The international film festival circuit will not be the same following the sad news that the veteran film historian, critic and filmmaker Ron Holloway died in Berlin on Wednesday morning at the age of 76.
Hailing from Peoria, IIlinois, Holloway had come to Paris at the end of the 1960s as a Rockefeller Fellow on a two-year grant and completed a doctoral thesis on “The Religious Dimension in the Cinema, with particular reference to the films of Carl Theodor Dreyer, Ingmar Bergman and Robert Bresson” at the University of Hamburg.
He had just completed his dissertation when an offer came from Variety to serve as the US trade paper’s correspondent for Germany and Eastern Europe. He and his wife Dorothea Moritz moved to Berlin in 1976 after Ron was invited by the newly appointed Berlinale festival director Wolf Donner to become a member of the Berlinale selection committee with responsibility for Russia. In addition, he played an instrumental role in the setting up of the German Films sidebar which Donner launched in 1977 to spotlight certain types of cnema which had been neglected beforehand.
In 2007, Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick recognised the Holloways’ special contribution to the festival over 30 years by presenting them with the Berlinale Camera Award.
Apart from his writings for publications as diverse as The Hollywood Reporter, Moving Pictures, Financial Times, Herald Tribune and many academic journals in Europe and the US, Ron had been known at festivals around the globe for the journal KINO - German Film & International Reports which he published from Berlin with his wife Dorothea.
Launched in 1979 to coincide with a German Film Tour in the US, the film magazine celebrated its 30th anniversary this autumn with a jubilee edition including tributes from Dieter Kosslick, Wim Wenders, Volker Schlöndorff, Andreas Dresen, and Regina Ziegler among many friends and colleagues from around the globe.
Ron Holloway directed two documentaries on the filmmakers Elem Klimov and Sergei Paradjanov as well as two TV features about film - Made in Germany and Sundance for public broadcaster ZDF. He was also a co-founder of the Chicago Center for Film Study and the Cleveland Cinematheque.
His awards included the German Cross of Merit (the equivalent of the UK’s OBE), Polish Rings, the Gold Medaille Cannes, the American Cinema Foundation Award, and the Diploma for Support of Russian Cinema.
Just a week before his death, Ron had been presented with the German Film Critics’ Association (VDFK) Honorary Award in recognition of “his tireless commitment for the international circulation of German and East European cinema.”
“The New German Cinema of the 70s owes its worldwide success in large part to the journalistic support from Ron Holloway,” the critics’ body had said.
Film festivals like the Berlinale and Cannes will not now be the same without the familar figure of Ron Holloway reaching into his shoulder bag to produce the latest issue of KINO - German Film hot of the presses to slip into a colleague’s pocket.