„Dobry wieczór” said French actress Sophie Marceau and surprised many by continuing her welcome to the 19th European Film Awards in Warsaw – in Polish. Joining her on stage as co-host was Polish actor Maciej Stuhr.
A visual “tour d’Europe” again introduced the nominated films in a geographical tour of the continent before Spanish shooting star Enrique Alcides and French actress Amira Casar presented the evening’s first award. The People’s Choice Award, voted for by film fans across Europe, went to VOLVER by Pedro Almodóvar who thanked the audience, saying, “without the audience we are nothing!”
Reading out an e-mail from 15-year-old Rafal, Maciej Stuhr then got Penelope Cruz and Roman Polanski to sign their autographs for the boy.
Presenting the first honorary award were EFA President Wim Wenders who read out a text message from Bernardo Bertolucci (“I want to go on shooting with him forever!”) and French actress Julie Delpy. The award for European Achievement in World Cinema – Prix Screen International went to British producer Jeremy Thomas who said: “There’s nothing better than cinema – I am very moved!”
The host’s father, actor Jerzy Stuhr, presented the short film award - Prix UIP to BEFORE DAWN by Bálint Kenyeres from Hungary and Italian filmmaker Sergio Castellito revealed the European Director of the Year. The award went Pedro Almodóvar again who thanked the members of the academy and shared his award with the other nominees.
Polish composer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek presents European Composer to a very happy Alberto Iglesias for VOLVER and Nino Kirtadze (who won last year’s documentary award) and ARTE programme director Christoph Hauser announced this year’s documentary award - Prix Arte for INTO GREAT SILENCE by Philip Gröning. The director thanked, above all, the monks who allowed him to live with them during the shoot.
Another emotional highlight came up when Maciej Stuhr presented the actress award to Penélope Cruz for VOLVER: The actress arrived on stage exclaiming: “Oh my God – I don’t want to cry but it’s really difficult!” and ended by saying: “our industry in Europe has the great combination of talent and freedom!”
French actress Irène Jacob was looking forward to kiss the best actor and consequently announced the nominations for her kiss. The actor award then went to Ulrich Mühe in THE LIVES OF OTHERS.
Roman Polanski received the EFA Lifetime Achievement Award and on stage to congratulate him were actors Thomas Kretschmann (THE PIANIST) and Barney Clark (OLIVER TWIST). Visibly touched, the director admitted: “Every time I come to this city I feel somehow elated.”
Presented by Polish filmmaker Andrzej