HeadlineFirst Ecumenical Award Shines in Transilvania

First Ecumenical Award Shines in Transilvania

The Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF) has marked a significant milestone in film history by presenting, for the first time, the highly esteemed Ecumenical Award at its 23rd edition, which draws to a close today in the city of Cluj-Napuca, a prominent cultural hub of Romania and Eastern Europe.

This prestigious award, established in partnership with SIGNIS and Interfilm, was presented at the National Theater during the official TIFF Awards Ceremony, minutes after Festival President Tudor Giurgiu proudly announced that with this new jury, “TIFF aligns itself with the global recognition of an Ecumenical Jury at many other major festivals around the world.”

Thus, the first Ecumenical Award was given to “Summer Brother,” directed by Joren Molter. This film impressed the jury with its profound and emotional exploration of human relationships:  “With an emotional and genuine portrayal by the main character, this film weaves a multi-layered social-realist narrative. Its cinematography, perpetually reflecting the underlying conflict, guides us through a journey from ignorance to love, from fear to hope, and from irresponsibility to a profound care for others. The film reminds us that the “other” is always by our side.”

Upon receiving the award, Moler issued a compelling call to action to his fellow filmmakers. He urged them to include protagonists with disabilities in their scripts, as in his film, and to collaborate with these actors. He believes that by providing them with the opportunity to use film as a platform for work and expression of their humanity, the industry can take a significant step towards embracing diversity and inclusivity.

In addition, the Ecumenical Jury awarded a Special Mention to “Where Elephants Go?” directed by Romanians Cătălin Rotaru and Gabi Virginia Șarga. This film stands out for its combination of comedy and drama, telling the story of Leni, a nine-year-old girl with cancer, and Marcel, a 23-year-old man. Together, they explore the streets of Bucharest, forming a friendship that addresses both the light and dark aspects of life. In its motivation, the Jury expressed that: “in this brave, cinematic meta fairy tale, the essential details and necessary nuances that we otherwise ignore in everyday life are seen more clearly. Attentive and open to the unpredictable, we are invited to be aware of the traces we leave in the lives of others and to enjoy the present.”

The Ecumenical Jury at TIFF was composed of Ileana Bîrsan (Romania, President), Piet Palma (Netherlands), Tímea Kókai-Nagy (Hungary), and Edgar Rubio (Mexico).

Including the Ecumenical Award at TIFF reinforces the festival’s commitment to promoting intercultural dialogue and reflection on the significant issues of humanity. With this new award, the Transylvania International Film Festival continues establishing itself as a global benchmark, celebrating diversity and humanity through cinematic art.

The Ecumenical and SIGNIS Juries at TIFF are initiatives of the new SIGNIS World Cinema & TV Desk, which is revitalizing, attracting more professionals and reaching new festivals to promote our mission.

For more details about the festival and its honorees, visit the official TIFF website.

Photos courtesy TIFF


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