Berlin activists call for Gaza “ceasefire” and leadership discussions

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Berlin activists call for Gaza "ceasefire" and leadership discussions

A group of Berlin Film Festival activists issued a statement demanding an “immediate ceasefire”, “the release of all hostages” and “strong institutional leadership” in Gaza, including in Berlin. The current attack on Palestinian life”.

The open letter, published on social media last night and shared with the industry as a Google Doc, comes just two days before the Berlinale is set to begin. It is currently signed by 28 contractors, including programmers from Panorama, Generation, EFM, Forum, Berlinale Talents and Berlinale Goes Keys. In particular, the group takes issue with previous festival statements on the crisis.

“As Berlinale contractors, who admire the Festival’s vocal, principled track record defending human values, we feel the need to offer a position that moves festival statement With regard to the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza (19 January 2024), the statement begins.

“We are aware of the unbearable dynamics of institutional inertia in the cultural sphere in Germany, and we recognize the existing limits imposed on speech. We want to hold the festival and ourselves to a higher standard. An international platform like Berlinale and we, in our roles as programmers, advisors, moderators, facilitators and space holders, along with Berlinale activists, can and should voice our disagreement with the current assault on Palestinian lives.

Activists point to the lack of opportunity for debate within this year’s festival program regarding the conflict: “We have not seen any initiatives that invite professionals and/or audiences to a dedicated space of discussion,” in the statement. Having said.

The letter further states that “as the world witnesses the unimaginable loss of civilian life in Gaza, including journalists, artists and film workers,” the industry needs a “strong institutional stance.”

“We expect the Festival to adopt a stance that is consistent with steps it has taken in response to other incidents that have affected the international community in recent years,” the statement said.

We have contacted the festival leadership to seek their response to the letter.

The statement begins by referencing a recent quote from judges of the International Court of Justice, who said that “certain acts and omissions by South Africa against Israel in Gaza appear capable of falling within the provisions of this Act.” (Genocide) Convention.”

The use of the term genocide in relation to the conflict has been highly charged and controversial in recent months. The latest crisis stems from Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on October 7, which killed more than 1,200 people. According to the health ministry in Gaza, Israel’s response has led to the deaths of more than 28,000 Palestinians.

The January 19 statement the staffers are referring to was signed by Berlinale co-heads Mariette Riesenbeek and Carlo Chatrian. The statement said the festival expresses its “sympathy” towards all victims of the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The festival’s statement read, “We believe that through the power of films and open discussions, we can help foster empathy, awareness, understanding – even more so, especially in such painful times. Too.”

You can read the activists’ full statement below, which is the first public intervention by Berlin workers following a public outcry over Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) politicians being invited to the festival’s opening ceremony last week. The festival later canceled the invitation.

The Berlin Film Festival will run from 15 to 25 February.

Berlinale Workers Letter

As Berlin contractors who admire the Festival’s vocal, principled track record defending human values, we feel the need to offer a position that moves FESTIVAL STATEMENT REGARDING THE CURRENT HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN GAZA (19 January 2024,

We are aware of the unbearable dynamics of institutional inertia in the cultural sphere in Germany, and we recognize the current limits imposed on speech. We want to hold the festival and ourselves to a higher standard. An international platform like Berlinale and we, in our roles as programmers, advisors, moderators, facilitators and space holders, along with other Berlinale activists, can and should voice our disagreement with the current assault on Palestinian lives.

We join a global solidarity movement to demand an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages.

Against an ongoing crisis which “appears capable of falling under the provisions of.” [Genocide] conference” (Quotes from judges of the International Court of Justice), some of us – the undersigned – continue to contribute our labor to this year’s celebration because of our belief in its primary role and importance as an international cultural space, which has the potential not only to raise awareness and promote debate responsibility, but also to amplify global and pluralistic demands to end oppression, occupation, forced displacement and violence. In short, call for peace and liberation. This responsibility is aligned with the Festival’s past commitments and principles, a stance that has earned the Berlinale a uniquely respected place within the cultural landscape.

While we acknowledge individual and small efforts to create space for exchange, we would hope that this year’s festival program will respond to the urgency and reality of these times by organizing dialogue spaces of our own initiative and design in larger homes. Will be more active and deliberate together. We call it a cinema hall. Instead, we have not seen any initiatives that invite professionals and/or audiences into a dedicated space of discussion that is structured in a way that allows for a lengthy encounter between everyone.

As the world witnesses the unimaginable loss of civilian life in Gaza – including journalists, artists and film crews – as well as the destruction of unique cultural heritage, we need a stronger institutional stance. We hope that the Festival will adopt a stance that is consistent with that taken in response to other events that have affected the international community in recent years.

The many members of the German and international film community, who have consistently believed in and contributed to the excellence of the Berlinale, are expected to strongly support and actively contribute to a more just world. Of course, Berlin is no exception and these expectations extend internationally to the wider world of film and culture, whose responses to the ongoing war of aggression have largely been defined by silence and neutrality.

Based on an intersectional and anti-discrimination perspective, we stand with the rise of far-right nationalist movements around the world and everyone taking steps to oppose all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. We claim that 74. Berlinale is a place of vital importance for speaking truth to power and we are looking forward to this edition contributing to an atmosphere of exchange, encounter and generosity.

alphabetical signatures

Anna David; Panorama, Selection Committee
Anneliese Rethfelt; Location Manager Film Theater in Friedrichshain
Babette Dieu; Project Leader EFM Toolbox Program | Market Badge Inclusion Initiative Coordination
Burke’s goal; Panorama, Selection Committee/Moderator

Brigid O’Shea; EFM/Toolbox/Co-generation Market
Canaan Turan; Generation, Selection Committee Member
Carlos Pereira; generation, selection committee members
Carmen Grey; generation, selection committee
Charlotte Reekers; EFM, Toolbox Coordinator
David Asman; Creation, Selection Committee and Moderator
Jamila Grandits; Panorama, pre-selection and moderation

Ina Karkani; Creation, Selection Committee and Moderator

JoJo Streb; generation, social media
Kate Fasano; Panorama Guest Contact
Clara Mohammadi; Panorama, Guest Contact
leticia da rosa
Lisabona Rahman; Forum, Selection Team Members and Moderators
Mellow Lipman; Artistic Director Cinema Transtopia – Berlinale Goes Keys
Nastaran Tajeri-Foumani; panorama/teddy/talent, moderator
Natasha Noack; Generation, Programmer and Moderator
Nav Alexander of Novoseltsev
Reem Saleh; Panorama, Selection Committee/Moderator
Shailesh Naidu; stage
Sally Shammas; Panorama, Guest Management

Segen Mikkel; Generation/EFM, Selection Committee/Toolbox Program
Themba Bhebhe; European film market, diversity and inclusion
Yegor Gama; generation, programmer
Zeynep Güzel; Berlinale Talents, Head to the Dock Station

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