On the occasion of the 31st European Film Awards on 15 December, the legendary director Costa-Gavras will be presented with the Honorary Award of the EFA President and Board. With this award the European Film Academy wishes to pay special tribute an outstanding director and a personality with a strong political voice who is not only deeply respected by his colleagues but also celebrated by audiences worldwide. Costa-Gavras is the fifth filmmaker to receive this recognition, earlier recipients were Manoel de Oliveira, Michel Piccoli, Sir Michael Caine, and Andrzej Wajda.
Born in Greece, Costa-Gavras emigrated in 1955 to France at the age of 22 and made his first film in 1965: THE SLEEPING CAR MURDERS, made possible with the support of Yves Montand and Simone Signoret, both of whom also starred in this adaptation of Sébastien Japrisot’s novel. He continued with Z (1969) which he also co-wrote with Jorge Semprún, adapted from Vassilis Vassilikos’ book. The film received two awards at the Cannes Film Festival as well as two Oscars. Another collaboration with co-screenwriter Semprún followed with THE CONFESSION (1971), an adaptation from Arthur and Lise London’s book.
Among his various other award-winning films are STATE OF SIEGE (1973), MISSING (1981) which received the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Screenplay, HANNA K. (1983) about an Israeli lawyer defending a Palestinian in the occupied territories, and BETRAYED (1988), starring Debra Winger and Tom Berenger.
Costa-Gavras also directed MUSIC BOX (1989) which won the Golden Bear at the 1990 Berlin Film Festival, MAD CITY (1997) with John Travolta and Dustin Hoffman, AMEN (2002) which was awarded Best Screenplay at the Césars, THE AXE (2004), EDEN IS WEST (2009) and, most recently, CAPITAL, starring Gad Elmaleh and Gabriel Byrne, which premiered in San Sebastian in 2012. Costa-Gavras also directs opera and musical shows and he was President of the Société des réalisateurs de films (Film directors’ Society, 1971-1973). He is President of La Cinémathèque Française.
Costa-Gavras will be a guest of honour at the awards ceremony on 15 December in Seville to accept his award.
Berlin, 27 November 2018