- SIGNIS Co-Sponsor of International Conference on Jesus Films in Poland
- SIGNIS Workshop Trains a New Generation of Jurors in Lyon
- Ken Loach Receives the Robert Bresson Award 2012
- SIGNIS Workshop for a New Generation of Jurors in Lyon
- Cinema, Religion and Politics in the Air
- New Egyptian Cinema: the Presence of Religion
- Exchanging One Habit for Another: "A Nun’s New Habit" Screened at Cahayasuara
- Angelus Winner Nominated For Academy Award
- A New Generation of Filipino Filmmakers: Mark Meily Awarded at the Brussels Independent Film Festival
- Faith Shorts
- "Samson & Delilah" Named Australian Film of the Year by the Catholic Film Office for 2009
- Priests Honoured at 56th Indian National Film Awards
- SIGNIS Award Winning Film Chosen as Best Film in Asian Pacific Film Festival 2009
- "Yarwng", a Salesian Priest’s Award Winning Film
- The Face of the Other (Den Andres Ansikt) in Oslo
- Angelus Announces 2009 Festival Winners
- Religion and Film in Armenia (1911-2009): From the Arrival of Cinema to the Establishment of the Ecumenical Jury
- Images of the Afterlife in Theology and Film
- "Slumdog Millionnaire" - A Brief Note
- H2Onews: Vatican Applause for “Slumdog Millionaire” Oscar
- "The Black Balloon" Named Australian Film of the Year by the Catholic Film Office for 2008
- Film Workshop "Cinema: Going Beyond the Barriers" in Prague
- First SIGNIS East Asia Film Seminar 2008: "Depiction of Core Family Values in East Asian Movies"
- Classic Film about the Life and Work of St Vincent de Paul Re-released
- Meeting Daniel Burman
- The Bresson Prize for Daniel Burman
- The Life of St.Thomas on Celluloid soon in India
- Egoyan’s "Adoration" Wins Ecumenical Prize in Cannes 2008
- SIGNIS Film Seminar to Give a “Face for the Faceless”
- Australian Catholic Film Office Names "The Jammed" Best Film of 2007
- Ken Loach to Speak at Homeless Movie Club in London
- ’Evening of Angelus’ returns to Sundance Film Festival
- Church and Film: 90 Years of History in Brazil
- Peacemaking in the World of Film
- "Ten Canoes" Named Australian Film of the Year by the Catholic Film Office for 2006
- Interreligious Screening of "Bamako" in the UK
- Alter-Ciné Foundation Documentary Film Grants 2007
- U.S. Bishops Choose Top 10 Films for 2006
- "Grbavica" Wins John Templeton Award 2006
- Vatican to Host World Premiere of "The Nativity Story"
- SIGNIS-Romania’s “Facing Children”: a Film Festival for Child Rights
- Indian Catholic church makes Bollywood film on AIDS
- ’Evening of Angelus’ draws 400 people in Sundance
- Look Both Ways named Australian Film of the Year by Australian Catholic Film Office
- US Bishops’ Film Office Chooses Top 10 Films of 2005
- ’L’enfant’ Wins 2005 Templeton European Film of the Year Award
Meeting Daniel Burman
Venice, September 2, 2008 (Peter Malone) - It is a warm summer’s day in Venice. The festival is in full swing. Daniel Burman unobtrusively arrives, suit and tie for the formalities, because he is to be awarded the prestigious award, the Prix Bresson. In fact, Burman seems quite unobtrusive, agreeing to a later interview, moving to the press conference panel and sitting quietly but attentively while his work is praised. But, when he speaks in reply, there is obvious force and energy.
In 2001, when one of his films, Waiting for the Messiah , was screened an alert goes up with the word, Messiah. Apocalyptic, certainly, but a particularly Jewish word.
Daniel Burman is only 35 this year. He comes from Argentina and does have Polish and Jewish background.
Not only has he directed films, he has also worked as one of the producers in a number of films, including SIGNIS and Ecumenical award-winners, Garage Olympo (about the ’disappeared’ in Argentina during the time of the Generals) and Motorcycle Diaries (on the early years of Che Guevara). His own films tell local stories, especially his autobiographical trilogy, Waiting for the Messiah (2001), Lost Embrace (2004) and the SIGNIS award-winning, Family Law (2006).
As Family Law brings his trilogy to a close, we understand something more of his personality and his film-making. This is a very positive film indeed, very enjoyable, very entertaining. Burman brings Argentinian society to life - with his special angle since his Jewish family migrated to Argentina at the end of World War II. Family Law is basically (but not entirely) autobiographical - and the hero’s little boy is played, charmingly and naturalistically, by Burman’s own son. Buenos Aires itself becomes a character in the film.
Family Law sounds far too legal and cold a title for this film. It opens with the central figure, a fairly buttoned-up type (literally since he even wears his suit and tie to bed sometimes) who lectures, quite interestingly in law and justice at the university. He is talking, not about himself, but his father’s daily routine in life and in his legal practice. He is in admiration of his father - and the audience grows in sharing this admiration. His father is a good man.
The hero himself is not such a bad man either, but overshadowed in his own mind and behaviour by this father. He marries, has a little boy, continues his work but fails to understand so much of his father’s life and attitudes, despite his father’s encouraging him to do so, until it is too late. Daniel Hendler won a Silver Bear in Berlin for Burman’s previous film, Lost Embrace . He is completely credible here as is Arturo Goetz as the father.
Burman is showing three generations of a family, relationships between fathers and sons. There are tensions and misunderstandings but also love and hope. It is an optimistic film, not only feelgood but an encouragement to be good.
Some of these aspects were considered when the Foundation Ente Dello Spettacolo decided to award the Prix Bresson to Daniel Burman. While the prize is Catholic and is sponsored as well by two Vatican offices, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Pontifical Council for Culture, it is not limited to Catholic directors. There is no limit in terms of culture or creed. Previous winners include Wim Wenders, Manoel de Oliveira, Zhang Yang and Aleksander Sukurov.
The function was hosted by Monsignor Dario Vigano, the head of Ente Dello Spettacolo. Festival director Marco Mueller attended and spoke. Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, who had spent three years in the papal nunciature in Argentina, presented the award. The award is also supported by the Cinema Department of the Italian Ministry for Culture. The Prix Bresson has as its criterion that the director has given "a significant testimony to the difficult way to the search for spiritual meaning in our lives". Archbishop Celli stated that Burman’s films showed "the capacity to read into the heart of the human search and anguish for identity with decency and discretion".
And the interview - brief as all the journalists and cameras (a mini-horde) lined up to probe the celebrity!
Burman was understated about his Jewish background, simply saying that this is who he was and that it naturally played an important role in his storytelling. As regards Argentina being a Catholic country, he found no difficulty in being Jewish in that culture (Buenos Aires is one of the few cities in the world where the McDonalds in the Abasio Centre actually proclaims, ’Kosher McDonalds’ and is closed on the sabbath.)
Where Burman becomes eloquent, as he did in his acceptance speech for his award, is when asked about his passion for film-making. He repeats the story he told during his speech: about God asking Adam in Eden after he had eaten the forbidden fruit, when he was hiding, not "where are you?" but "what have you done with the gifts I gave you?".
That is the key to his enthusiasm. He has tried to use his gifts for storytelling and film-making to the best of his abilities. He declares that he cannot not tell stories. He remarked that many people say that they want to save the world, or even save the whale. That is not his call. These are not his gifts. Rather, drawing on his experience (and his films so far show a genial and positive attitude towards life from his experience), he tells his stories and hopes that audiences will be glad to share his stories and his experiences with him.