Juliette Binoche to be the new President of European Film Academy

Agnieszka Holland steps down to dedicate time to new films

French actress Juliette Binoche has been unanimously proposed by all members of the European Film Academy Board to succeed Agnieszka Holland as President of the European Film Academy. The new President was chosen after the incumbent President, Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, had decided to step down in 2024. 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.
The in January newly revamped Academy Board has now unequivocally proposed Juliette Binoche as new Academy President to its members. Juliette Binoche, an active member of the European Film Academy for many years, has confirmed she is available to take on this role. Formally this will be as of 1 May 2024, after a majority of the 4,600 members of the European Film Academy have given their vote of approval until the end of April 2024.

Holland, who served as chairwoman of the Board until 2019, took up the role of President in 2021, succeeding German helmer Wim Wenders. She indicated her decision to step down from her role this spring, expressing the wish to fully dedicate her time to making films. In a statement shared with all Academy members in 52 European countries, current chair of the Board Mike Downeyand Academy CEO Matthijs Wouter Knol 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.”
The internationally highly acclaimed Polish director and screenwriter 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), 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 as well as numerous other international awards and nominations. With shooting starting in April, Agnieszka Holland is currently focusing on her Kafka biopic FRANZ, of which Mike Downey is one of the co-producers.
Agnieszka Holland, commenting on her decision and on the Board proposal: “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.”

Juliette Binoche is a Parisian-born actress, artist and dancer who 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 can be currently seen in LA PASSION DE DODIN BOUFFANT / THE TASTE OF THINGS and Apple Limited Series THE NEW LOOK, where she plays Coco Chanel opposite Ben Mendelsohn. Her upcoming projects include THE RETURN opposite Ralph Fiennes and directed by Uberto Pasolini, and QUEEN AT SEA, directed by Lance Hammer.

Binoche also holds the unique distinction of being the only female to win Best Actress honours in all three main European film festivals – the Palme d’Or at Cannes for CERTIFIED COPY (2010), both the Volpi Cup and Pasinetti Award at Venice for TROIS COULEURS: BLEU / THREE COLORS: BLUE (1993), and Berlin’s Silver Bear for THE ENGLISH PATIENT (1996). Binoche first earned recognition in 1985 for playing a modernised, teenaged version of the Virgin Mary in Jean-Luc Godard's controversial JE VOUS SALUE/HAIL MARY. The actress became a bona fide French star the same year with an acclaimed performance in André Téchiné's RENDEZ-VOUS. And though the darling of the 1985 Cannes Film Festival, Binoche gained true international acclaim when she played Tereza in Philip Kaufman's THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in 1988.
Some of her most prominent film roles include CHOCOLAT (earning her second Academy Award® nomination), PARIS, JE T’AIME, WUTHERING HEIGHTS with Ralph Fiennes, DAN IN REAL LIFE with Steve Carell, CHILDREN OF THE CENTURY, Michael Haneke’s CODE INCONNU / CODE UNKNOWN, and her Cesar-nominated role in LA VEUVE DE SAINT-PIERRE / THE WIDOW OF ST. PIERRE. She later starred in starred in COSMOPOLIS (2012) opposite Robert Pattinson and directed by David Cronenberg, and AN OPEN HEART. In 2013, Binoche played Camille Claudel in Bruno Dumont’s CAMILLE CLAUDEL 1915, receiving excellent reviews for her performance. In the following years, Binoche was in the blockbuster GODZILLA which raked in over $500 million worldwide at the box office, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA opposite Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz and THE 33 with Antonio Banderas.
In 2017, she starred opposite Camille Cottin in two projects TELLE MÈRE, TELLE FILLE / BABY BUMP(S) and DIX POUR CENT / CALL MY AGENT!. That same year Juliette returned to the big screen for GHOST IN THE SHELL opposite Scarlett Johansson, and the Claire Denis’ Cannes premiere UN BEAU SOLEIL INTÉRIEUR / LET THE SUNSHINE IN. In the following years, she starred in HIGH LIFE (2018) reuniting with Denis and Pattinson, THE TRUTH (2019), LA BONNE ÉPOUSE / HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE (2020) and OUISTREHAM / BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (2021).
In addition to her film work, Binoche has frequently returned to the theatre, with credits that include the 1988 production of Chekov’s The Seagull, directed by Andrei Konchalovsky at the Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris; Naked at the Almeida Theatre in London; the 2012 modernised version of August Strindberg’s classic play Miss Julie at London’s Barbican; dancer Akram Khan’s 2008 dance-drama piece called in-i at the Royal National Theatre in London; and her Broadway debut in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal opposite Liev Schreiber and John Slattery, for which she earned a 2001 Tony® nomination as Best Actress. In 2015, Binoche travelled throughout Europe and the United States in the title role of Sophokles’s Antigone, directed by Ivo van Hove with a new translation by award-winning poet Anne Carson. The production, which premiered at Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, was a co-production with the Barbican London, in association with the Toneelgroep Amsterdam.

EFA press photo: Agniezska Holland ((c) Jacek Poremba) & Juliette Binoche ((c) Eric Guillemain)