Berlin/London, June 9, 2010 (SIGNIS) - Broadcasters from Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland were the prize winners at the SIGNIS -WACC 17th European Television Festival of Religious Programmes held in Berlin from June 2nd-6th.

The first prize was awarded to the documentary, Meine Eltern (My Parents) produced by ARD/Hessischer Rundfunk which depicts the relationship between a son and his old and sick parents. The winner of the second prize was the Dutch production, Patrick's Koninkrijk (Patrick's Kingdom), a touching children's and family programme produced by RKK/KRO. The third prize went to My Father's House , a moving exploration of one man's struggle to come to terms with sexual abuse by a priest, produced by the Irish broadcaster, RTE.

The four-day festival considered the future of religious programmes on TV. In an opening address, Peter Frey, the Chief Editor of German public broadcaster, ZDF, reaffirmed that religion was of such importance in people's lives that it must find a place on TV. The BBC's Head of Religion, Aaqil Ahmed saw a future for religious programmes as along as they were both marketable and consistently focused on the interests of the audience. Msgr Paul Tighe, Secretary to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, encouraged TV producers to invent new, shorter narrative forms for the digital age. And the president of the International Jury, Kathleen LaCamera, challenged broadcasters to "be much more adventurous and broad ranging in our understanding of what constitutes serious religious programming in both form and content."

The Audience Prize, chosen by the festival participants, was presented to Südwestrundfunk (SWR) for Alles koscher im Café (Yessir, this is Koscher) about a Jewish restaurant in Berlin.

Commendations were given to two German programmes: Ein Haus für kleine Seelen (A House for Small Souls) (ARD/Bayerischer Rundfunk) and Mutig gegen Marx und Mielke (Courageous Against Marx and Mielke) (RBB/Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk).

A special prize for the best website linked to a programme in the competition went to In Spite of Darkness from Loyola productions Munich. The prize was awarded by a jury of members of the European Christian Internet Conference (ECIC).

Seventy programmes from 14 countries were originally submitted to the competition, of these, 23 were chosen for screening.

The Festival was organized by SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communication and WACC (World Association for Christian Communication) and in collaboration with German public broadcaster Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF). Some 95 broadcasters came together from 18 European countries and Canada.

More information at: www.signis-wacc-festival.de