The General Secretary of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), Rev. Dr Karin Achtelstetter, has congratulated the Rev. Dr Julia Helmke upon her election as president of the International Interchurch Film Organisation, INTERFILM.
“Rev. Helmke has an impressive professional background and experience in the area of Protestant media work and ecumenical juries as well as in TV and film. I am looking forward to collaborating with Rev. Helmke. I am confident that the strong partnership between WACC and INTERFILM will continue and I am looking forward to a productive and creative future," said Achtelstetter.”
Helmke was elected president at the General Assembly of INTERFILM held in Hannover June 8-9. WACC Programme Director Philip Lee serves the organization’s Steering Committee.
Helmke is Commissioner for Art and Cultural Affairs of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hannover. She is the first woman to direct INTERFILM since its foundation in 1955. She has served several times as a jury member and wrote her PhD on the development of the film festival commitment by the churches.
In her analysis of the motivations, aims and foundations of these initiatives, she highlighted in particular the ecumenical cooperation between Protestant and Catholic film organisations that started with the first ecumenical jury in Locarno in 1973.
INTERFILM represents the Protestant churches through ecumenical or interreligious juries at international film festivals as Cannes, Berlin or Venice among many others.
Helmke succeeds Rev. Hans Hodel of Switzerland, president of INTERFILM since 2004, who did not stand for re-election. He continues to organise the church festival juries as INTERFILM’s jury coordinator, an office he has held since 1989.
“WACC is proud of its long-standing involvement with INTERFILM and is grateful for the professionalism and dedication with which Hans Hodel carried out his work,” Achtelstetter said, thanking Hodel for his inspiring and passionate dedication to Protestant film work.
In Hannover, the World Catholic Association for Communication (SIGNIS), INTERFILM’s partner organisation at numerous festivals, gave an Honourary Award to Hodel for his ecumenical film activities.
INTERFILM’s General Assembly included a reception by the Church of Hannover in celebration of the 80th birthday of Hans Werner Dannowski, Honorary President of the organization. Dannowski has been Hannover’s City Superintendent and Film Commissioner of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).
Bishop Ralf Meister, an INTERFILM member, and Petra Bahr, Commissioner for Cultural Affairs of the EKD, both said they felt like pupils of Dannowski, since he relates to the art of film and to the Gospel in a manner matched by only a few. His articles, speeches and film sermons witness his art of exegesis in exploring both their contrasts and affinities.