Matthijs Wouter Knol to take over as EFA Director January 2021

Matthijs Wouter Knol to take over as EFA Director January 2021

Picture: Berlinale/Angela Regenbrecht


Matthijs Wouter, who has been director of the European Film Market since 2014, will take over as director of the European Film Academy from January 2021.


Following studies in contemporary history at Leiden University (Netherlands) and at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (Italy), Dutch-born Knol initially worked both as a freelance journalist and in film production, specializing in documentary films. He then worked for the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), was programme manager of Berlinale Talents for six years before taking over as head of the European Film Market. 


He will remain in position at the EFM in Berlinale before joining the EFA team in November 2020. He will take over full duties as EFA Director in January 2021.


Outgoing EFA director Marion Döring has been connected to the European Film Academy since its very launch in 1988, first as PR manager of the European Film Awards, later as project manager for the Academy’s activities and publications and, since 1996, as the Academy’s director. 

She comments: “I’ve known Matthijs and followed his work closely for many years from his time at the Berlinale Talents until his achievements as Director of the European Film Market. His profound professional expertise, his personality and his energy are the ideal combination to lead EFA into a new era. Leaving the Academy in his hands feels like a perfect accomplishment of my work for EFA.”


Adds EFA Chairman Mike Downey: “The arrival of someone of the quality and calibre of Matthijs to lead the Academy on the next phase of its onward  journey makes the departure of Marion Döring just a little easier to bear. Marion is a hard act to follow.  But if anyone is up to the task it is Matthijs, whose vertically and horizontally integrated depth of knowledge of the European film business and European cinema itself, is second to none. Matthijs will make a great leader of the Academy and on behalf of the staff and board of the Academy, I wholeheartedly welcome him into our midst. I look forward to building the organisation further alongside him.”


Matthijs Wouter Knol comments: “In the past 20 years, it has always been a driving force for me to create spaces within the film industry in which people feel comfortable, feel seen, feel represented. Love for European cinema, connecting people to each other, being curious, the wish to speak up when the human right to express oneself in film is being threatened or violated, and having the ambition to give the Academy that next leap into the future is what motivates me. 

“It is my strong feeling that the European Film Academy will increasingly be a vibrant platform and the right place to bring together the best of energy, the best of talent and the best ideas available in Europe — and expand its outreach by doing so. I thank the Board and Marion Döring for their trust in me, as I’ll have large shoes to fill. I’m very much looking forward to joining the European Film Academy and its team in January 2021.”