„The pictures are triumphant over the reality“  

Ecumenical reception at the 68th Berlinale

by Anli Serfontein

Berlin 18 February 2018  - Church representatives at the traditional Ecumenical Reception during the 68th Berlinale International Film festival on 18 February 2018 dealt with the profound consequences of digitization

"In the course of digitization, cinema has considerably expanded its possibilities of perfecting the images and creating an immersive experience for the viewer," said the chairman of the Publishers Commission of the German Bishops' Conference, Bishop Dr. Gebhard Fürst (Rottenburg-Stuttgart), said in his greetings at the reception.

“There is no substitute for the shared experience in the magical darkness of the movie theater,” he added. On the other hand, there is a tendency in the "picture industry" for ever more perfectly designed pictures. Through digital editing, the image is increasingly removing itself from reality. "The images triumph over reality," Bishop Fürst said.

The Rev. Johann Hinrich Claussen, the Cultural representative of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) the umbrella organization of Protestant churches, welcomed the guest of honor, film director Andreas Veiel to the Ecumenical Reception.

Veiel is considered one of the most prominent German representatives of a politically engaged form of art. In a Q&A conversation on stage the cultural representative of the EKD' paid hommage to the film and theater director’s work. „Veiels cinematic work is characterised by an unusually long staying power and a special sensitivity. At a time when film production is becoming faster and louder, his documentary films retain a human gaze that shows depth, "Claussen said. In 2017, Veiel participated in the Berlinale International Competition with his highly acclaimed documentary on Joseph Beuys.

The 27th  The ecumenical jury, whose members are nominated by the International Church Film Organization "INTERFILM" and the International Catholic Association for Communication "SIGNIS", introduced this year's president, theologian Inge Kirsner (Ludwigsburg). She was joined by the rest of the jury: theologian Joachim Opahle (Berlin), theologian Jeffrey H. Mahan (Denver, USA), journalist Vesna Andonovic (Mamer, Luxembourg), educator Winifred Loh (Singapore) and theologian Freek L. Bakker (Voorschoten, The Netherlands).

Since 1992, the prizes of  the Ecumenical Jury, honors films in the Berlinale sections, International Competition, Panorama and Forum.  With the prizes film makers are honored for expressing in their works human behavior that is in line with the gospel or for films that sensitize the audience to spiritual and social values.


This article first appeared on Ecumenical News