NewsCultureMeet the Ecumenical Jury for the 74th Berlinale

Meet the Ecumenical Jury for the 74th Berlinale

The 74th Berlin International Film Festival will take place from the 15th to the 25th of February. Renowned as one of the most prestigious film festivals globally, the Berlinale stands as a vibrant celebration of the art of storytelling, bringing together filmmakers, industry professionals, and cinephiles from around the globe. 

From its illustrious beginnings to its current status as a trendsetting event in the film calendar, this festival continues to captivate audiences with its eclectic selection of films, groundbreaking discoveries, and the unique ambiance of the German capital. 

The festival features a wide array of awards and juries that recognize the best of cinema and production. A particular long-standing jury at the Berlinale is the Ecumenical Jury. Since 1992, the Ecumenical Jury has served as the representative body for INTERFILM and SIGNIS. Comprising six members, the jury bestows its primary award upon a film participating in the Competition, accompanied by two additional prizes, each valued at 2,500 euros. These accolades are allocated to a film within the Panorama category and another within the Forum.

The awarded filmmakers are those who have effectively depicted actions or human experiences aligned with the Gospels or have adeptly sensitized viewers to spiritual, human, or social values through their cinematic endeavors.

Keep reading to discover who makes up the 32nd Ecumenical Jury at the Berlinale this 2024.

Karin Becker, München (Germany)

Karin Becker (1979) is a documentary filmmaker and author. She holds a Directing Diploma from the University for Television and Film Munich and a M.A. in Recent German Literature from the LMU Munich. She also completed the IFP journalism training. She has directed several documentary films of all lengths, selected in film festivals such as the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Visions du Réel Nyon, Dok Leipzig and many others. She received various awards, such as ‘Best Documentary’ at the UK Film Festival London. Besides, Karin Becker curated an exhibition on Thomas Mann at the Literaturhaus Munich and makes TV and Radio Features for German television and radio stations. She lives in Munich.

Jacques Champeaux, Issy-les-Moulineaux (France)

Jacques Champeaux (1948)  is a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole nationale supérieure des télécommunica-tions. He worked for 35 years in the telecommunication industry. Since 2007, he has been deeply involved in Pro-Fil, a French protestant association for analyzing and discussing films, and an institutional member of Interfilm. He is currently Chairman of Pro-Fil and a personal member of INTERFILM. He leads a Pro-Fil discussion group near Paris, is the author of many film reviews and participates in a monthly radio broadcast on new films on a Christian channel in Paris. He was a member of an Ecumenical Jury in Fribourg (2012), Cannes (2014), Warsaw (2015) and of an interreligious jury in Venice (2017) and Leipzig (2022).  

Anita Nemes, Budapest (Hungary)

Anita Nemes (1985) holds master’s degrees in Communication and Media Studies, in English Language and Literature and Law from ELTE University, Budapest. She started her professional career at Hungarian Television working in multiple roles as editor, reporter and assistant director at the department of religious programmes. Now she is working as a senior manager at the Film Department of the public media organisation, involved in programme selection and acquisitions for public television channels. Anita is also a member and volunteer of the Community of Sant’Egidio Budapest, a worldwide Christian community established in Rome and rooted in prayer, service to the poor and work for peace. 

S. Brent Rodríguez-Plate, Clinton, NY (USA)

S. Brent Rodríguez-Plate(1966)  is a writer, speaker, editor, and professor whose books include A History of Religion in 5½ Objects, Blasphemy: Art that Offends, and Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World. Their essays have been published in Newsweek, Slate, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Christian Century, The Islamic Monthly, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere. They are a board member of the Interfaith Coalition of Greater Utica, NY; Executive Director of the Association for Public Religion and Intellectual Life; Editor of the journal CrossCurrents; and professor, by special appointment, at Hamilton College, NY. 

Marta Romanova-Jekabsone, Riga (Latvia)

Marta Romanova-Jekabsone (1981) is an up-and-coming film freelance producer from Latvia with her previous experience of more than fifteen years in marketing and Public Relations and having Master’s degree in Communication science. She started her career in the film industry in 2014 as executive producer of the documentary “Ruch and Nor-ie”. Her debut as a feature fiction producer was the family drama “BILLE” (2018, National Film Awards Best Feature 2018). Now her latest project is the feature fiction “SOVIET MILK” (2023). She is developing new film projects with international appeal. Her main interest is to create inspirational films with strong female characters and female storylines giving light and hope to the world.

Sr. Francesca Šimuniová OSB, Praha (Czech Republic)

Sr. Stanislava Francesca Šimuniová (1973) – Abbess of Abbey Venio, Czech Republic: She studied special education at Charles University Prague, has undergone psychotherapeutic training, she worked with seniors and handicapped people. Currently, she studies Ethics at the Jesuit philosophic school in Munich, Bavaria. She lives in a Benedictine community where all sisters have also a civil occupation – until becoming abbess, she worked for a non-profit organization. Sr. Francesca is often invited to Czech media as one of the few members of the Czech Catholic Church who can present faith and devoted life/church to wide public. She speaks German, English and Russian, and is learning Italian and Turkish. She is interested in film, theater, politics and philosophy.


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