Film directors from Asia fared well at the 26th International Catholic Film Festival award ceremony held June 4 at Niepokalanow, near Warsaw.
The president of Signis Japan, Professor Shigeki Chiba opened the awards haul, receiving the prestigious “Multimedia at the Service of the Gospel Award.” There were two prizes in this category “for outstanding achievements in the area of evangelization through multimedia.”
Chiba, veteran director of 12 award-winning films including historical films on Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, St. Maxmilian Kolbe, and Blessed John Paul got the overseas award for promoting evangelization through media and producing films based on Christian spirituality.
The national award in the same category went to Salesian Father Roman Szpakowski, president of the Catholic Editors Association of Poland, and Founder organizer of the annual Catholic Editors Fair at the Royal Castle of Warsaw.
This is the seventh year of the award dedicated to Julian Kulenty (1922-2000), Polish film director, cameraman and author of more than 100 films, as well as president of the Warsaw branch of the Polish Association of Scientific Film.
The only first prize an Indian film won in any category was a 25-minute Don Bosco flash film by director of DB Image Kochi, Father Jiji Kalavanal. He won the first prize, a statuette and a certificate.
Other films by Asian directors that received special jury mention in various categories included a documentary entitled “Pool of Siloam” (25 minutes) by Indian director Father Biju Michael SDB from Israel.
Other films receiving a jury mention were a 10 minute documentary from Indonesia entitled “Harikartini” by Budiyanto, and “The Boy Who Stood Up” from Nairobi, Kenya, by Indian Salesian Father Sebastian Koladiyil.
Chiba is scheduled to meet with the president of the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications, Archbsihop Celli, and screen the films in the Vatican, June 7 and at the Salesian University Rome, June 8.
Special screenings of his two epic films “Auschwitz – A Miracle of Love”,produced in 1981, are being arranged to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian Maria this year. “Living with Mother Teresa”, produced to commemorate Blessed Teresa of Kolkata’s 100th birthday last year, is also being screened to honour the veteran film director.