Juliette Binoche as the new President and endorse her to all Academy members, in the hope she will be warmly welcomed by everybody.”

Holland is best known for films like Europa Europa (1990), for which she received a Golden Globe as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, Spoor (2017), earning her the Alfred Bauer Prize (Silver Bear) at the Berlin International Film Festival as well as Angry Harvest (1985) and In Darkness (2011), which both earned her another Academy Award nomination as Best Foreign Language Film. Her recent film Green Border (2023) won the Special Jury Prize at Venice International Film Festival. With shooting starting in April, Holland is currently focusing on her Kafka biopic Franz, of which Mike Downey is one of the co-producers.

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