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Director Hind Shoufani Syria, Lebanon, Palestine 2015

120 min., OV with English subs

The screening is followed by a talk with Nahed Awwad

Trip along Exodus

Trip Along Exodus explores the last 70 years of Palestinian politics as seen through the prism of the life of the filmmaker’s father, Dr. Elias Shoufani. The leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and leftist academic was for 20 years one of the opposition leaders to Arafat within the Fatah Party. Hind Shoufani, living in the diaspora, is tracing the dignity, the free spirit and the resistance in the story of her father, revealing unknown sides of the Palestinian history.

Nahed Awwad is an Palestinian independent filmmaker who has been working in film and television since 1997. She has released eight documentary films ranging from experimental, short and feature length. 

Director Mais Darwaza Palestine/ Germany/Jordan/Qatar 2013

80 min., OV with English subs

The screening is followed by a talk with Refqa Abu-Remaileh

My Love Awaits Me by the Sea

A poetic documentary of the director’s first trip back to her homeland, Palestine. She leaves a secluded reality and meets a lover, Hassan, a Palestinian artist, who helps her to discover a beautiful and utopian world. Fairytales and reality are woven together to ask questions about elusive places and the need to believe in dreams. An intimate and poetic personal film about diaspora, homeland, love and the sea.

Refqa Abu-Remaileh is an Assistant Professor at the Arabic Department of the Freie Universität Berlin. She is also the Director of the 5-year European Research Council funded project PalREAD “Country of Words: Reading and Reception of Palestinian Literature from 1948 to the Present."

OV with English subs

The screening is followed by a talk with Jozef Miker

SO DIKHEA? SHORTS

The film series SO DIKHEA? WHAT DO YOU SEE? begins with a short film-journey across Europe: The feature film MULO (Linda McDonald Cairns, UK 2018, 27 min.) shows the struggle for survival of  Romani from Romania and Bulgaria, who live under the London highways. In the documentary SEARCHING FOR THE TRAVELLING PEOPLE (Rich Matthews, UK 2017, 33 min.), the author Damian James Le Bas, who created the first BBC radio programme about the Romani people in 1964, visits British Romani people and travellers. JOŽKA (Hamze Bytyçi, CZ/DE 2016, 26 min.) is a film portrait of Romani activist Jozef Miker who fights for the remembrance of Romani Holocaust victims in the Czech Republic.

Jozef Miker was born in the Eastern Slovakian town of Sobrance in 1965. He worked for over 30 years in the mining industry, until he was forced to quit due to health problems. He has been an activist against racism and right wing extremism for more than twenty years. He fought against the closure of a pig farm, which stood on the site of the former Roma concentration camp Lety.

Germany 1964-1980

OV

The screening is followed by a talk with Dr. Massimo Perinelli

Schlager einer kleinen Stadt (Small Town Evergreens)

A 60-minute compilation from GDR television and the DEFA Newsreel “Der Augenzeuge” (“The Eyewitness”), in which contract work appears as a gift from the GDR to socialist “brotherlands”. A euphemistic, often paternalistic gaze upon the “guests”, which reveals much about the self-representation of the GDR, but little about the realities of the migrants’ lives. By spanning the period from 1964-1980, the program demonstrates how the language and context of GDR-Internationalism was constantly changing.

Dr. Massimo Perinelli is a historian and works at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. He is a member of Kanak Attak, co-founder of the initiative "Keupstraße is everywhere" and co-founded the Tribunal "Dissolve NSU Complex". He has published on gender and sexuality, as well as on racism and migrant struggles.

Director Gitta Nickel GDR 1974, DEFA-Studio for Short Films, commissioned by GDR Television, First broadcast: Feb, 25th, 1975

52 Min., OV

The screening is followed by a talk with Urmilla Goel

... and tomorrow the Poles will come

A group of Polish contract workers in a chicken-meat processing factory in Storkow. The main protagonist is the German forewoman Christa, a confident socialist and feminist, who believes in Internationalism and views contract labor as part of Germany’s compensation to Poland. While the film in no way betrays Christa’s idealism, the violence of the circumstances comes to light in conversations with the Polish women and through the casual cruelty of the slaughterhouse, which is documented in passing.

 

Urmilla Goel is a guest professor at the Institute for European Ethnology at Humboldtuniversität Berlin and is researching topics of migration, migration to the GDR, racism, gender and sexuality as well as the power relations intertwined with it.

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By Amal Ramsis

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Arab Woman Filmmakers: A Manifold Gaze

The rich cinematic culture of the Arab world has a long history of established women filmmakers. However, the Western patriarchal discourse continues to construct Arab women by placing them in the role of the victim, where their voices are valued only if they come from this stereotyped perspective. Amal Ramsis, founder and curator of the Cairo International Women's Film Festival, has gathered a selection of documentaries and feature films from Arab women filmmakers to challenge the long-held narratives rooted in the orientalist Western gaze about the Arab world and to showcase the works of great filmmakers that have always remained underrepresented in Berlin’s cinemas. 

The film series ARAB WOMEN FILMMAKERS: A Manifold Gaze features a wide range of films from Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, opening up a thematic spectrum from revolution and civil wars to love and identity. The eurocentric expectation – which also widely determines the international film market – that women filmmakers in the Arab world only deal with women's rights, is therefore not fulfilled. Making films in the turbulent world of today is instead perceived as a provoking debate, a reflection, an inspiration towards a better future, a way to critically deal with the past and historical memory.

Amal Ramsis is a filmmaker and founder of the Cairo International Women's Film Festival and the Between Women Filmmakers Caravan. Moreover, in the One-Minute workshop programme she teaches women the basics of cinematography and film directing. Her short films and documentaries have been awarded numerous international prices.

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SO DIKHEA? WHAT DO YOU SEE?

Cinematic perspectives by Romani people from Europe

By Hamze Bytyçi

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SO DIKHEA? WHAT DO YOU SEE?

What is cliche and what is reality when it comes to the Romani people? Can films about Romani people do without stereotypes? The film series SO DIKHEA? WHAT DO YOU SEE? deals with the consequences of the images and narratives which have been created about, and not with Romani people over centuries. For a thousand years the Romani people have been part of Europe and have shaped its cultures and societies; and yet, they are still perceived as foreign and not belonging. Antiziganism makes us blind to the multi-faceted, complex reality: the reasons for the emigration of the Romani people from the Balkan countries are often disregarded, the importance of labour migration for an aging society is being ignored. In order to change this, the film series SO DIKHEA? WHAT DO YOU SEE? invites for a closer look and discussion. 

RomaTrial e.V. is a transcultural self-organised Berliner-Romani group which coordinates the Roma-Filmfestival AKE DIKHEA? once a year, with the goal of bringing the complex problems of Antiziganism into the public consciousness. AKE DIKHEA? – in Romani, NA SIEHST DU? – shows films with and by Rom*nja, Sinti*zzi and other people with Romno background. The festival will take place in Berlin for the third time, between the 5th – 9th December 2019. 

Hamze Bytyçi lives and works in Berlin. In 2012, he founded the association RomaTrial, in 2013 he was founding member of the International Romani Film Commission. In 2017, he has initiated the Festival of Romani Film AKE DIKHEA?, which he directs since then. In 2018, he was co-curator of the 1st Roma Biennale COME OUT NOW!

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TEMPORARY FRIENDSHIPS

Contract Labor and Internationalism in the GDR

By Tobias Hering and Sun-ju Choi

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TEMPORARY FRIENDSHIPS

The fact that Germany hadn’t necessarily developed into a more free and open society in the years following reunification was realized in particular by the estimated 160,000 migrant workers living in the GDR at the time. From the beginning of the 1950’s, workers and students had already been coming into the GDR on the basis of treaties in the name of “socialist friendship” and had contributed to the wealth of society. Although the GDR was hardly the paradise that it purported to be, many of those from Vietnam, Mozambique, Chile, Algeria, Korea and other countries did manage to settle in the GDR – or at least to find temporary arrangements. The verbal and physical violence, which accompanied the hasty removal of their rights post-1989, briefly highlighted their presence, though it was immediately stigmatised under the heading “foreigner problem”. But racist violence and exclusion did not appear first in 1989, it had already been an everyday experience of many people in the GDR. Just as seldomly was it admitted that vows for “international solidarity” – alongside the often opportunist motives behind them – were taken at face value by many, and that the “internationalist” foreign policy of the GDR did offer real opportunities to East Germans and foreigners alike.

On the one hand, the program seeks to reconstruct the public perception of migrants from the Archives of DEFA and GDR Television and, in doing so, to discover at least traces of reality which exist beyond the ideologically standardised patterns. On the other hand, the program will give space and time for current artistic and activist stances, which deal with the topics from the perspective of the second generation of today.

Funded by Berliner Landeszentrale für politische Bildung.

Sun-ju Choi is a founding member of korientation e.V. – Network for Asian-German Perspectives, and a board member of ndo (New German Organisations). Together with Heike Berner she published the narrative volume At Home - Narratives from Korean-German Women (2006). Since 2007 she has been leading the Asian Film Festival, Berlin, together with Kimiko Suda. Her dissertation, Vater Staat und Mutter Partei: Concepts of Family and their Representation in North Korean Film was published in 2017.

Tobias Hering is a freelance Film Curator and Journalist. Besides other projects, he is currently responsible for the archive project re-selected at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. Migration and interculturality have been recurring topics in his work, most recently in the film series In German Society: Passage-Works by Foreign Filmmakers 1962-1992 (Zeughaus Cinema Berlin, 2017, co-curated by Tilman Baumgärtel), a retrospective of films, which showcased non-german filmmakers in the FRG and the GDR. 

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Das Morgen im Jetzt

bi'bak @ Hansabibliothek

By Florian Wüst

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Das Morgen im Jetzt

After 1945, one of the major challenges of Germany's reconstruction was the creation of living space. The general principles of pre-war modernism, which were based off of efficient new construction methods, provided a blueprint for the “city of tomorrow”, a radical departure from the old industrial city with its tenements, dark courtyards and narrow streets. The modernisation of the “urban body” has been described as a healing process which requires authority and guidance from above. By the mid-1960’s, however, the revolution against the so-called “Kahlschlagsanierung”, a process carried out en masse, begun. The relationship between participation and intransparent planning processes, between expensive new construction and affordable pre-existing housing remains contested today more than ever before. Against this background, the two-part film series Das Morgen im Jetzt presents a selection of historical and contemporary short films which primarily use artistic means to examine the reality of the modern city, as well as exemplary approaches to alternative models of architecture and living.

Florian Wüst is an independent film curator, artist, and publisher based in Berlin. He co-founded the Berlin Journals—On the History and Present State of the City. Since 2016 he works as film and video curator of transmediale.

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BITTER THINGS | Frankfurt

Narratives and Memories of Transnational Families

By Can Sungu and Malve Lippmann

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BITTER THINGS | Frankfurt

BITTER THINGS – Narratives and Memories of Transnational Families is a research-based exhibition project by bi’bak that explores the impact of labor migration on the notion of motherhood and family from the perspectives of women migrant workers and children left behind. The installation takes experiences of transnational families from both past and present as a point of departure and brings narratives together with objects, which play a central role within the families.

Labor migration is worldwide creating new models of the transnational family, which despite geographical distances strives to maintain contact between the separated family members. In the time of the recruitment agreements in the 1960s, many parents were forced to leave their children behind since working hours were too demanding to make childcare on the side possible. Today it is predominantly migrant workers from Eastern Europe, who have to leave their families to earn a living in wealthier countries. Turkey, as a former country of emigration, has in turn become a destination for many workers, especially in the care sector, from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus or the Central Asian region.

But, how is the relationship between parents and children to be redefined whenever gifts and material support take the place of shared experience? When physical closeness has to take second place to communication programs like Skype and WhatsApp? How does this changing family landscape impact children and their parents? BITTER THINGS retraces positions on this topic from the 1960s right up to present day perspectives.

Besides the exhibitions a side program with films, lectures and discussions has been curated by bi’bak. Moreover a publication with academic and literary contributions, interviews, songs and photos examining the topic from interdisciplinary perspectives has been released. Order your copy . A booklet with selected texts in German and photographs of the exhibition can be downloaded here.

Concept and Artistic Direction: Malve Lippmann, Can Sungu
Exhibition Design: Malve Lippmann
Editing, Research: Maike Suhr
Project Assistants: Zeynep Dişbudak, Esra Akkaya, Duygu Atçeken, Megan Black
Communication Coordinator: Selim Özadar
Graphic Design: Jan Grygoriew

A project by bi’bak in cooperation with Historisches Museum Frankfurt.

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Please rewind

German-Turkish Film and Video Culture in Berlin

By Can Sungu

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Please rewind

Berlin is home to a large German-Turkish community which is today an integral part of the city’s cultural life. Over the years, this community has established a Turkish film culture in Berlin. Starting with screenings of Turkish films in Berlin cinemas, the Turkish-language video conquered the market in the 1980s as a welcome alternative to exclusively German TV channels. The numerous video stores which offered these films played a key role, along with the ‘Turkish Bazaar’ at the metro station station Bülowstraße. Video sessions with neighbours and friends became important social events in family life. In addition to the vast range of Yeşilçam productions, with its comedies, action films and melodramas, Turkish films which were produced in Germany also became popular, specifically those that dealt with migration experiences, alienation from the region of origin or country of origin, identity, religion and family. These films and their aesthetics have shaped a whole generation of recognized German filmmakers, such as Thomas Arslan, Fatih Akin, Ayse Polat, and many others. Thus far, the history of this migrant film culture originating in Germany has not received enough attention; indeed, it is almost completely absent in discourses on post-migrant films. This film culture and the associated places, actors and transnational narratives are an important testimony of German film and German cultural history and must therefore be remembered and acknowledged. With this publication, bi'bak embarks on a rediscovery of German-Turkish film and video culture in Berlin.

Curated by Can Sungu. Contributions by Ömer Alkin, Cem Kaya and others. 

Funded by the Förderung zeitgeschichtlicher und erinnerungskultureller Projekte of Berliner Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.

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