Starting in 1969, the European Television Festival of Religious Programmes has taken place every three years in a European city and showcases broadcast programmes that engage with the challenges and complexities of faith and ethics in today’s world.
The festival is organised by WACC Europe in conjunction with the European section of SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communication), but the festival welcomes television programmes that come from producers of any faith or none that deal with issues of ethics and faith.
The 2017 WACC-SIGNIS European Television Festival of Religious Programmes took place in Paris in June 2017– the 19th such festival since the first was held in Monte Carlo in 1969.
The winner at the Paris festival was a television film produced for the Dutch KRO-NCRV network dealing with how eight Dutch monks remaining in a monastery originally built for 120 decided to move to Schiermonnikoog, an island in the north of the Netherlands. The winner at the previous festival held in Hilversum, Netherlands, in 2014, came from Joodse Omroep, (Jewish Broadcaster), receiving both the first prize and the audience prize.
The Festival also aims to encourage networking and co-production, particularly between European producers and broadcasters, and topromote the development of innovative and popular religious broadcasting.
The TV festival was initiated, among others, by Robert Geisendörfer, a co-founder of the World Association for Christian Communication and was the director of the Evangelischer Presseverband für Bayern and later the Gemeinschaftswerk der Evangelischen Publizistik, the German Protestant media association. He saw the need for ecumenical co-operation among religious television broadcasters, who had, he believed, the expertise to mount an international TV festival of equal quality to the secular TV festivals.