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Event Review

Schwarze Filmschaffende in Deutschland

The ninth event of Black History Month in Berlin promised to be one of the most exciting events of the series.  The organisation Schwarze Filmschaffende in Deutschland (SFD), which represents black film directors, screenwriters, actors and actresses in German cinema, planned a diverse program with the aim of entertaining and information the audience.

ICD Director and Founder Mark Donfried welcomed the guests in the packed auditorium and introduced the evening’s order of events. Mark then handed the stage over to Araba Walton and Carol Campbell, the two leading figures from the SFD, who presented for the rest of the evening.

To begin, a short film from English director John Seeley entitled ‘Berlin’ was shown. The picture portrayed iconic images of Berlin set to the narrator’s voice describing the city’s unique persona and cultural attributes. Following this, Araba Walton and Carol Campbell returned to the stage to discuss with the audience their work and the aims of the SFD. An organisation only a few years old, the group came together during the Berlinale where they took part in a discussion on how black people are presented in film. Now the SFD is involved in many different aspects of the industry from scriptwriting to directing and production.

Director Otu Tetteh, whose film ‘You Are Welcome’ was shown at the ICD’s previous film evening, then came on stage to talk about his work and being involved in the Berlinale. The presenters then invited Nancy Mac Granaky-Quaye onto the stage to speak about her award winning film ‘Beento’, which the guests had the opportunity to watch in the media lounge. Miss Mac Granaky Quaye also talked about her new ventures in documentary making, with a taster of ‘Real Life: Deutschland’, which follows around an amateur theatre group, being shown for the audience.

Following a film presentation from the SFD entitled ‘ The Actors Cut’, which cut together footage from a number of German language films with black actors, the first performance of the night took place. A scene from Sarah Schnier’s script for one of her current projects ‘Kriminalgericht’ (Criminal Court) was read through and performed for the audience.

Nancy Mac Granaky-Quaye was then welcomed back to the stage to read a section of her latest project, ‘The Most High’. This work, which is done in the form of a diary, discusses the boundaries between spirituality and insanity and is based on her own experiences with her Father, who lives in Ghana. Her poignant words offered the guests much fuel for thought and were even more so impressive given that Miss Mac Granaky Quaye is only just starting out in her career.

The penultimate component of the evening gave the guests the chance to hear another reading from one of Sarah Schnier’s scripts, this time entitled ‘Hitzewelle’. The evening then concluded with a wonderfully entertaining and funny performance of ‘Seelenküche’, which followed a quirky group of flatmates and their talking radio. The show, which had the guests laughing, clapping, and even whistling, all the way through also gave one lucky audience member the chance to participate on stage.

The night didn’t end here though. Two more short films were shown in the lobby, one by Miss Mac Granaky-Quaye, and one by Otu Tetteh, giving the public even more to talk about and enjoy. The night was then brought to a close by the talented DJ Loganic, who turned the foyer into a relaxed lounge and dance venue, which offered something for everyone and let the general public rub shoulders with the host of well known actors, actresses, writers and directors who attended.