Oberhausen, May, 3rd, 2018 (SIGNIS/INTERFILM). Today starts the 64th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany. Since 1963, INTERFILM, the International Inter-Church Film Organization, and SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication, have been present with their own juries. Since 2000, they have merged their juries to present together the Ecumenical Jury.

In Oberhausen the ecumenical jury is composed of four members from Germany and other different countries and cultures, who may be film journalists, critics, theologians, researchers or teachers. Though the members are from the Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox churches they are open to inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue. The jury members are completely independent and meet during the festival to analyse and comment on the films.

The Ecumenical Jury has a particular perspective on the films. It gives its prizes (as well as commendations) to directors who have shown genuine talent and succeeded in portraying human experience that is in harmony with the gospel or in sensitizing viewers to spiritual, human or social questions and values. It honors works of high cinematographic quality, which bear witness to the power of film as an artistic medium for communication and visual expression. It draws attention to those works of quality which touch the spiritual dimension of our existence, expressing the values of justice, human dignity, respect for the environment, peace and solidarity. These values, shared in all cultures, are also those of the Gospel. In its choices the Ecumenical Jury has shown an openness to cultural, social or religious diversity.

This year, the members of the Ecumenical Jury in Oberhausen are Alexander Bothe(Germany), Gudrun Hohenberger (Austria), Markus Manzer, (Germany) and Christian Murer, (Switzerland).

Ecumenical Juries are also present at numerous additional Film Festivals, such as Locarno (1973), Cannes (1974), Berlin (1992), Leipzig (1990-2015), Karlovy Vary (1994), Mannheim-Heidelberg (1995), Fribourg (1998), Kiev (1999), Cottbus (1999), Zlin (2000), Yerevan (2007), Warsaw (2010), Miskolc (2011), Saarbrücken (2015), and in interreligious Juries in Nyon (2005) and Leipzig (2016).