The lost culture of the Marshall Islands lies in German cellars. But it is sorely missed on the Marshall Islands. In the video, Meitaka Kendal Lekka talks about her thoughts and feelings when dealing with the numerous objects in German archives, objects that were brought to the German Empire during the colonial period and are still stored in the Federal Republic today, without there being any concept for a return transfer of cultural knowledge. Clearly something needs to be done here. But who does it? And when does it start?
People from many European countries will come together in the “Potsdam Project House” during the Easter time 2022. These are people who selected interview partners in the individual countries for our “Finding Europe” project, who determined the locations and who conducted the interviews on the desirable future of the EU, which we recorded with our cameras from the observer position. Now our protagonists, as we like to call them, will also meet each other for the first time.
Putin’s terrible war against Ukraine has changed the political map of Europe. Decades seem to lie between the interviews that our protagonists conducted between July 2020 and December 2021 and the present days. Europe seems united like never before. Most sanctions against Russia were decided un-bureaucratically and at lightning speed. Countries like Poland and Hungary are suddenly taking in large numbers of refugees. EU membership for Ukraine is within reach.
And yet there is much to suggest that the new unity and the new rethinking are also covering up the deeper cracks and problems in the EU. The social and economic differences in the Union are still enormous. People are still worried about affordable housing. There is still poverty in the EU. National groups are still striving for member states to withdraw.
In Potsdam we want to find out what our protagonists would say differently today and what they still think is right. In Potsdam, we will also bring new people into this project: on the one hand, young people from the city who will learn about filmmaking through working with us, and on the other hand, refugees from the Ukraine, whom we want to involve in the project behind and in front of the camera.
Are you between the ages of 16 and 27 or are you from Ukraine? Then you can simply register for the film workshop by email: mail[at]kameradisten.info. You can find more information here: Link to the organizer and partner.
Von Herzen haben wir für die Amadeu Antonio Stiftung den folgenden kleinen Clip produziert. Texte zum Aktionstag der Stiftung und ihren 20 Forderungen an die neue Bundesregierung, Fotografien und mehr Videos gibt es unter diesem Link.
October 15, 2021: We have finished filming FINDING EUROPE in the Basque Country and will be shooting in Madrid tomorrow and the day after. It was a long way. 16 EU countries. 86 people. So many places. So many opinions, and yet they were largely in agreement on the desire for peace, a little prosperity, and an intact planet.
We talked to refugees, workers, academics, the rich, the poor, the ascended, the abandoned, the hopeful, the dreaming, the angry and the desperate. And we have filmed extensively Europe’s diverse living environments and landscapes, wastelands and lively cities, dense forests, rugged mountains, castles of houses and dry grasslands, streams of light and almost complete darkness. Never before have we taken so much footage from a film project into the editing room.
It’s going to be a cozy winter in front of the screens in which we have to sort and understand all of this. Keep your fingers crossed that we understand all of this. This is going to be awesome.
In the meantime we have brought our film project “Finding Europe” to Greece, Austria, Lithuania and Poland, we will soon be shooting in Leipzig and Berlin (Germany) and we are intensively preparing the filming for the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania (Transylvania) and Italy, France, Spain, Denmark and Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Because we’d rather go filming than write about shooting, we have neglected this little blog very much. In loose order you can find a few stills from the filming in Austria, Poland and Lithuania. Those were some moving weeks in which we met very special people who gave us deep insights into their lives. Of course, the photos only give you an idea of that, but there will soon be a film that will tell you much more and more precisely.
Under the conditions of the global pandemic, “Finding Europe” has of course been and continues to be somewhat different than it war planned. There are quarantine times in the respective countries, when we have to wait and we are not be able to work. We no longer know how many tests (all negative) we already had in the team. We have to devote a large part of the logistics and planning to observing the respective national regulations and their hygiene concepts. But Corona (this is our impression of the material we have already shot) also makes the cinematic search for Europe much more exciting. Almost all interviewees mention the pandemic when they talk about Europe’s (lack of) cohesion, its decision-making ability and its bureaucratic hurdles. The “Finding Europe” project has become more specific, so to speak, because of the pandemic, because a very obvious touchstone of European identity is also the (non-) coping with the challenges of the pandemic: Corona is Europe’s elephant that stands in the living room.
A Marshallese professor from the College of the Marshall Islands is teaching at the Weissensee Kunsthochschule Berlin (Germany) since autumn 2020: Meitaka Kendall-Lekka. It was an uphill struggle to get her and her family to Germany with her family, especially under pandemic conditions.
Now she brings her students at the KHB into contact with topics that should really not be missing in art: colonialism (the Marshall Islands were once a German colony), climate change (the islands are only just above sea level) and nuclear heritage (the Islands were test areas for nuclear fusion and fission bombs).
She spoke about the atomic bomb tests on the Marshall Islands under the title “The paper remained cold” in a panel discussion (produced by kameradisten.org for ALEX TV) with Prof. Dr. Wolf D. Hartmann (“The Bikini Scandal”), Dr. Nadim Samman, (“As We Used to Float”) and Prof. Hannes Brunner, (KHB, co-initiator and coordinator of the MI_CC project) and Dr. Viviana Uriona (Director: ONE WORD).
ALEX did broadcast the talk three times, on April 10th at 7pm, on April 11th at 10pm and on April 12th at 1pm (CET, add 12 hours for Marshallese time).
Our documentary ONE WORD won the jury’s “Best Film / Special Mention” today as a German-Marshallese contribution to the British LIDF # 20.
The LIDF (The London International Documentary Festival) is one of the most important and prestigious documentary film festivals in the world (BAFTA: Category A), which regularly provides relevant impulses for the international film industry. The LIDF is also London’s oldest and largest film festival. The 2020 edition was postponed to the beginning of 2021 due to corona and was just taking place.
ONE WORD just won the “Bronze Award” at the HCCFF (Handle Climate Change Film Festival) in China. Of course we didn’t go to Shenzehn personally to pick up the statue and the prize. Both were symbolically handed over by our chinese friends on the stage to our team of Marshallese and Germans. Here you can see some impressions from the award ceremony.