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Bringing the European Film Academy’s board together in Riga

The European Film Academy is the major European film organisation bringing together leading filmmakers, producers, distributors and other film industry professionals. This year RIGA IFF has the honour of hosting the EFA Board’s annual autumn meeting in Riga. This will also be the Board’s last meeting before the European Film Awards ceremony.

The EFA was founded in 1989 on the initiative of its first president, Ingmar Bergman. The Academy’s long-term aim is to promote European film culture as well as protect and advance the interests of the European film industry. Throughout the year, the EFA initiates and participates in a series of activities dealing with film politics as well as economic, artistic, and training aspects; the most significant EFA event, however, is the annual presentation of the European Film Awards, which this year will take place in Berlin.

During the Board’s visit from October 18 to 20, in addition to the Board meeting there will also be a networking event for EFA Board members, RIGA IFF FORUM guests, and Latvian film industry professionals.


Agnieszka Holland

Chairwoman of the EFA Board. Film director. Her first feature film Provincial Actors won the International Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. She has also received various U.S. Academy Award nominations for best screenplay or foreign-language film.

Mike Downey

EFA Deputy chairman. CEO of Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME), has launched his independent production company on the Frankfurt DAX. Since then he has produced more than 80 European feature films with names like Greenaway, Pawlikowski, Daldry, Fridriksson, Schloendorff and Holland.

Antonio Saura

EFA Deputy chairman. As producer, with his company Zebra, credits include more than 20 award winning films. Antonio has produced documentaries, TV fiction etc. He is the Director General of Latido Films – an international film sales company and also a panelist and teacher.

Graziella Bildesheim

Founder and director of Maia Workshops, the prominent European training programme for emerging international producers. Graziella also sits on Evaluation Committees at Regional and National level, consults on project development and co-productions, and lectures at the Italian National Film School.

Valérie Delpierre

Feature and documentary film producer, Valérie is known for her work on Summer 1993, which was awarded with the best first feature prize and Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus at the Berlinale. She is also the producer of The Disinherited (2017) and B (2015).

Ira Von Gienanth

Film Distribution is the intermediary between director and producer and the public. Curating a lineup is challenging, but satisfying coming from the riches our different film cultures offers every year. Her selection is auteur driven, giving audiences the possibility to explore and discover.

Mike Goodridge

He is currently an independent producer and artistic director of the International Film Festival & Awards Macao. Mike was CEO of Protagonist Pictures where he worked in sales, finance and production across 80 films. He is also a member of BAFTA and formerly programmer at Sarajevo Film Festival.

Vanessa Henneman

Founded Henneman Agency, which is now one of the leading talent agencies in the Benelux, representing actors, writers, directors and other extraordinary talent. Henneman Agency also represents media book rights and initiates various TV, film and theatre projects.

Baltasar Kormákur

One of the most prolific Nordic filmmakers, Baltasar Kormákur has been able to divide his time between filmmaking in his native Iceland (Jar City, Trapped, the TV Series) and the US, where he has directed numerous successful films (Everest,

Angela Bosch Rius

Works for the Spanish audiovisual industry in different positions in the private and public sector, focused on the international area on promotion, distribution and co-production. Currently assesses and coaches young producers on financing, coproduction and distribution privately.

Katriel Schory

Studied at NYU Film School. With his production company Belfilms he produced more than 150 films, including features, docs and TV dramas. Katriel also was Executive Director of the Israel Film Fund. He authorised the production of 300 films, many won prestigious awards, including Oscar nominations, Gold and Silver Lions and Bears and Golden Globe.

Jim Sheridan

Jim is a playwright, screenwriter, film director, and film producer. He has directed two critically acclaimed films (My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father) that between them received 13 Academy Award nominations. Sheridan has personally received six Academy Award nominations. He is also known for the films The Boxer and In America.

Ada Solomon

Ada has been involved in the production of over 60 award winning co-production features, documentaries & short films. She is also Executive President of EWA Network, board member of ACE & National Coordinator of EAVE.

Joanna Szymánska

Gained her professional experience being involved in the development and production of numerous award-winning fiction and documentary projects. For three years Joanna worked as Head of Production at Wajda Studio. She represents company Shipsboy internationally and manages the co-productions. Joanna is the Head of Industry at Off Camera Film Festival and works closely with HBO Europe.

Béatrice Thiriet

She began to establish herself as a successful film music composer in the 1990s, most notably for her work on the award-winning film L'Âge des Possibles (1995). She has composed music for numerous films directed by Marc Esposito. Other notable scores of hers include the award-winning film Lady Chatterley (2006) and the award-nominated Ceux Qui Restent (2007).


Marion Döring
EFA Director

A former journalist, she has been connected with the European Film Academy since it started. In 1996, Marion became the Academy's director. She also acts as producer for the European Film Awards and as one of the two managing directors of EFA Productions GmbH, the company producing the Awards together with the European Film Academy.

Jürgen Biesinger
EFA Producer

Jürgen was working at the Berlin based film production company Egoli Tossell Film. He is the executive producer of the European Film Awards and also one of the two managing directors of EFA Productions GmbH. He is also the executive producer of the EFA Young Audience Award since its launch.

Rainer Pyls
EFA Finances & Administration

Working with the European Film Academy, Head of Finances of the European Film Academy. He has worked as Accountant Manager for the productions companies Road Movies Filmproduktion and Reverse Angle Pictures.

Bettina Schwarz
Coordination EFA Awarding Procedures

After studying Film and Media Studies and Aesthetics, she worked for several festivals and production companies. She joined the European Film Academy as coordinator of EFAs’ short film category and training projects. She also coordinates the EFA Awarding Procedures.