Jump directly to the page contents

Two panels and one lecture will be accessible via livestream from our website. Another lecture and the interactive closing discussion will take the shape of a zoom-meeting, so registration is required. Access to all events is free.

Creating spaces, sharing spaces

June 16, 7:30 pm

The cultural sector in Western European countries likes to think of itself as open, progressive and international. But discrimination is part of everyday life here as well, neither stopping at the barriers blocking off a film set nor at the doors of the rehearsal spaces of prestigious theatres. Diversity officers are often no more than fig leaves. What does this mean for cultural workers of colour? What alternative approaches are they developing? And how can cultural spaces and institutions be transformed so that they more accurately reflect the heterogeneity of society?

A panel in English with Jemma Desai and Olivier Marboeuf, moderated by Katarina Hedrén

A self-determined and ongoing process of intervention

June 17, 8 pm

The contributions to “Fiktionsbescheinigung. 16 Cinematic Perspectives on Germany” function as suggestions for how to counter the white German gaze with diverse, intersectional perspectives. All of the films have one thing in common: their own visual and textual practice of testimony from within, not from the margins. The curators explain their motivations and ask how aesthetic and social strategies can engage with each other.

A panel in English with Karina Griffith, Jacqueline Nsiah, Biene Pilavci, Enoka Ayemba and Can Sungu, moderated by Matthias Dell

Double Agency: Fraught positions in postcolonial film analysis

June 18, 7:30 pm

Analytical film practices help to shed light on the problematic legacy of Western images in their colonialist gaze towards peoples and cultures. How is it then that these practices themselves warrant decolonization? What affordances and dilemmas do these tools present filmmakers and media practitioners of colour in examining their own relationship to colonialist media practices? These questions are considered through examining three cases that represent different strategies: reenactment, recutting, and reframing.

A lecture in English with Kevin B. Lee

Film as empowerment: “Dancing Alone”

June 19, 3 pm

In “Dancing Alone,” director Biene Pilavci closes in on her own family and the experiences of violence and dysfunction that shaped her childhood. In her lecture she asks how the film came to be an instrument of empowerment, as well as offering guidance for how to talk to the subjects when making a documentary, on camera and editing economy, dramaturgy and communication in front of and behind the camera. She also reflects on the filmmaker’s relationship with the audience, who were often disturbed and felt helpless upon viewing her film. 

A lecture in English with Biene Pilavci

Registration required via registration_lecture@arsenal-berlin.de until June 16.

Strategies and prospects

June 19, 8 pm

What should an actor do if they are offered a role that reproduces stereotypes? How can films by Romani directors achieve greater visibility? How can cinema portray the experience of having to flee one’s home country? What connections exist between German-Turkish and Turkish cinema? These are just some of the questions that will be asked in this discussion. Eight actors, festival organisers, filmmakers and scholars talk about their professional practices, strategies and insights and invite participants into breakout rooms to share their experiences and debate their positions.

Interactive Zoom discussion with Ömer Alkin, Thelma Buabeng, Hamze Bytyçi, Sun-ju Choi, Djamila Grandits, Sheri Hagen, Mateja Meded and Lima Sayed in English and German, with sign language interpretation, hosted by Benita Sarah Bailey

Registration required via registration_big_conversation@arsenal-berlin.de until June 18.


Ömer Alkin holds a doctorate in Media and Cultural Studies. A filmmaker, he currently directs the research project “The Aesthetics of Occidentalism,” which is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) at Philipps University in Marburg. He has published widely on (post-)migration cinema. Other research areas include cultural education, global identity politics and occidentalism, Islam in migration cinema, postcolonial theory, and post-migration. His website is https://www.oemeralkin.de.

Sheri Hagen is a German director and actress from Berlin. She has worked in numerous productions in film, television, and theatre. Her debut as screenwriter and director was the short film STELLA AND THE STORKS (2007). In 2010 her first feature film, AT SECOND GLANCE, was released. In 2015, Hagen founded the production company Equality Film GmbH, which focuses on telling exceptional stories that represent a complex and diverse society. In her second feature, WINDOW BLUE (2016), Hagen adapted the play “Birthmarks Window Blue” by Sasha Marianna Salzmann. She is currently working on two feature films, BILLIE and MOTHERHOOD.

Hamze Bytyçi, born in Prizren, Kosovo, is an educator in media and theatre studies, as well as a director and performer. In 2012 he participated in the formation of the International Romani Film Commission, which supports people with Roma identity working in film. In 2017, he founded the Roma film festival AKE DIKHEA?, which now takes place annually in Berlin under his direction. He is the chairman of RomaTrial e.V., an association active in arts and culture, youth and education (including the film summer school Balkan Onions, among others), as well as politics and activism.

Lima Sayed studied at the University of Hamburg and the University of California, Riverside, and earned her doctorate in American Studies. In 2019 her book White Heroes in Film: The “White Saviour Complex,” Racism, and Whiteness in American Cinema of the 2000s was published. As speaker, coach, and trainer, she works on separating racism from shame, and on making racism easier to understand and speak about.

Sun-Ju Choi studied literature at the University of Cologne and screenwriting at the German Film and Television Academy (DFFB) in Berlin. Her dissertation, Father State and Mother Party: Concepts and Representation of Family in North Korean Film, appeared with Judicium Press. She is acting director of New German Media Makers, board member of New German Organizations e.V. and chairwoman of korientation e.V., a network for Asian-German perspectives. Since 2007 she has co-directed, with Kimiko Suda, the Asian Film Festival Berlin.          

Actress Thelma Buabeng grew up in the Rhineland. In the comedy web series Tell Me Nothing from the Horse, she plays characters that subvert racist clichés and prejudices. She had roles in Katharina Wackernagel’s directorial debut When Dreams Learn to Fly, in Burhan Qurbani’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, and in Karoline Herfurth’s Very Beautiful(Wunderschön). Since 2019, she has been engaged at the Schauspielhaus in Zurich, and in the ZDF science show Dandelion, she plays the journalist Marla. In 2021, for the network Arte, she presented the concert series Open Stage Berlin—The Daily Doris. Since February she has been co-host, along with Hadnet Tesfai and Natasha Kimberly, of the weekly SWR talk show Five Souls.

Mateja Meded studied at the Film University Konrad Wolf. She works as an actress, author, and filmmaker.

Benita Bailey is an actress and filmmaker. She is part of the Afro-German artists’ collective Label Noir and an administrator of the Black Film Professionals Community. She studied acting in Berlin and International Relations and African Studies at the University of Leipzig and in Hong Kong. She works internationally in theatre, film, and television. Currently she is working on her first full-length film and on the development of a play in the context of a residency at HAU Berlin and Arts Interculturels in Montreal. In addition, since 2020 she has been producing her own programme #yellit on IGTV & YT, in which she presents Black artists. The new Label Noir theatre-film Emmett Till: Deep in my Heart, in cooperation with HAU Berlin, has just gone into production. Benita lives with her family in Berlin and Toronto.

Djamila Grandits is a Vienna based curator, programmer and cultural worker. As part of CineCollective she is responsible fo the artistic direction and management of Kaleidoskop Film und Freiluft. She has been part of the selection committees of DOK Leipzig, Kasseler Dokfest, frameout - digital summer screenings & tricky women | tricky realities. She works as a moderator and host of various panels, events and interviews and cares about the intersections and deconstruction of theoretical concepts, artistic-, political- and activist forms.              

Kevin B. Lee is a filmmaker, media artist, and critic. Through Bottled Songs, his collaborative project with Chloé Galibert-Laîné, he was awarded the 2018 Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Grant, the 2018 European Media Artist Platform Residency, and the 2019 Eurimages Lab Project Award at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. In 2020 he co-curated the Black Lives Matter Video Essay Playlist with Will DiGravio and Cydnii Wilde Harris. He is Professor of Crossmedia Publishing at Merz Akademie, Stuttgart, where he is co-director of the Masters Program in Artistic Research.

Olivier Marboeuf is a writer, storyteller and curator. He founded the independent art centre Espace Khiasma (www.khiasma.net), which he has been running from 2004 to 2018 in Les Lilas, on the outskirts of Paris. At Khiasma, he has developed a programme addressing minority representations through exhibitions, screenings, debates, performances and collaborative projects. Interested in the different modalities of transmission of knowledge, Olivier Marboeuf imagines permanent or ephemeral structures based on conversations and speculative narratives. He is currently film producer at Spectre productions (www.spectre-productions.com). Read his recent texts on his blog : Toujours Debout (www.olivier-marboeuf.com)

Jemma Desai is based in London. Her practice engages with film programming through research, writing, performance, as well as informally organised settings for deep study, and her work experience spans distribution, cinema exhibition and festival programming. Her most recent body of work is "This work isn't for Us" which draws attention to the human cost of attempting institutional reform while navigating 'diversity' policy rooted in white supremacy. She has previously worked at institutions such as the BFI and British Council and is interested in the ways imperialism replicates itself through institutionalised work processes and translates into the ways we relate to one another through art. She is currently Head of Programming at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival and is about to undertake a practice based PhD on the histories of liberatory performance and moving image and the possibilities opened up through ideas of abolitionist praxis at Central School of Speech and Drama. You can find more about her work here.

Katarina Hedrén is a film curator and film critic based in Johannesburg. She is a previous chairperson of CinemAfrica Film Festival in Sweden, former director of the European Film Festival in South Africa and a current member of the film selection committees for FESPACO and for Film Africa in London. As a writer and critic her work appears on various platforms, including the pan-African platform, Africa is a Country, the Swedish periodical FLM Magazine and the anthology Gaze Regimes – Films and Feminisms in Africa (Mistry & Schuhmann, Wits University Press, 2015).

Matthias Dell is a film and media critic. He contributes to Deutschlandradio, ZEIT-Online, and Cargo, among others. His most recent publication is Duisburg Düsterburg: In Conversation with Werner Ružička (Verbrecher Press, 2018, with Simon Rothöhler).

Enoka Ayemba is a film curator and film critic focusing on African cinematographies, the Nigerian video industry and anti-colonial movements. He has been a consultant for the Berlinale Forum since 2019.

Karina Griffith’s work has been shown at international galleries, theatres and festivals. She has curated film and interdisciplinary programmes for the Goethe-Institut and Ballhaus Naunynstraße among others. She teaches at the Berlin University of Art Institute for Art in Context and is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto where her research on Black authorship in German cinema interacts with theories of affect and intersectionality.

Jacqueline Nsiah is a freelance film festival, arts and cultural consultant. Her years of experience across the world include her work as co-director of the Cambridge African Film Festival in 2008 and as producer of the Real Life Documentary Film Festival in Accra. Nsiah currently works as a curator for the Berlinale Forum and as a project manager for the Goethe-Institut’s African industry film platform cinidb.africa

Can Sungu is a freelance artist, curator and researcher. He has given lectures on film and video production and curated several programmes on film and migration. He has also taken part in various exhibitions, including at Künstlerhaus Wien and REDCAT Los Angeles. In 2014, he co-founded bi'bak in Berlin, where he works as artistic director. Since 2020, he has been running the cinema experiment SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA at the Haus der Statistik in Berlin.


Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur