INTERFILM General Assembly 2022

Report by Karsten Visarius

On 8 October 2022, the INTERFILM General Assembly took place as an online meeting. 48 members were registered. They discussed the reports by President Julia Helmke, Jury Coordinator Dietmar Adler and Executive Director Karsten Visarius, who gave an account of the past three years since the General Assembly in Erlangen 2019. The focus was on the strains caused by the Corona pandemic, which forced the cancellation of several festivals or their switch to an online format and raises fears of a shift to film consumption via streaming portals in the long run. Another topic was the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, which is diametrically opposed to the foundations of INTERFILM because they are committed to international understanding about films as well as the promotion of intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

However, the euphoria at the relaunch of the festivals as local events, their continued interest in the work of ecumenical, interfaith or Protestant juries, as well as the growing interest in becoming a member of INTERFILM, signalled, according to the tenor of the assembly, that interest in the emotional, boundary-crossing, intellectual as well as spiritual experiences that films make possible is unbroken.

In the following elections, INTERFILM President Julia Helmke and the re-running board members Dietmar Adler (Germany), Christian Engels (Germany), Ingrid Glatz (Switzerland), Viktor Kókai-Nagy (Hungary), Philip Lee USA), Jolyon Mitchell (Great Britain) and Waltraud Verlaguet (France) were confirmed. Peter Ciaccio (Italy), Mia Lund Rao (Denmark), Johan Roeland (Netherlands) and Marie Starck (Sweden) were newly elected to the Board.

President Julia Helmke thanked the retiring board and presidium members Jes Nysten, Charlotte Wells, Joël Friso and Michele Lipori for their support and cooperation. They will remain closely associated with INTERFILM.

In its constituent meeting, the Board elected as members of the Executive Committee Ingrid Glatz, Viktor-Kókai-Nagy, Waltraud Verlaguet and Karsten Visarius, who will continue his work as Executive Director. Praxedis Bouwman (Netherlands), Jacques Champeaux (France), Juha Rajamäki (Finland), S. Brent Rodrigues-Plate (USA) and Sofia Sjö (Finland) were co-opted as further members of the Board.

As an outlook for 2023, Viktor Kókai-Nagy and Karsten Visarius reported on the preparations for the INTERFILM seminar in Budapest. It will take place in cooperation and with the support of the Károly Gáspár University of the Reformed Church of Hungary from 26-30 April 2023.