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Film Event for Children in Berlin to Promote Discussion

The Goethe-Institut Run Film Event, Cinemanya Invited 200 Children to Watch Films and Share Experiences

January 18th, 2016
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The Astor Film Lounge in Berlin hosted 200 children at the end of December 2015 for the Goethe-Institut’s Cinemanya project. The children attending the event were aged nine to fourteen and came from schools in Berlin or were refugee children who are currently attending ‘welcome classes’ in Berlin in an attempt to facilitate their integration into German culture and society. The event was held in German, Arabic and English so as to ensure that all the children in attendance were able to understand and participate. A number of questions will be addressed throughout the event, namely; What is unique about the film medium? What emotions can films provoke? How can films help us learn about other culture?

The event was organized by the Goethe-Institut in collaboration with the LiteraturInitiative Berlin as well as the Regional Association for Films for Children and Young People. The event began with all the films on the stage in traditional aluminum film cases that were used to carry film roles before they were digital. The selection of films included, eighteen different feature length German films all either sub-titled or dubbed in Arabic, two animations and two short films. All children in attendance were provided with an educational handbook that had worksheets to fill out and topics for discussion linked with the films. Some of the children had the opportunity to discuss the issues of integration and cultural differences and the role film can play in this situation with the Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut Johannes Ebert.

The first film shown is Crocodiles, the film version of the classic German novel by Max von der Grün of which all German children are familiar as the novel itself is part of the school curriculum in Germany. In spite of not being familiar with the story, the other refugee children were also able to relate with problems faced by the young people in the film. The second film however was more relatable for the refugee children, Your Beauty Is Worth Nothing is an Austrian film about a boy who flees to Vienna with his family and finds it difficult settling in due to the language barrier he faces. 

All of the films that were shown at the event were then to be distributed around various refugee camps, schools and cultural centers where they would be shown in an attempt to promote discussion on the relevant issues and try to achieve mutual understanding.


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References and Links

Kitty Murnaghan, News from Berlin
Berlin Global