Migration, Flight… and Far More!
14km Film and Discussion Series - Looking Back on 2015
You can easily quantify the resounding success the 14km Film and Discussion Series had in 2015: we counted a total of 381 persons in our audiences, particulary encouraging was the increase in the share of people with personal migration background up to 23% (previous year 16%). The 14km Film Team was six times as large as in 2014, consisting of six volunteers. The maximum available budget (2,200 Euro) was around three times higher than in the year before. And, particularly striking: the number of events climbing by 100 % up to 8 full evening events – they lately took place in a short three weeks rhythm.
The quality has been improved, too! This was due to our dedicated team, representing Europe and Northern Africa instead of Germany only. Composed by members originally from Germany, Tunisia and Spain we could hence formally live up to our slogan 14km – The shortest distance between North Africa and Europe. and include our inner diversity to our substantive work. Consequently “14km” became the heart of our series title, to point at perspectives of both parts of the Mediterranian to be equal parts of our Films and Discussions. We deliberately improved the film quality: in addition to indiependant documentary films we also screened more professionally made productions as well as feature movies for the first time, if they were suitable for the subsequent political debate. In the selection of topics, we considered previously not represented countries (Yemen, Sudan, Western Sahara) and devoted ourselves also to important transnational issues (Amazigh, children, migration, pop music, women’s rights).
Already in the beginning of the year 2015 the region of Northern Africa and the Middle East stood in the spotlights of great general interest. This focus’es boost to extremes during the year proofs the high relevance and importance of our work. You can easily name Children in War and on Flight one of the most important European media topics of the year. We gave this issue a special focus, screening the cineastic dilicacy Turtles Can Fly: the film takes place at the beginning of US attacks on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003 and displays the suffering of children in refugee camps. On one hand, those events happened at the beginning of a series of events unfolding huge impact on today’s situation in Iraq and in Syria (reasons for the awakening of the “IS”). On the other hand, there recently shines some hope for a stable political system, especially in the Kurdish region in Northern Iraq, were the film was shot.
Refugee camps also appeared to be part of our evening on Migration to Europe, the next central media issue of the year. The ever-increasing flow of refugees from Syria kept the entire European Union in suspense. With the movie 14 Kilometers we put our contrasting focus on the western part of the Mediterranian Sea and dealt with a second natural divide whose characteristics (refugee camps, traffickers, death) are the same: the sand seas of the Sahara deserts. With this, the second unstable country was discussed: Libya. Various motives for flight and migration became clear: lack of economic opportunities and individual fate. These are motives that go far beyond war and terror, and are highly topical in the European debates about immigration and crime in the beginning of 2016.
For our series, we set ourselves the goal to communicate a wide range of informations, impressions and opinions within the single discussions and to do so also by a rich variety of event’s topics. North Africa and the Middle East consist of far more than the well known crisises in Syria and Libya. Elsewere in this region there is war, terror and flight, too. Somewhat less in the European focus is Yemen, were currently a Shiite-Sunnite war takes place, a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. We apporached the culture and sociey of Yemen by the provocative viewpoint of an egocentric European adventurer in the film Expedition Yemen, and we intensiveley discussed stereotypes, cultural and societal questions and especially the role of women in Yemen.
Other crisis spots are currently all but forgotten in Europe. The Darfur conflict in Sudan has hardly lost strength and sees no realistic solution approaching, as the lesson of our event told us, which included the screening of Darfur’s Skeleton. The discussion between Sudanese’ in the audience included vivid accounts, particularly a young men asking with tears in his eyes how he should rebuild the country, if no one dares to leave the houses due to people were arbritarily shot on a daily basis. This local drama barely finds attention since foreign reportings were effectively prevented.
Little European attention is paid to another conflict: the independence movement of Western Sahara against Morocco. This conflict has been very peaceful, also testified by the documentary Life is Waiting. Nowadays activistists discuss out of their failure and frustation to be more militant, in order to eliminate their status as the “last colony of Africa”.
Three other very interesting topics had curtural and societaly backgrounds. Our evening about Amazigh (Berber) refered to the region of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya. The focus of the film Azul was on the life of this indigenious minority in Tunisia, while the discussion concentrated on Morocco. It raises the question how to deal with this cultural heritage of ancestors: with new pride, or at least with shame?
The two discussions following the yet unmentioned films were build up around the everyday culture in Northern Africa. The Source is set in the Amazigh’ region. We discussed the situation of women’s rights in North Africa in terms of tradition and modernity, questions of power, freedom and emancipation – and sexuality. Thus we approached in a sense the source of life!
We already started to discuss these issues of women and men, provoking openness and cultural induced shame, during our event on Mahragan (festival music) in Egypt, within the broader topic of political pop music. The film Electro Chaabi led to the portrait of young (male) musicians in Cairo. As usual, we concluded our meeting with a comprehensive online report which also resumed additional information from the audience. In this case: two rare examples of Electro Chaabi made by female musicians.
Our warmest thank you goes firstly to our loyal and engaged audience, whose active participation provide the spice to our event series. We thank the Landesstelle für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit (LEZ – Office of Development Corporation) – Federal State administration of Berlin, department for economy, technology and research – for their budgetary funds which made us realise our 14km Film and Discussion Series, and Mr. Walter Hättig and The North-South Bridges Foundation for the related and helpful support.
Another thank you deserves the Filmrauschpalast volunteer team, which housed us on all eight evenings and made projections in digital and analogue (35mm) format possible on their cinema screen. On this occasion, we also thank the screening right distributors for the films shown.
We like to take the opportunity to express gratefulness again to our invited guests, because without their inputs and contributions as experts (speakers) or witnesses, our public debates would not have been credible and authentic.
My heartful thanks – last but not least – goes to my 14km Film Team. Carolin Bannorth, Silvia Limiñana, Khouloud Khalfallah, Houssein Ben Amor and Steffen Benzler – your cooperation made our dedicated project very interesting and succesful! In the name of the whole film team I express final thanks for the additional support of Susanne Kappe, Alex Odlum, Sarah Müller, Jana Vietze, Caroline Bunge and Helena Burgrova.
Berlin, January 2016
Andreas Fricke (Project Manager)
|“14 km e.V. war ein wichtiger Weichensteller”||Twittern für nachhaltige Entwicklung|
|“14 km e.V. war ein wichtiger Weichensteller”|
|Twittern für nachhaltige Entwicklung|