2020 Welcome Addresses
Photo: Kay Herschelmann

Peter Dinges

President of German Federal Film Board

Everything stays different. This year’s European Film Awards are another event where we won’t be coming together, seeing each other again – let alone embracing one another – or attending a show that would certainly have been as glamorous, entertaining and moving in Reykjavík as last year’s in Berlin. What a pity, I was really looking forward to being there.

However, we will experience an award ceremony, albeit not together, but at least united in spirit. And won’t be doing this all in one go, but more as a kind of European Film Awards mini-series over five consecutive evenings, via live stream, “The EFAs at Eight”.

“Necessity being the mother of invention,” Mike Downey said, and he’s right, of course. Perhaps this year will also be remembered as the one where we were forced to rethink and reconfigurate forms and thus perhaps be better at conveying the content in a way we wouldn’t have thought of without these necessities.

After all, content is what really matters. In the case of the EFAs, this goes far beyond the films themselves. The films are the main thing – that’s for sure – and the goal is to celebrate and acknowledge their achievements. That’s why we come together either physically or virtually. But the films taken together are more than the sum of their parts. They show European cinema in all its diversity. A glance at the list of nominated films is conclusive evidence of this. It’s plain to see here that this diversity is not a cliché – more so for the EFAs than all the other major film awards in this world. And this diversity extends to the reality of the European cinema we want to reflect through the EFAs – and to the reality of a Europe that we want and need.

The European Film Award is also a political prize. However, it does not recognise any preferred political stance, but rather stands for values that are indispensable for us: freedom, tolerance, enlightenment and the willingness to accept the unknown. Those are the values that may not necessarily be propagated in the films, but without which the European cinema we love would not exist. We want to preserve and continue developing it – and these days celebrate it, albeit in a different way.