Cannes, May, 17th, 2017 (SIGNIS) – Today opens the 70th edition of the Festival de Cannes, under the presidency of the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. For more than 40 years, Christians have been present at the heart of this highly professional and publicized artistic event, with an ecumenical jury composed of 6 Protestant and Catholic members. They award their prize to a film from the official competition.

You can follow the activties of the ecumenical jury at the festival by visiting the official website.



This year, the members are :

Denyse Muller - President - France

Born in 1942, Denyse Muller studied Protestant Theology in Montpellier, before going to Chicago and Richmond (USA). She worked as a minister in different parishes in Virginia (USA), France and Switzerland. She belongs to a committee of the United Protestant Church of France involved in ecumenical and interfaith relationships. She is also a member of Pro-Fil (France) and a member of WACC. From 2000 to 2016, she organized and coordinated, with SIGNIS, the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.

She has been the vice-president of INTERFILM International and president of INTERFILM France since 2003, and a member of the INTERFILM Jury in Venice, the Prix Farel Jury in Neuchâtel (Switzerland) and ecumenical juries in Locarno, Berlin, Cannes, Montreal, Karlovy Vary, Yerevan, Warsaw…






Gaëlle Courtens - Italy

Born in 1967, Gaëlle Courtens is a journalist specialised in religious matters. As Editor of the News Agency Nev-Notizie Evangeliche and Press Officer for the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, her main topics are: ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, religious freedom, secularism, migration and human rights. She holds a Master’s degree in Italian Language and Literature, Sociology and Political Sciences from the University of Zurich (Switzerland). She has been member of the INTERFILM Jury in Venice, the Prix Farel Jury in Neuchâtel and the Ecumenical Jury in Locarno 2015.






P. Andreas Engelschalk - Germany

Andreas Engelschalk was born in 1962. He studied Protestant Theology in Heidelberg and Hamburg. In 1993, he served as a volunteer in the ecumenical community of Taizé. He became an assistant in the department of film culture of the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) and between 1996 and 2000, assistant in the department of Protestant Theology of the Johann-Wolfgang-von-Goethe Universität Frankfurt/Main.

Since 2000, he has been the pastor of the Evangelische Kirche im Rheinland (EKiR), and since 1996 a member of INTERFILM and a member of ecumenical juries in Mannheim-Heidelberg Yerevan, Warsaw and Locarno. He also is a member of the group “Popular culture and religion”




Jos Horemans - Belgium

After studying pedagogy and psychology, Jos Horemans began a career in Catholic school-teaching where he became the director of elementary schools of the Diocese of Antwerp. Fascinated by cinema, he joined a film club, where he successively became regional president, then president-general for Flanders. He worked as a freelance journalist for a monthly film magazine which he directed for 16 years.

Member of SIGNIS, Jos Horemans participated in SIGNIS ecumenical and interfaith juries in many festivals (Cannes, Venice, Locarno, San Sebastian, Karlovy Vary, Warsaw, Mar del Plata, Montreal, Hong Kong, Tehran...). From 2005 to 2013, he was the President of SIGNIS Europe, and until 2015, the coordinator for SIGNIS of the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. He is currently working on the development of a film database.





Benjamin Lorenzo Sánchez - Spain

Born in 1979, Benjamin Lorenzo is a film director and screenwriter, playwright and theatre director and creator of commercials. He has worked with directors such as Jaime Chávarri (Camarón, Las bicicletas son para el verano…). He has written many short films, and awarded numerous times, notably for Tengo hambre screened at UN headquarters.

He was a member of the SIGNIS Jury in the Latin American Film Festival of La Habana (Cuba). He teaches screenwriting in Madrid and created the summer week of Creation of Short Film in Buendía (Spain).






Valérie de Marnhac- France

Valérie de Marnhac was born in 1966 and graduated from the ESSEC Business School. She also has a Master’s in Management of Cultural Organizations from the University Paris Dauphine. She has worked for 20 years in print media and is today part of SIGNIS Paris, for which she hosts film debates.

She writes film reviews for the website and is part of a high school film club as part of a pastoral team.