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INSTITUTIONS / LEGISLATION Europe

Matthijs Wouter Knol appointed new EFA director

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- The current director of Berlin's European Film Market will head the European Film Academy starting in January 2021

Matthijs Wouter Knol appointed new EFA director
(© Angela Regenbrecht/Berlinale)

The European Film Academy has announced that Matthijs Wouter Knol will be the new EFA Director starting in January 2021.

Dutch-born Matthijs Wouter Knol worked as a freelance journalist and in film production, specializing in documentary films. He then worked for the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), was programme manager of Berlinale Talents for six years and, since 2014, has been Director of the European Film Market. He will remain in this position at the Berlinale with all responsibilities until he will join the EFA team in November 2020 to prepare his taking on full responsibility as EFA Director from Marion Döring in January 2021.

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Marion Döring, who will retire from her current position as EFA Director, has been connected to the history of the European Film Academy since its very beginnings in 1988: first as PR manager of the European Film Awards, later as project manager for the Academy’s activities and publications, and since 1996 as the Academy’s director. She says: “I’ve known Matthijs and followed his work closely for many years from his time at the Berlinale Talents until his achievements as Director of the European Film Market. His profound professional expertise, his personality and his energy are the ideal combination to lead EFA into a new era. Leaving the Academy in his hands feels like a perfect accomplishment of my work for EFA.”

“The arrival of someone of the quality and calibre of Matthijs to lead the Academy on the next phase of its onward  journey,” says EFA Chairman Mike Downey, “makes the departure of Marion Döring just a little easier to bear.  Marion is a hard act to follow. But if anyone is up to the task it is Matthijs, whose vertically and horizontally integrated depth of knowledge of the European film business and European cinema itself, is second to none.  Matthijs will make a great leader of the Academy and on behalf of the staff and board of the Academy, I wholeheartedly welcome him into our midst. I look forward to building the organisation further alongside him.”

Matthijs Wouter Knol says, "In the past 20 years, it has always been a driving force for me to create spaces within the film industry in which people feel comfortable, feel seen, feel represented. Love for European cinema, connecting people to each other, being curious, the wish to speak up when the human right to express oneself in film is being threatened or violated, and having the ambition to give the Academy that next leap into the future is what motivates me. It is my strong feeling that the European Film Academy will increasingly be a vibrant platform and the right place to bring together the best of energy, the best of talent and the best ideas available in Europe — and expand its outreach by doing so. I thank the Board and Marion Döring for their trust in me, as I’ll have large shoes to fill. I’m very much looking forward to joining the European Film Academy and its team in January 2021."

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