Belief on Screen

20th European Festival of Religious Television and Online Programmes

27. - 30. September 2023 Berlin

Organized by WACC and SIGNIS opens a unique window onto the world of religious programmes on
television and online. A warm welcome to the Festival and to Berlin!

WACC (World Association for Christian Communication) and SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communication) invite you to participate in this 20th edition of the European Festival of Religious Television and Online Programmes. A warm welcome to spend some inspiring days in Berlin from 27th – 30th September 2023.

The Festival is usually held every three years, though due to the Covid epidemic it has been much delayed following our last festival in Paris in 2017. Now, at long last, we are delighted to invite you once again to take part in this unique event. Its aim is to present and reward the very best of television and online programmes made in Europe that express, explore and examine values in relation to religion, belief and ethics. 

The theme of the Festival is Belief on Screen. Questions of belief, religion, values and identity are posing fundamental challenges to European societies. During the Festival we will be exploring the challenges of building bridges of understanding in increasingly polarised and dangerous times.

How is religious broadcasting adapting to the changed media and social environment? How does it remain relevant and accessible to new audiences? As broadcaster Roger Bolton said at the Hilversum Festival in 2014, religious programme makers “have the best stories and the best questions.” How can those questions and stories be fostered now and in the future? 

The Belief on Screen Festival 2023

SIGNIS/WACC TV Festival, Belief on Screen, awards French, Dutch, Danish, German and Swiss productions

Berlin.   Films from France, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Denmark were the prize winners at the SIGNIS/WACC 20th European Television Festival of Religious Programmes held in Berlin from 27th to 30th  September 2023 . The festival showcased 26 contributions from 12 European countries at Berlin’s famous Cinema Babylon. 

The first prize was awarded to the documentary The Attraction of the Invisible, directed by Jean-Yves Fischbach and produced by CFRT for France Télévisions, which “opened our minds to what is beyond the cosmos”, as the jury pointed out. 

The winner of the Hans W.Florin Prize in Celebration of Cultural Diversity, given by WACC Europe ( was the German production What does Germany Believe? – What we Laugh At about religious humour, was produced by SWR/ARD by Claus Hanischdörfer and Bernd Seidl. In the same category a Commendation was awarded to an episode of Sign of Times – Will Women Save the World?, produced by Wilberry Jacobs for Dutch channel EO (Evangelische Omroep) in The Netherlands.

The Special  Prize for ‘outstanding story telling’ went to The Third and Fourth Generation, a film directed by the Swiss filmmaker Lukas Zünd.  The Audience Award went to Pastor in Search of Paradise, produced by Sofie Tønsberg and Ina Lindgreen for DR,  Danish Television. 

The four-day festival took a look at the status of religious programmes on European television and ventured into future expectations of religious, spiritual and existential formats. In an opening address, Guido Baumhauer, Deputy Director-General of Deutsche Welle TV, commented, “We see a lot of anger, anxiety, alienation, brutalization even, insecurity, ignorance, self-centeredness and loneliness in the present societies“.


At the same time people are looking for security and stability, something to hold on to, to believe in.  “This should be the heyday of content with values – of religious content“, he stated.  He concluded with a challenge : “My guess is it takes a new concept for religious content in media –which should embrace spirituality in a broader context and above all offer an open dialogue. It’s time to reinvent ourselves. That’s what I believe in.” 

At a reception at the Bertelsmann Foundation, Yasemin El-Menouar, project manager of the Bertelsmann Religion Monitor, introduced new findings in the religious landscape of Europe. She emphasised that the secularisation trend is continuing despite the current social crises. The survey suggests she said, that the loss of commitment of religious communities will be permanent. Nevertheless, religion can help in “overcoming contingency”, especially in crises. Religious institutions are both a “private resource”, and an important pillar of civil society at the societal level. With their extensive structures, they enable encounters and social engagement, as is evident, for example, in their commitment to and assistance for refugees.

Festival Program

27. September 2023
  • Location:
    Catholic Academie
    Hannoversche Str. 5 b
    10115 Berlin-Mitte
  • 17:00  ARRIVAL
    „Religion on Screen?“
    Guido Baumhauer, substitute Director General, Deutsche Welle TV
28. September 2023
  • Location: Babylon
  • 10:00 - 11:30: Screening 01 (90 Min)
    - 28 Pastor in search of Paradise (DENMARK)
    - 44 Saint Maik (GERMANY)
    - 15 Gusto (SLOVAKIA)
  • 11:30 - 12:00: Coffee break
  • 12:00 - 13:00: Screening 02 (60 Min)
    - 30 Guns & Rosaries (IRELAND)
    - 30 Adrianus - The Dutch Pope (NETHERLANDS)
  • 13:00 - 14:00: Lunchtime
  • 14:00 - 15:00: Screening 03 (60 Min)
    - 26 CIASE - Alliance for the Truth (FRANCE)
    - 27 Update failed? (GERMANY)
  • 15:00 - 15:30: Coffee break
  • 14:00 - 15:00: Screening 04 (60 Min)- 30 The Third and Fourth Generation (SWITZERLAND)
    - 30 El Metralla (SPAIN)
  • Evening: freetime
29. September 2023
  • Location: Babylon
  • 10:00 - 11:30 Screening 05 (90 Min)- 26 The attraction of the Invisible (FRANCE)
    - 30 Walking the Walk (IRELAND)
    - 30 Parivartana (FRANCE)
  • 11:30 - 12:00 Coffee break
  • 12:00 - 13:00 Screening 06  (60 Min)- 26 Heavenly Matters (FINLAND)
    - 30 How God made us (GERMANY)
  • 13:00 - 14:00 Lunchtime
  • 14:00 - 15:00 Screening 07 (65 Min)- 16 EX (SLOVAKIA)
    - 26 Resistants - daily life in Ukraine (FRANCE)
    - 15 Pilgrims of Time (CZECH REPUBLIC)
    - 4 I am church, because... Arsène Chafi (GERMANY)
    - 2 Saints briefly explained - Th. V Aquin (GERMANY)
  • Evening: Reception
    Unter den Linden 1
    10117 Berlin-Mitte
  • 18 Uhr
    "Conflicts and Clashes? Europe's changing religious landscape"
    Methods and results of the new Religion Monitor
    Keynote with questions
    Reception hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation


30. September 2023
  • Location: Babylon
  • 10:00 - 11:30  Screening 08 (90 Min)- 30 Sign of Times (NETHERLAND)
    - 20 Tamara from Olsztyn (POLAND)
    - 30  With God on our Side (IRELAND)
  • 11:30 - 12:00  Coffee break
  • 12:00 - 13:00 Screening 9 (60 Min)- 30 The Divine Service on Ikuris Ice Trail (FINLAND)
    - 30 What does Germany believe (GERMANY)
  • 13:00 - 14:00 Lunchtime
  • 14:00 - 15:00 Screening 10 (70 Min)- 35 Jesus and the Farmer (HUNGARY)
    - 33 Temple Food (NETHERLANDS)
  • Evening: Award ceremony and final dinner
    Katholische Akademie
    Hannoversche Str. 5 b
    10115 Berlin-Mitte
  • 19:00
    at the end of the festival



  • Early bird (up to 28.February 2023): € 300 (including VAT)
  • Full price € 350 (including VAT)

A reduced fee for students and low-income earners is available on request.

In exceptional cases it is possible to reimburse the fee. 

This fee includes lunches, receptions, social events, screenings for the whole period of the festival. The fee doesn’t include the cost for accommodation/hotels

Payment should be made to the bank account of the Festival via electronic transfer:

Receiver: SIGNIS/WACC Festival

Pax-Bank Berlin

Account number: IBAN DE 92 3706 0193 6003 5600 05

Please indicate in the reference/message field: “TV-festival/ Participants name”.

Please register here 

Should you have further queries, you may write an e-mail to or call the general manager of the festival, Joachim Opahle, +49 (0)172 38 85 782

The Contest


How to submit your programme for the competition:

Submissions can be entered via only (use the FilmFreeway-button below)

  • Register on the site
  • Fill in the entry submission form that includes a short (not longer than 1500 characters including spaces) resume in English, describing the programme contents.
  • Upload at least one still photo of the programme (300 dpi)
  • Make sure the preview file is working correctly
  • If the programmes submitted for pre-selection are in or subtitled in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a dialogue list or script in English.
  • Programmes should be a maximum of 60 minutes in length. If the programme is longer than 30 minutes the producer may be asked to provide a shorter version for public screening. The Festival reserves the right to screen a section of the entry.
  • Make the payment € 100 (including VAT)
  • Final date for submissions is the 9th of June 2023
  • Only those who submitted programmes selected for screening will be notified personally

Technical recommendations from FilmFreeway:

  • FilmFreeway accepts all major video formats in full quality HD up to 10 GB. FilmFreeway transcode videos for playback compatibility and performance and recommend that you use settings close to our output settings:
  • Maximum video bitrate: 2200 Kbps, H.264, mp4
  • Audio: 128 Kbps, AAC, 2 channel stereo
  • Aspect ratio preserved; maximum video height of 720 pixels



Mariachiara Martina

specialist in business- and media communication

Mariachiara Martina (Italy) is a specialist in business- and media communication. By being involved more than for 20 years as representative of independent producers specialized in family and christian programs, she acts in the media industry on a worldwide basis. Being serving as coordinator of SIGNIS jury at Prix Italia TV-Festival since 2012, she is regular member of SIGNIS-Juries in several other festivals around Europe.

Norbert Wichard

cultural scientist

Dr. Norbert Wichard has been head of Catholic Broadcasting Work Germany at the Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference (Broadcasting and Media Policy unit) in Bonn since 2019. Previously, he worked for the diocese of Aachen. He is a cultural scientist and has also completed journalism training at the Catholic School of Journalism ifp (Munich).

Gianluca Fiusco

Journalist and Press officer for the Evangelical Lutheran Church

Gianluca Fiusco (Italy) is Journalist and Press officer for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Italy. Studies of Communication Sciences in Italy and Diakonie-Management in Bielefeld, Germany. For more than 14 years director of Servizio Cristiano in Riesi, an innovative diaconal education centre with school, social and health care, youth work and vocational training in a mafia-influenced context. Worked for several years at a major regional television station, managing the news and culture program.

Christian Engels

Protestant Vicar

Christian Engels (Germany) is a Protestant Vicar. He is head of the Film Cultural Centre in the Joint Evangelical Association for Media Communication (GEP). Furthermore he is responsible for the programs of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) in German private television and head of the Protestant Centre for eductional work with films concerning the global south. Prior he worked for a German TV production company. He writes regularly on film, co-hosts a Podcast and has contributed to numerous radio broadcasts.


Michaela Pilters

Theologian and Journalist

Michaela Pilters (Germany) Theologian and Journalist. Head of Catholic editorial department at german public television channel ZDF from 1985 to 2018. Member of the board of different EBU-Religion Conferences in Prague; organizer of SIGNIS/WACC religious TV-Festival in Berlin 2010; during many years president of the Association of German Catholic Journalists (GKP); member of the jury of catholic media prize.

Marion Klaseie

worked at various TV production companies

Marion Klaseie (Norway) has worked at various TV production companies, both as employed and freelance, as technician, producer and manager, even as developer and founder of a local TV-Company. 1999-2019: Project Manager, producer and developer for the national Broadcasting Company in Norway (NRK) with responsibility for TV-programs with faith, religious , ethical and devotional content. 

Judith Colell

Film director, Vice dean for Business and Sustainability at FCRI

Judith Colell (Spain) is a Film director, Vice dean for Business and Sustainability at FCRI Blanquerna URL and President of the Catalan Film Academy. She directed 9 feature film as "Elisa K", "15 hours" or "53 days of winter" and won the special Jury award of San Sebastián film festival, The Film National award in 2011 and others. PhD in Communication and Former Vice president of the Spanish film Academy.

Diana Adomaitienė

TV- and radio journalist and church communicator

Diana Adomaitienė (Lithuania) is a TV- and radio journalist and church communicator. A graduate of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (Film and TV direction), her professional career began at the local TV station “Kaunas plus TV”. Later, Diana was invited to join the national TV station LNK to present the daily morning live show, and then moved to present the prime-time evening programme. Since 2020, she has been the head of the Lithuanian Church Chronicle Foundation.


The International Jury will select the best programmes for Prizes from those in competition.

Jury Prize

  • Awarded by the International Jury, this prize will honour the film which has been judged best overall in competition.

Special Prizes and Commendations 

  • The Jury may, at their discretion, award a limited number of special prizes or commendations to other programmes of their choice.

Audience Prize

  • At the conclusion of the screenings, each member of the audience will be invited to vote for the best film. The vote will be by secret ballot.


The main venue of the festival will be the Babylon, a cinema rich in tradition in the bustling inner city of Berlin ( The guests of the festival will get together here for three days for screenings and exchange of ideas. Furthermore you are invited to evening receptions and to the final festive awarding ceremony at representative locations nearby.


Downtown Berlin there are many hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts and homestays. You can find the best for Your personal needs. We do recommend some Motel One – hotels close to the venue of the festival (Berlin-Hackescher Markt, Berlin-Alexanderplatz, Berlin-Spittelmarkt and Berlin-Main station) as well as other hotels in different categories. 

A Brief History of the Festival

“Religion is of such importance in people’s lives that it must continue to find a place on TV” (Peter Frey, the Chief Editor of ZDF, Berlin Festival 2010)

Some 50 years ago, what was then called the International Christian Television Week took place in in Monte Carlo from 24 February to 1 March 1969. It was the result of a joint initiative of the European regions of WACC (World Association for Christian Communication) and UNDA (International Catholic Association for Radio and Television). Since 2001 the collaboration has been between WACC and SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communication), the successor to UNDA.

The success of the first festival meant that it continued in a different European country every two years and, from 1986, every three years. Germany, and the Netherlands have both hosted the Festival three times; France and the UK twice. Other countries were Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Poland. Each event is a collaboration between a public broadcasting company or companies and WACC and SIGNIS.

In 1969, some 108 participants from 23 countries attended the Festival. The last few Festivals have each attracted up to 100 participants involved in religious broadcasting from around 20 different European countries.

Though the majority of programmes submitted have been documentaries, other genres have been screened too: drama, documentary, music, liturgy and worship, programmes for children and young people, reflections, interviews and magazines, and today programmes made for the internet.

Prize winning programmes have come from around 20 countries and the most successful broadcasters have been the Dutch company IKON, the BBC and the Irish broadcaster, RTE.

Though it began in an era when religious broadcasting was dominated by the Churches, the Festival has now become much broader. The topics covered have reflected changing interests and tastes of broadcasters and the viewing public. In recent years there has been an increasing focus on how people of diverse beliefs and views and can live and communicate with each other.

In 2014, in Hilversum, the winner of the documentary and audience prize was a co-production of Jewish Broadcasting and production company Beeld called Spot the Differences. The programme itself highlighted the relevance of the festival theme: ‘Behind the front door or in plain sight: religion in a pluralist society’. A similar theme underpinned the 2017 Paris Festival and the journey of exploration will continue in Berlin in 2023 under the title “Belief on Screen”.

Today the Festival it is still the only arena specifically dedicated to presenting and celebrating the best of European religious programmes on television and now, online. It fosters a pluralistic vision of broadcasting, that engages seriously with the beliefs and values shaping the world and the lives of their adherents. The 20th edition in Berlin 2023, will be a fitting tribute to the pioneering vision of Robert Geisendörfer of WACC, and Fr Jacques Schneuwly, the Secretary General of UNDA who co-founded the Festival half a century ago. 


The Festival is a joint effort of the European regions of the international associations SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communication) and WACC (World Association for Christian Communication).

The local organization of the 2023 Festival has been entrusted to the german church corporations EKD (Protestant church) and DBK (Catholic church). The general coordinator of the Festival in Berlin is Mr. Joachim Opahle. You‘ll get in contact to him by or by phone: +49 (0)172 38 85 782


This is to certify that I have registered my participation in the TV-festival Belief on Screen from 27 – 30 September 2023 in Berlin


  • Early bird (up to 28.February 2023): € 300 (incl. VAT)

  • Normal fee: € 350 (incl. VAT)


Payment should be made to the following bank account via electronic transfer:

Receiver: SIGNIS/WACC Festival
Account number: IBAN: DE 92 3706 0193 6003 5600 05

Please indicate in the reference/message field: “TV-festival/ Participant’s name”.