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The FERA Creative Council comprises some of Europe’s most celebrated and respected directors. Together with our distinguished FERA President István Szabó we believe they will make important contributions to the debates that are now taking place and welcome their support for the work FERA does on behalf of all European film directors. The films made by our Creative Council members represent a tradition of excellence and innovation in European cinema, and their achievement has earned them great acclaim and admiration throughout the world.
Marco Bellochio began studying philosophy in Milan but then decided to enter film school. His first film Fists in the Pocket (1965) was funded by family members and shot on family property. He made a big impact on radical Italian cinema in the mid-sixties. In 1968 he joined the Communist Union, and began to make politically militant cinema such as China is Near (1967). In 1991 he won the Silver Bear at the Berlinale for his film The Conviction. The Wedding Director (2006) and Vincere (2009) were both screened at the Cannes Film Festival, the latter in the main competition. Bellochio was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2011 Venice Film Festival.
Claire Denis graduated in 1972 from the Institut des hautes études cinémato-graphiques (IDHEC) in Paris. She then went on to work as an assistant with Jacques Rivette, Costa-Gavras, Jim Jarmusch and Wim Wenders. Since her 1988 debut Chocolat, a semi-autobiographical meditation on African colonialism, Claire Denis has established herself as one of France’s most respected film directors, and a leading chronicler of 21st-century France in all its postcolonial complexity. She does not shy away from difficult subjects including sex, cannibalism, incest, politics, murder, race, sometimes all at the same time. A large number of Denis’ films portray the everyday lives of immigrants and French people of African origin. Among her critically acclaimed films are: S’en fout la mort (No Fear, No Die, 1990), J’ai pas sommeil (I Can’t Sleep, 1994), Nénette et Boni (1996), Beau Travail (Good Work, 1999, Trouble Every Day (2001), Vendredi soir (2002), and 35 Rhums (2008).
Agnieszka Holland studied film directing at FAMU in Prague, (then) Czechoslovakia. She began her film career in her native Poland working with Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda. Her first major film Provincial Actors won the International Critics Prize at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. Holland is a two-time Oscar nominee: Best Foreign Language Film in 1986 for Angry Harvest, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Europa, Europa in 1992. Holland has recently directed high-end television series in the US, including episodes of The Wire, Cold Case, Treme and The Killing. Her latest feature film In Darkness is Poland’s 2012 Oscar Candidate.
Neil Jordan studied Irish history and English literature University College Dublin. He wrote and directed his first feature film Angel in 1982. In 1992 Jordan wrote and directed The Crying Game which was nominated for six Academy Awards, and won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Michael Collins (1996), won a Golden Lion for best film at the Venice Film Festival. The Butcher Boy (1997) won Jordan a Silver Bear award for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival. Jordan has written 6 novels. Jordan is also the creator of the recent TV series success The Borgias.
István Szabó was the President of FERA from 2008 to 2012.
István Szabó was born in Budapest, in 1938. He was an assistant film director and later a film director of MAFILM Hungarian Film Studios until the winding-up of the company. His films have won several international film awards such as the nominations of the American Film Academy for four times for the films : ‘Confidence’, ‘Mephisto’, ‘Colonel Redl’, and ‘Hanussen’, and the Academy has nominated his film ‘Being Julia’ for best female artist. His films have been nominated twice for the Golden Globe award (Colonel Redl, Sunshine). ‘Mephisto’ has won the Academy award and ‘Colonel Redl’ has won the British Academy Award. ‘Mephisto’ has won the David di Donatello Award as well; ‘Sunshine’ has won the Canadian Grand Prize. The scripts of ‘Sweet Emma’, ‘Dear Böbe’ and ‘Sunshine’ won the prizes of European Film Academy for best screenplay. ‘The Day of Daydreaming’ and ’25 Fireman’s Street’ have won the prizes of Locarno Film Festival; ‘Father’ has won the Grand Prix of Moscow Film Festival; ‘Confidence’ and ‘Sweet Emma’, ‘Dear Böbe’ have won the prizes of Berlin Film Festival for best director; ‘Mephisto’ and ‘Colonel Redl’ have won the prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. From the enlisted films above many of them have won the prizes of Hungarian Film Critics and the prizes of Hungarian Film Week.