Legendary director Costa- Gavras was presented with an Honorary Award at the 31st European Film Awards at Seville’s  Teatro de la Maestranza on Saturday, in recognition of his contribution to cinema.

Notably, world-renowned director Wim Wenders handed the award to Costa Gavras who thanked the EFA for the great honour and said it “was an example of how Europe should be,” with people from different countries, different cultures, and different films “accepting one another”.

Europe was currently in a bad state “but here, tonight, we can see that we can all be together…and this is how we must continue,” he said, to a standing ovation from below.

The EFA Eurimages Co-Production Award for producers promoting joint productions in Europe was also presented to Greek producers Konstantinos Kontovrakis and Giorgos Karnavas from Heretic, presented by the lead actress in the film “Sumendia” – a Heretic joint production that was shot on the Greek island of Nisyros.

Costa-Gavras is the fifth filmmaker to receive this recognition, earlier recipients were Manoel de Oliveira, Michel Piccoli, Sir Michael Caine, and Andrzej Wajda.

 About Costa – Gavras

Born in Greece, Costa-Gavras emigrated in 1955 to France at the age of 22 and made his first film in 1965: THE SLEEPING CAR MURDERS, made possible with the support of Yves Montand and Simone Signoret, both of whom also starred in this adaptation of Sébastien Japrisot’s novel. He continued with Z (1969) which he also co-wrote with Jorge Semprún, adapted from Vassilis Vassilikos’ book. The film received two awards at the Cannes Film Festival as well as two Oscars. Another collaboration with co-screenwriter Semprún followed with THE CONFESSION (1971), an adaptation from Arthur and Lise London’s book.

Among his various other award-winning films are STATE OF SIEGE (1973), MISSING (1981) which received the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Screenplay, HANNA K. (1983) about an Israeli lawyer defending a Palestinian in the occupied territories, and BETRAYED (1988), starring Debra Winger and Tom Berenger.

Costa-Gavras also directed MUSIC BOX (1989) which won the Golden Bear at the 1990 Berlin Film Festival, MAD CITY (1997) with John Travolta and Dustin Hoffman, AMEN (2002) which was awarded Best Screenplay at the Césars, THE AXE (2004), EDEN IS WEST (2009) and, most recently, CAPITAL, starring Gad Elmaleh and Gabriel Byrne, which premiered in San Sebastian in 2012. Costa-Gavras also directs opera and musical shows and he was President of the Société des réalisateurs de films (Film directors’ Society, 1971-1973). He is President of La Cinémathèque Française.

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