EFA Night 2015

“We all want to help one another … we want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery… in this world there’s room for everyone and the good Earth is rich and can provide for everyone … but we have lost the way …” After a moving excerpt from Charlie Chaplin’s speech in THE GREAT DICTATOR, the evening’s host, German TV host, author and director Thomas Hermanns, welcomed the audience to the 28th European Film Awards ceremony at Berlin’s Haus der Berliner Festpiele.

First presenters were Italian actress Elisa Sednaoui and her Swedish colleague and EFA Nominee Johannes Bah Kuhnke who came on stage with a suitcase resembling that in Roy Andersson’s A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE. They announced the winner of the European Screenwriter 2015: Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthimis Filippou for THE LOBSTER. The latter, who is also the film’s director, thanked the academy, all the financiers and co-producers and “the wonderful actors who made this film possible”.

Romanian actress Ana Ularu, one of the EFP’s Shooting Stars 2012, then presented European Short Film 2015 to Jure Pavlovic for PICNIC. The director promised to be short in spite of the, as he said, “very long and sometimes painful journey” of the film and thanked the team and especially the sound designer Vladimir Božic and his father.

EFA President Wim Wenders then came on stage to present the Honorary Award of the EFA President and Board to Sir Michael Caine. To standing ovations, the legendary British actor, visibly touched, said “I never won a European award – except this one.”

The next award, European Animated Feature Film 2015, was presented by actors Grigoriy Dobrygin (Russia) and Jakub Gierszal (Poland) to Tomm Moore for SONG OF THE SEA. The Irish director stated that it was a real honour to be nominated besides SHAUN THE SHEEP and ADAMA and thanked his wife and son.

Actors Sasson Gabay (Israel) and Ulrich Matthes (Germany) then presented EUROPEAN DISCOVERY 2015 – Prix FIPRESCI to Deniz Gamze Ergüven for MUSTANG. The Turkish-French director stressed the importance of the freedom of expression and dedicated the award to the detained journalist Can Dündar and his numerous colleagues who “should exercise their profession freely”.

The honorary award European Achievement in World Cinema was presented by Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård and Austrian director/screenwriter Peter Keglevic to Christoph Waltz who expressed his gratitude and said he was “honoured beyond comprehension”. The Austrian actor said that he had recently been asked how much of his career he thought he owed to luck, the answer to which, he said, was “one hundred percent”.

Next were EFA Chairwoman Agnieszka Holland and EFA President Wim Wenders with a passionate appeal for the values of Europe and the will to defend freedom and democracy. “I made several movies,” Holland said,” about the times when Europe was driven by hate. I don’t want it to return!”
They then presented the previously announced awards for artistic excellence: European Cinematographer 2015 – Prix Carlo di Palma to Martin Gschlacht for GOODNIGHT MOMMY, European Editor 2015 to Jacek Drosio for BODY, European Production Designer 2015 to Sylvie Olivé for THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT and European Costume Designer 2015 to Sarah Blenkinsop for THE LOBSTER, European Composer 2015 to Cat's Eyes for THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY and European Sound Designer 2015 to Miguel Martins & Vasco Pimentel for ARABIAN NIGHTS – VOL. I-III. Pimentel declared his love for the academy stating: “We are more than a family, we are a zoo, a beautiful garden where everyone is trying to grow a living animal, not a perfect machine – a living animal, a deep sea fish or a beautiful bird.”

Host Thomas Hermanns then served some drinks in the audience and talked to actors Numan Acar and Elisa Sednaoui and to entertainer Gayle Tufts. German actor Burghard Klausner sang the chanson “Douce France” by Charles Trenet.

The side wall of the stage then went up to reveal the press centre and Thomas Hermanns went in to meet some of the reporting journalists and photographers.

Finnish actress Laura Birn and her French colleague Reda Kateb next presented European Documentary 2015 to Asif Kapadia for AMY. The director thanked the academy and said he was honoured to even be in the same room with all the others and added about Amy Winehouse: "A lot of her life she had a bit of a hard time from the press, from the people who judged her. Now she's getting a lot of love, unfortunately she's not around to receive it."

Spanish actors Carlos Areces and Javier Cámara came on stage, the former singing, the latter trying to stop him, and announced the winner of the award European Comedy 2015: A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE by a very happy Roy Andersson who declared that finally his film had been understood as a comedy.

Belgian actor Johan Heldenbergh announced the winner of the only award voted for by the public, the People’s Choice Award: MARSHLAND by Alberto Rodriguez. In Berlin to accept the award was the actress Nerea Barros.

A special “welcome to Berlin” clip showed Thomas Hermanns out in the streets of the German capital, on the search for foreigners. After meeting lots of Berliners, a street dancer took him on a musical trip through the city, meeting more and more people with various backgrounds, but all Berliners.

The previously announced European Co-production Award - Prix EURIMAGES was then presented by Spanish director Isabel Coixet to Andrea Occhipinti from Italy.

German actor Daniel Brühl read a text by Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, imprisoned in Russia, and concluded by saying: “Oleg, we will not forget you!”

As a surprise, French director François Ozon appeared to present the EFA Lifetime Achievement Award to Charlotte Rampling: “You are the most important actress of my life!” To standing ovations, the actress said she first wondered about accepting the award but loved getting it from the European Film Academy. She dedicated it to her late fiancée Jean-Noel Tassez.

Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, last year’s winning director, after addressing all of the nominated directors with a personal speech about their work, presented European Director 2015 to Paolo Sorrentino for YOUTH.

The acting awards were announced by actors Jesper Christensen (Denmark) and Carice van Houten (the Netherlands). Both went to honorary award winners, European Actor 2015 to Michael Caine in YOUTH and European Actress 2015 to Charlotte Rampling in 45 YEARS.

British director Stephen Daldry introduced the patrons for the films nominated for European Film 2015: production co-ordinator Jane Ljung for A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE, actors Sigurdur Sigurjónsson for RAMS, Angeliki Papoulia for THE LOBSTER, Burak Yigit for MUSTANG, Robert Seethaler for YOUTH and cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen for VICTORIA. The award went to YOUTH by Paolo Sorrentino who said “this is a small film about the perception of the freedom we have.” He explained that he was very happy about the award “because the most important thing in Europe right now is the perception of the freedom we will have.”