We bring you all the winners from the European Film Awards in Riga, Latvia.

The 27th European Film Awards, which celebrate achievements in European cinema, were handed out tonight in a glittering ceremony at the Latvian National Opera in the beautiful art nouveau city of Riga. Speaking at a press conference on Friday, director of the European Film Academy, Marion Doring, stressed the celebratory nature of the European Film Awards, saying; ‘It’s not about competition; it’s really about being together, about celebrating each other, about enjoying that we are all part of a European film family.’

European Film Academy Chair Woman, film and TV director Agnieszka Holland – who, it was just announced, will direct episodes of Netflix’s HOUSE OF CARDS – reminded audiences that ‘Even in the worst moments, European Film can rise from the ashes’.

The ceremony, which took place in Riga – the self-proclaimed Capital of Christmas trees – was presented by German comedian Thomas Herrmanns, who took over from long time host Anke Engelke.

Polish film IDA – which won Best Director at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival earlier this year – was the big winner in Riga, taking home five awards, including the award for Cinematography, which celebrated the beautiful and deliberately off-kilter look and feel of Pawel Pawlikowski’s mesmerising film.

Irish film was represented in Riga by Element Pictures’ co-founder Ed Guiney. Guiney is also well known as a film producer, with beloved Irish titles such as THE GUARD and THIS MUST BE THE PLACE to his name. When accepting the award for European Co-Production, Guiney said ‘Thank you to all of the filmmakers, producers and financiers I have worked with over the years. Thank you also to the staff at Element Pictures in Dublin, my wife and my son Senen, who I hope are watching at home’.

12 YEARS A SLAVE director Steve McQueen was honoured with the award for European Achievement in World Cinema. European Film Academy President Wim Wenders presented McQueen with his award, saying ‘With only three feature films, he has already become legendary’. When accepting his award, McQueen said ‘Cinema is a powerful tool, cinema can change lives, it certainly changed mine. I believe that artists have a responsibility, not just to entertain – which is what we do – but to push the idea of humanity forward’. Steve McQueen dedicated his award to French director Jean Vigo, whose work is admired for its poetic realism, and who McQueen described as a ‘lover of life’.

French director and filmmaker Agnès Varda was also honoured with an award; Lifetime Achievement, which celebrates her outstanding body of work, including THE GLEANERS & I, THE BEACHES OF AGNES and ONE SINGS, THE OTHER DOESN’T. 

European Film
In a year of tough competition, IDA swept the board in Riga, and won the coveted award for European Film. Director Pawel Pawlkiowska, before telling the audience assembled at the Latvian National Opera that they had surely heard enough from him, said ‘Fantastic night for us, but a great year for Poland, we won at volleyball, we beat Germany at football. What a year!’

European Comedy
Pierfrancesco Diliberto, director of THE MAFIA ONLY KILLS IN SUMMER, accepted the award for European Comedy, saying ‘I was so sure to lose, I bet money on the Spanish movie. I would like to dedicate this to the victims of the Mafia, it’s thanks to them – if I can say that I am proud to be Sicilian, I am proud to be Italian and I am proud to be from Palermo – I will never forget them’.

European Director
Legendary Norwegian actress and director, Liv Ullmann presented the European Director Award to Pawel Pawlikowski for his work on IDA, who said ‘to receive it from you, Liv Ullmann, is an incredible honour’. Pawlikowski thanked his fellow nominees – Nuri Beyge Ceylan, Steven Knight, Paolo Virzi, Andrey Zvyagintsev and Ruben Östlund – for being losers, ‘this time’. Pawlikowski went on to say ‘Direction, who knows what it is; it involves everything and nothing, sometimes you think a director is just someone who hires talented people and lets them get on with it. I especially dedicate this to my children, who lost their father for a year. I love you, and I am sorry I am such an absent father’.

European Actress
Marion Cotillard was not present in Riga to accept her award for TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT, but sent her regards, via text message, through the executive producer of the Dardenne Brothers’ latest film, saying; ‘Thank you very much for such an honour, I wish I had been with you tonight to celebrate European Cinema. I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to discover, through my characters, different cultures. It was always my dream to explore the human being, and today I feel richer. I understand more today, who we are, that’s how my heart opens more and more.’

European Actor
Timothy Spall won the European Actor award for his show stopping performance in MR. TURNER, beating our own Brendan Gleeson, who was nominated for his role in John Michael McDonagh’s CALVARY. On accepting the award, Spall said ‘It’s a real surprise. It’s such a surprise that I wore my silly shoes, ‘cos I wanted to cheer myself up. This belongs, very much not to me alone, but to Mike Leigh and to the brilliant actors and people that he brings with him. That is for all of them as well. It’s also an award I’d like to share with my wife, ‘cos during the process of this, metaphorically speaking, entrails were spilled from my insides and she had to pick ‘em up, stick ‘em back in and get me back to work. I thank her, I love her very much; she is my Rock of Gibraltar’.

European Screenwriter
Pawel Pawlikwski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz won for IDA. Pawlikowski said; ‘Thank you to the producers for letting us keep changing the script as we went along; thank you for baring with the chaos’.

European Discovery
THE TRIBE director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy beat Yann Demange’s ’71 to win the coveted prize, which Steve McQueen won for HUNGER in 2008. Slaboshpytskiy thanked his lead actor, who is deaf, and dedicated his award to the deaf community.

European Animated Feature Film
Italian film THE ART OF HAPPINESS won European Animated Feature Film, director Alessandro Rak dedicated the award to his town and country, as well as his young nephews.

European Short Film
THE CHICKEN, directed by Una Gunjak, beat Irish nominee Eoin Duffy’s THE MISSING SCARF to win European Short Film. Gunjak was obviously shaken and surprised to win the award, saying; ‘I have to thank the wonderful cast and crew of this film, which took so long to make; only they know how much heart and soul went into this… I apologise for being slightly self-indulgent; I need to dedicate this to my mother’

European Documentary
Marc Bauder’s film MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE won European Documentary. The film is an exploration of a former German banker’s memories of his time in some of the world’s leading corporations. Bauder thanked his protagonist and subject for trusting him to make a film on a potentially sensitive subject.
Bauder and his brother Christoph were also the brains behind the balloon installation along the path of the former Berlin Wall, which marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall, in November this year.

Elsewhere, awards announced prior to the ceremony went to the following;
European Composer – Mica Levi for UNDER THE SKIN
European Sound Design – Joakim Sundström for STARRED UP
European Costume Designer – Natascha Curtius-Noss for THE DARK VALLEY
European Production Designer – Claus-Rudolf Amler for THE DARK VALLEY
European Editor – Justine Wright for LOCKE
European Cinematographer – Łukasz Żal & Ryszard Lenczewski for IDA
People’s Choice Award – IDA

The European Film Awards took place at the Latvian National Opera in Riga, on Saturday December 13th 2014.

Words: Brogen Hayes