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network 18/12/2014 - 01:00PM

Local Spotlight: Cinema Politica Berlin

With so many dedicated and tireless groups, organizations and volunteers running all the Cinema Politica locals that make up our network, we thought it would be apropro to help paint a picture of the sprawling abstract thing known as "Cinema Politica" by zooming in to individual locals. Periodically we will hear from many of our locals about their activities, histories, challenges, triumphs, and more. For our fourth spotlight, we asked CP Berlin to send us their thoughts. Their response, which was written collectively by the local, is below.

Since its establishment in July 2011, Cinema Politica Berlin (CPB) has continuously featured thought-provoking documentary films in informal venues in Neukölln, one of Berlin's liveliest districts and home to a diverse mix of long-time residents and recent migrants from all over the world. This international tone is accentuated by the diversity of the films we screen and by the team behind CPB (currently two Colombians, an Italian, a Greek, and a Croatian), as well as by our venue, Twinpigs (a cozy bar run by a Swede and a Chilean). However, to us everyone is a local (so is the beer). Having started in a small bar with 15 seats, we now regularly host about 60 people every two weeks.

Our chapter was founded and continues to be organized by students of the Hertie School of Governance. After three years of bi-weekly screenings during the academic semesters, CPB has become a recognized institution not only within the Hertie School community, but also among wider Berlin audiences. CPB screenings offer an opportunity for Public Policy students to engage with case-studies beyond the classroom, re-think their notions, and be inspired for action, together with non-students, which usually make up at least half the audience. We strive to create a political platform to experience, discuss and exchange ideas.

We have sought to host and moderate post-screening discussions with film directors and individuals willing to share their valuable experiences with our audience as frequently as possible. These discussions have created spaces for deepening the audience's engagement with the content and the multi-layered sociopolitical and ethical implications of a given film, and introduced audiences to new information and to new organizations working in a relevant field.

We have had the pleasure to host a Q&A with Mauro Mondello, director of the film STATELESS, in December 2012, and a Q&A with Marek Tuschinsky, creative director of Tactical Technology Collective and co-director of the EXPOSING THE INVISIBLE film series, in February 2014. The latter event, moderated by Morana Miljanovic, one of the CPB's co-directors, led to one person's internship and another person's job with that organization. Our guests were at times students themselves. For example, Karina Campos from Argentina added to a story of THE WOMEN OF BRUCKMAN, and Jeff Deutsch from the US helped us better understand the movements around the action described in the film IF A TREE FALLS. The latter screening and discussion was marked by the unconventional appearance of a couple of members of the organization “Fuck for Forest”, who surprised us all with singing a song at the very end.  For the screening of TAQWACORE: THE BIRTH OF PUNK ISLAM, we were joined by Omar Kasmani and Katrin Simon, both from the Institute for Islamic Studies in Berlin. Their valuable contributions allowed the audience to gain deeper insights into the origins and contemporary dynamics of the movement in particular localities. For the screening of THE PROSECUTOR, we hosted a very special Q&A with the late Hans-Peter Kaul, former judge at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, who gave us an insider's account into the history and future of prosecuting international war crimes.

Cinema Politica Berlin is here to stay. We are now in our forth year of activity, and we are looking forward to many more screenings and collaborations. In early 2015, we expect to co-host a screening of COWSPIRACY with the Berlin Slow Food Youth Collective, who are planning to bring local, self-prepared vegan food to enrich the post-screening discussion.

[text written by Morana Miljanovic, Javier Guillot, Sebastian Martinez, and Felix Lennert]

[current CPB team: Javier Guillot, Morana Miljanovic, Sebastian Martinez, Anna Favero, Anastasia Sikiaridi]