Beki Probst, Founder & President European Film Market
Lifetime Achievement Award – WIFTS Foundation
To receive a lifetime achievement award is a huge honour, for myself and for the Europan Film Market - as the two of us are tightly knit together.
My own journey with the EFM started in the year 1988. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the year before the Berlin wall came down. As the town was still divided, the Festival and the Market took place in West Berlin opposite the "Gedächtniskirche" in the famous movie theater Zoo Palast. Following the formerly called "Filmmesse", it was the first year the Market operated under the name European Film Market and it was also my first year as director of the EFM. So, the Market and I, we literally started our journey together.
The Market then, was very different from what it is today. We weren't in such a beautiful building, we weren't that big, we weren't a granted event within the Festival, but already then, we had great content! Gorbatschow's Glasnost politic was already perceptible – at the 1988 Festival and therefore at the 1988 Market as well. Among many Eastern European films Aleksandr Askoldow's Komissar, who won the Jury's Prize, was exemplary. After a 20 year ban the film was shown to an international audience in Berlin and sold to international markets at the EFM. Askoldow said the Berlinale in 1988 was one of the most important dates of his life. For me that's also true. Of course, less dramatically but joining the EFM in 1988 changed my life.
With the island-situation of West Berlin the atmosphere of the Festival was international but still a bit more familiar and intimate than nowadays. We had 50 exhibitors at the Market and screened some 300 films, almost unbelievable if you look at the number of participants and screenings nowadays.
The journey and development of the European Film Market in the last 27 years from moving to Potsdamer Platz in 2001 and to the Martin-Gropius-Bau in 2006, constantly changing, growing and developing new ideas and initiatives, is part of my life – an extremely important part of my life actually. The EFM shaped me as a person.
The European Film Market feels like family to me. Through the years I met so many wonderful, inspiring and incredible people – producers, distributors, creatives, directors, actors, investors from every possible country of the world. The inspiration, ideas and input I got from all of them is actually the real reason why the European Film Market became what it is today. Only through them and through the many encounters, new horizons opened up giving me a completely different and broader vision of life. The European Film Market was and still is like a school of life – a matriculation examination so to speak.
Today, I feel very privileged and grateful to everyone who was part of this long journey – everyone at the Berlinale, my wonderful team and especially the two Berlinale directors Moritz De Hadeln and Dieter Kosslick without whose support this life experience would not have been possible. And of course, a big thank you to the WIFTS Foundation – the Women in Film and Television Showcase Foundation who chose to honour me with such a prestigious award.
THE WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL FILM & TELEVISION SHOWCASE
DEC 5th 2015 WEST HOLLYWOOD
Passion & Integrity Commerce & Creativity Equality Not Hierarchy
Beki Probst -
The Lifetime Achievement Award
Beki Probst Founder – President, The European Film Market (EFM)
For her passion and resolve in championing independent European films and founding the European Film Market (EFM), now the first major event of the film calendar year, Beki Probst, Founder and President of the EFM, is the recipient of TheWIFTS Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.
Images of the European Film Market (EFM)
Beki Probst was born and grew up in Istanbul where she studied law and journalism before joining the daily newspaper Tercuman and the weekly newspaper Hayat.
In 1960, Beki Probst moved to Switzerland where she organized several cultural projects. She then became manager of the Probst-Kinobetriebe, with which she is still involved today. Her commitment to film and cinema soon led her to extend her activities to Europe and beyond.
From 1981 to 1988, she was the Berlin International Film Festival's delegate for Turkey and Greece, where she sourced independent European films to attend and be showcased at the Berlinale. In 1985, she organized the first tradeshow for the Locarno International Film Festival. She also served on Locarno's Selection Board until 1995. In addition she was artistic director of the Geneva Festival Stars de Demain in its remit to showcase Swiss talent.
Beki Probst, President of The European Film Market (EFM) together with Matthijs Wouter Knol, EFM's Director
From 1988 to 2014, she was director of the Film Fair of the Berlin International Film Festival. Probst initiated growth, and executed expansion into its present home the Martin- Gropius Bau, and renamed the Film Fair - the European Film Market.
Harnessing the energy of Berlin and the passion for film, the European Film Market is the business epicentre of one of the most important international film festivals in the world, the Berlinale (The Berlin International Film Festival).
Every February the EFM opens the grand doors to the Martin-Gropius-Bau and welcomes over 8,400 producers, buyers, sales agents, distributors, exhibitors and financiers to the first major film market of the year.
The EFM is the first date in the industry's calendar and is regarded as an early indicator for the new film year. With a keen eye to detail the EFM's organization and commitment to quality content from around the world brings together the right people at the right place and time, inspiring the conversations and connections that are the cornerstone of the business. The meetings, the handshake, and the new film year… all starts in Berlin.
Beki Probst has served on the juries of several international film festivals, among them Toronto, Jerusalem and San Sebastián.
In 1992, Beki Probst was decorated as Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Cultural Minister.
With an astute and stellar record of guiding the European Film Market, Beki Probst became its president in 2014.