The activities of SIGNIS in the field of cinema follow those developed by OCIC, the International Catholic Organization for Cinema. OCIC was created in 1928 to co-ordinate the work of Catholics active in the cinema world. The organization built a strong tradition of writing and publishing on film which included reviewing, critique, commentary and evaluation and consumer information that is still very much alive today, in print, on radio and television and on websites and social media. With film journalism and criticism SIGNIS is also integrating the field of cinema into media education.
Many SIGNIS members have published books and theses on academic themes, pastoral activities through cinema and histories of local and national film cultures. Through its dialogue with the broad world of cinema, SIGNIS is a bridge between the Catholic Church and the professionals, making the presence of the Church in the cinema world more credible.
In 1947, OCIC broadened its activities by participating in international juries at film festivals.
Today, SIGNIS organizes SIGNIS, Ecumenical and Interfaith juries in more than 30 film festivals around the world, from the best-known, including Cannes, Berlin, and Venice, to more specialised festivals, including Mar del Plata, Zanzibar, Hong Kong, Fajr (Tehran) and Brisbane. Through this work it offers its members different professional opportunities. It also means that through these festival activities the organization can offer a space of continuous dialogue with Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Jews, Hindus, Muslims and members of other religions.
As SIGNIS defends cultural diversity in the media, it is aware of the importance of promoting the cinema and audiovisual productions of those countries or those minorities who are absent or almost unseen in the global media world. It also wants to help give a face to the faceless, to the creativity and to the stories of those who are invisible.
Since the 1990s, Cinema, television, video and digital media have become parts of one interconnected technological and distribution system. SIGNIS cinema activities, therefore, necessarily overlap with its policies in relation to TV and video production as well as the internet and digital social media.
By its presence in the professional cinema world, through international seminars and conferences, the organization of post production competitions for Latin American films, assistance in production, distribution of films through its network of television producers and distributors and conservation of the film heritage, SIGNIS contributes in a concrete way to the development of a cinema aimed towards human and spiritual values.