French actress Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient”) will be the next president of the European Film Academy Board, succeeding Polish director Agnieszka Holland (“Europa”) in the honorary role. Holland was the first female president of the board.

Binoche was unanimously proposed by the board members after Holland decided to step down. Following a formal approval process, which historically has been a mere formality, Binoche’s appointment will officially begin on May 1, 2024. The presidential role is primarily symbolic.

Holland, who served as chairwoman of the board until 2019, became president in 2021, succeeding German director Wim Wenders. (Wenders was the second-ever president, succeeding Ingmar Bergman in 1996.) Holland plans to fully dedicate her time to making films.

Holland’s “Europa” won the Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Her 2023 film “Green Border” won the Special Jury Prize at Venice International Film Festival.

Mike Downey, the current chair of the board, and Academy CEO Matthijs Wouter Knol said the following on Holland: “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.”

Downey is a co-producer on Holland’s Kafka biopic “Franz,” which will begin shooting in April.

Holland added: “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.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 04: Agnieszka Holland speaks during the 61st New York Film Festival "Green Border" at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on October 04, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for FLC)
Agnieszka Holland speaks during the 61st New York Film FestivalGetty Images for FLC

“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,” Holland continued. “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.”

Binoche (“Chocolat”), from Paris, won an Oscar (and a ton of other awards) for “The English Patient.” She is the only female to win Best Actress 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 Coulers: Bleu/Three Colors: Blue” (1993), and Berlin’s Silver Bear for “The English Patient” (1996).

Binoche can currently be seen in “La Passion de Dodin Bouffant/The Taste of Things” and Apple TV+ limited series “The New Look,” on which she plays Coco Chanel opposite Ben Mendelsohn.

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