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“Joy and hope, grief and anxiety”: a short film project of the German Bishops’ Conference.

Friday 20 November 2015, by SIGNIS

Berlin, Brussels, November 20th, 2015 (SIGNIS/German Bishops’ Conference). 50 years ago, the Second Vatican Council in Rome ended. More than 2,500 Catholic bishops from around the world had been involved in the discussion about the relation of the Church to the world today. The result was the publication of a document, Gaudium et Spes, to be used for pastoral work. This text begins with the words "the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties ".

Throughout this document, the Church turns to all people. It asked: Who are you? Where are you? What are you? What moves you? But it didn’t say how someone should be.

For the council Jubilee in 2015, the German Bishops asked film-makers, writers, musicians and visual artists to reflect on this. The project was also funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media.

In the domain of cinema, a total of 14 contributions were produced on this theme, from which a jury selected six films. These jury members were: Dr. Walter Zahner ( curator of the Council project), Harald Hackenberg (managing Catholic film work), Joachim Opahle (SIGNIS Europe, responsible for producing radio programmes for the Diocese of Berlin , Prof. Dr. Reinhold Zwick (Catholic film commission, and professor at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster) and Dr. Werner Barg (film producer, author and curator of this short film project)

They unanimously reported “that it was not easy to take a decision because they were consistently significant productions ". Dr. Werner Barg observed that the theme of the film project opened his students’ emotional horizons.

The six short films by film students of the University of Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, the Met Film School Berlin and Halle Institute for Media (HIM) on the subject of "joy and hope, grief and anxiety” were

  • Pegram’s Universe (directed by Andreas Boschmann, Film University): A young break dancer, who fled from Iran three years ago, hoping to be allowed to stay. At the same time, he increasingly moves away from his earlier life in Iran.
  • Consanguineous (Director: Agniia Galdanova, MET Film School): A mother looks after a toddler, while at the same time her son is embroiled in eastern Ukraine in hostilities; she is anxious about the fate of her son.
  • Hand In Hand (Nadja Grubitzsch, Teresa Ifland, Mirko Rudolph, Laura Carius, Lisa Gleike, HIM): The encounter between an unaccompanied minor refugee and an old woman. He reminds her of her own experience during the Second World War and her flight from Eastern Europe.
  • Grey time (Directed by: Oliver Adam Kusio, Film University): Two sisters say goodbye to their dead father.
  • To Posterity (Christian Zapf, Anne Walther, Darya Ernst among others, HIM): An "adaptation" of the poem by Bertolt Brecht with the same title
  • Metamorphoses (Director: Vera Mayskaya, MET Film School): Dance expression of joy, hope, grief and fear, but also of the five stages of grief/dying (after Kübler Ross).
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