Beki Probst, who has led the event since 1988 and established it as one of the top three movie markets in the world, segues to become EFM president.
Knol replaces Beki Probst, who becomes EFM president. Probst has been head of the market since 1988. In her new role, she will draw on her extensive experience and international network to establish Knol as new EFM head, and provide him with support and advice, the festival said in a statement.
Knol, who has been the program manager of Berlinale Talents (formerly known as the Berlinale Talent Campus) since 2008, will take his new post on June 1.
Knol, who was born in the Netherlands, worked as a freelance journalist until 2001, before joining Pieter van Huystee Film, a production company in Amsterdam. After becoming head of development in 2004, he focused on developing, financing and co-producing documentary film projects.
In 2007, he started working for the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), working on the co-production and sales markets, and the IDFAcademy training program. As head of the latter, he initiated the IDFAcademy Summer School. In 2008, he became head of Berlinale Talents, known at that time as the Talents Campus.
“Matthijs Wouter Knol will inspire new areas of business and the development of the European Film Market. With Knol, a professional is joining us who knows the festival well. He will strategically strengthen the synergies that have developed between the festival and the EFM,” Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick said.
Probst, who was born in Istanbul, studied law and journalism before joining the daily newspaper Tercuman and the weekly newspaper Hayat. In 1960, she moved to Switzerland where she organized several cultural projects, and became manager of the exhibition group Probst-Kinobetriebe.
From 1981 to 1988, Probst was the Berlinale’s delegate for Turkey and Greece. In 1985, she organized a tradeshow for the Locarno Film Festival, and also served on Locarno’s selection board until 1995.
Under her leadership, the EFM — which runs alongside the festival — has established itself as one of the world’s biggest film markets. The most recent edition, which ran Feb. 6-14, had its strongest year to date. It attracted 8,396 participants from 107 countries, and was attended by 487 companies, representing 784 films. There were 1,109 market screenings, of which 574 were market premieres. The event was attended by 1,499 buyers.