First Ecumenical Jury in Cluj awards Dutch film

Report by jury member Piet Halma
Zomervacht (Summer Brother, Joren Molder)

Zomervacht (Summer Brother, Joren Molter)

(Cluj) The Dutch feature film Zomervacht (Summer Brother) won many prizes last Saturday at the 23rd Transilvania International Film Festival in Cluj in Romania. In this film directed by Joren Molter the main characters are two brothers, one of whom is physically and mentally disabled. The brothers, Brian (Jane Heylen) and handicapped Lucien (Joël in t’Held) rely heavily on each other during a summer holiday. After initial resistance, a close bond develops between them. The official jury especially praised the natural play between the two young actors.

While all the attention in Europe is focused on major festivals such as Cannes, Venice and Berlin, the Transilvania International Film Festival has developed into a professional festival that can compete with others. This year, the organization had invited an Ecumenical jury for the first time, with representatives of the church film and media organizations, INTERFILM and SIGNIS, with a church or philosophical background. Among them Piet Halma, film critic at the Friesch Dagblad.

The jury also awarded Zomervacht with the top prize, as did the visitors of the festival. In addition to the high artistic quality, the Ecumenical Jury especially appreciated that themes such as hope, love and care for others predominate. The other is always among us, according to the Ecumenical Jury. Director Joren Molter emphasized that people with disabilities can play themselves without asking actors.

Most Romanians (more than 80 percent) belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church. In addition, approximately 15 percent of the population consists of Catholics, Protestants and followers of other Christian faith communities, such as Pentecostal churches. According to the Romanian Adriana Răcășan, Chair of the SIGNIS Cinema and Television desk who initiated the ecumenical jury in Cluj, the connection between traditional churches and contemporary culture needs to be improved. She is convinced that film can play an important role in conversations about what it means to be part of a global ecumenical movement.

First published in Friesch Dagblad June 24th, 2024