Approval Guidelines for Films and Photos

The archdiocese of Munich and Freising supports journalists and film makers by approving, if possible, film shootings inside church buildings and on church grounds. However, restrictions apply particularly to churches, chapels and graveyards.
Due to consecration, Catholic churches and chapels are deemed sacred spaces for services, prayers and personal meditation. Graveyards, too, serve mainly for praying and commemorating the departed. The dignity of these places must be protected during the shootings and disruptions must be avoided to the largest extent possible. Catholic beliefs must not be caricatured, and views clearly differing from Catholic beliefs must not be presented; defamatory and insulting statements, particularly during interviews, are strictly forbidden. It is not allowed to use churches and chapels for mere setting purposes, e.g. for interviews or scenes not related to the church.
Producers must pay compensation for damage caused by the shooting and purchase customary business liability insurance for this. Any costs, including supervision, electricity and cleaning costs, must be borne by the producers. The owner of domestic authority, generally the priest of the relevant parish, has a right to request a shooting fee, particularly in the case of fictional films.
A shooting approval is always granted by the owner of domestic authority; however, approvals require a review of the contents and the consent of the Archiepiscopal Ordinariate. The written approval is issued by the Press Centre, which also provides consultancy services relating to the shooting. Shootings exclusively used for private purposes require no such approval, but these Guidelines apply accordingly.
Journalists and film makers are requested to contact the Press Centre by email at as early as possible and to concisely and precisely describe their intentions. This description should include the customer’s name, the title, a short summary, the envisaged place and time of the shooting and the contact data. The script and/or a detailed concept must be provided for fictional films and documentaries, respectively.
The following rules apply:
1. Editorial films
Approvals are generally granted for shootings related to journalistic reports. In exceptional cases, approvals may be denied, e.g. in the case of private events, due to suspicions of dubious reports or for reasons of privacy.
2. Documentaries
The approval is generally granted for documentaries. In exceptional cases, approvals may be denied, e.g. in the case of suspicions of dubious reports, for reasons of privacy or in cases where the concept is deemed generally inadequate. Rules applicable to fictional films also apply to re-enactments for documentaries.
3. Fictional films
Approval for shootings related to fictional films are generally granted if they show scenes typical of the relevant place, that is, a wedding, a personal prayer or pastoral talks inside a church. We will check the script as a whole. An approval may be denied if scenes related to Catholic beliefs are unrealistic or present stereotypes, if the scenes or entire film are a satire, if individuals might be identified, if the concept is generally inadequate or if the project is ethically dubious. For church locations such as parish centres, re-interpretation as another building may be admissible, whereby the script of the film must be submitted in each case.
4. Tourist films
The approval is generally granted for shootings related to tourist films presenting travel destinations.
5. Commercials
Shootings for commercials are generally prohibited. In exceptional cases, approvals may be granted, e.g. for shootings from spires, shootings at free spaces or for references to products used or works performed at church premises. Approvals may also be granted for image films for municipalities, charity projects or projects for the Catholic Church.
6. Photos
These Guidelines apply to photos accordingly. If the photos are to be used for purposes related to art, e.g. for art guides, illustrated books or exhibitions, the approval of the Archiepiscopal Ordinariate is granted by the “Arts” Central Department available by email at