Cannes, May, 9th, 2018 (SIGNIS/INTERFILM). Today starts the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival, one of the most important events in the cinema world. Since 1974, the Ecumenical Jury, appointed by SIGNIS and INTERFILM, is invited by the Cannes Film Festival to award a Prize to a film in the official competition.

The two organizations elect a jury composed of six members, coming from different cultures and countries. Renewed each year, they are professionals in the cinema field as journalists, critics, theologists, teachers... They are members of one of the Christian Church and are open to interreligious dialogue.

To follow their work and activities during the festival, please visit the official website (only in French), as well as their Facebook Page and Twitter feed.

This year, the six members of the jury are:

Alain le Goanvic, France : Graduated from "l'École supérieure de Commerce", passionate cinephile, Alain Le goanvic created several film-clubs and launched in 2007, in Vitrolles, France, a festival "Cinema and Aviation. Pro-Fil member since 2000, he was its president from 2010 to 2014, and remains a member of the pro-Fil editorial board, as well as editor on the pro-Fil website as on the website of the ecumenical jury in Cannes. He was on the jury at Mannheim - Heidelberg in 2004 and 2014, member of the jury of the "very short films" at La Rochelle as well as at the interreligious jury at the 2012 "Festival Visions du Réel" in Nyon.

Inês Mendes Gil, Portugal : Inês Mendes Gil teaches film at Lusófona University in Lisbon since 2000. She published her PHD thesis in 2005 about "Cinematographic Atmosphere". She is director of documentaries and video installations, often related to spirituality and the sacred. "Terre Promise" is her latest film, a short fiction film which interprets the myth of the relationship between Narcissus and Echo. She regularly participates in SIGNIS and ecumenical juries around the world.

Robert K. Johnston, USA : Robert K. Johnston is Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California and Co-Director of Fuller’s Reel Spirituality Institute. He served on the Ecumenical Jury at Locarno in 2017. He is the author or editor of fifteen books and the co-editor of both the Engaging Culture and the Exegeting Culture series for Baker Academic Books, as well as the Religion and Film series for Routledge. A past president of the American Theological Society and the recipient of two major research grants from the Luce Foundation, Johnston is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Richard Leonard, Australia : Richard Leonard is a Jesuit priest. He has degrees in arts and education, as well as a Master’s degree in theology. Richard did graduate studies at the London Film School and has a PhD in cinema studies from the University of Melbourne. He directs the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting, is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Catholic University, has been a visiting scholar within the School of Theatre, Film & Television at UCLA and a Visiting Professor of Communications at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Richard has served on juries at the Venice, Berlin, Warsaw, Hong Kong, Montreal, Brisbane and Melbourne International Film Festivals and is the author of several books about Cinema and Faith.

Thomas Schüpbach, Switzerland : Thomas Schüpbach (*1970) studied protestant theology in Basel and Vienna focusing on ethics and with periodic work at a youth oriented cinema where he has been jointly responsible for programme, organization and discussion. Since 1998 he works as reverend in protestant parishes and repeatedly absolved further training sessions and film seminars in Locarno, Frankfurt, Lübeck and in Iceland. He has been a member of protestant or ecumenical juries in several film festivals and built up an adult education platform where he regularly screened and discussed movies.

Pierre-Auguste Henry, France: Young media professional and regular Cannes festival-goer with the Ecumenical Jury, he graduated from Essec Business School in 2013 where he presided the film club. Over these years, he organized thematic screenings with other cultural associations from Cergy-Pontoise, and distributed the club’s short films catalog in Europeans festivals. As a SIGNIS jury member, he takes part in Besançon’s 2016 African film festival and Cottbus 2017’s east-european film festival.