NewsCultureThe Ecumenical Jury at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival 

The Ecumenical Jury at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival 

Established in 1951, the event draws filmmakers, actors, industry professionals, and film enthusiasts from all corners of the globe.

The Berlin International Film Festival, also known as Berlinale, stands as one of the world’s premier film festivals. Held annually in Berlin, Germany, it is a part of the esteemed “Big Three” film festivals, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival. This year it took place from February 15th until the 25th. 

Established in 1951, the event draws filmmakers, actors, industry professionals, and film enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. It features an array of films, spanning feature films, documentaries, and short films, encompassing various genres and representing diverse countries.

The festival comprises multiple sections, including the Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation, and Berlinale Shorts. The Ecumenical Jury, appointed by SIGNIS and INTERFILM, participates in the International Competition, Panorama, and Forum.

This year, the main prize went to  Keyke mahboobe man (My Favourite Cake) directed by Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha (Iran, France, Sweden, Germany, 2024). The jury’s motivatoin reads “The filmmakers of My Favourite Cake show us how paradise can be created in your own backyard. It requires a little laughing, drinking, dancing, and, of course, eating cake. Yet it also needs a strong dose of resistance and the courage to move beyond the confining patterns of social and political life. While this small story is in Iran, it offers promises for connection and joy to anyone anywhere late in life”

In the Panorama section, the Jury awarded its Prize, endowed with €2,500 by the Catholic German Bishops’ Conference, to the film: Sex directed by Dag Johan Haugerud (Norway, 2024). “Sex is a film about sex and gender, though no sex is shown. The filmmakers demonstrate how honesty and intimacy are vital to human relationships. Through slow pacing and humorous conversations the film focuses our attention on the nuances of our social constructions of gender and sex, and more importantly, of love. One protagonist talks about people who make the world smaller and those who make it larger. The movie Sex definitely makes it larger”, said the Jury. 

Moreover, in the Forum section, the Jury awards its Prize, endowed with €2,500 by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), to Marijas klusums (Maria’s Silence) directed by Dāvis Sīmanis (Latvia, Lithuania, 2024). According to the Jury, “This black and white film relates the real story of silent film actress Maria Leiko travelling from Germany to Soviet Russia and trapped by the regime. Maria and the Latvian theatre company in which she was enrolled become victims of the massive purges of this period. The jury appreciated the transformation of the main character who witnessed the evils of the system and eventually decided on choosing silence as a form of resistance against outrageous violence”.

In addition, the jury in the Forum awarded a Commendation to Intercepted directed by Oksana Karpovych (Canada, France, Ukraine, 2024). “Conversations between Russian soldiers and their families were intercepted by Ukrainian army. In this documentary, director Oksana Karpovych confronts recordings of those conversations with images of destroyed Ukrainian houses and villages. That confrontation creates a collision and a striking portrayal of war”, concluded the Jury.

This year’s Jury members were:

Sr. Francesca Šimuniová (Czech Republic, President of the Jury)
Jacques Champeaux (France)
S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate (USA)
Marta Romanova-Jekabsone (Latvia)
Karin Becker (Germany)
Anita Nemes (Hungary)

Pictures, by Walter Wetzler, are from the Ecumenical Reception organized by Alex Bothe, German delegate to SIGNIS Europe. This is an annual event that is funded by the German Bishops Conference (hosting alternates annually with the German Protestant church) to support the work of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlinale Film Festival.


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