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Grußwort by the U.S. Cultural Attaché
on the occasion of the
XXIXth Black International Cinema Berlin
May 7-11, 2014

The U.S. Embassy takes particular pride in being counted among the supporters of Berlin's twenty-ninth edition of the Black International Cinema festival in 2014. Dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s visit to the city of both West and East Berlin fifty years ago, this year's festival will take place under the motto "Pathways to Enlightenment."

When in March 1961 the then-Governing Mayor of West Berlin Willy Brandt visited President John F. Kennedy in the United States, he also used the opportunity to meet with the civil rights leader, whom he invited to inaugurate the fourteenth "Berliner Festwochen," which would take place in 1964 under the title "Exchange between the Cultures of the West and Black Africa." Dr. King accepted the invitation. In the meantime, the Reverend and his followers celebrated victory as they accomplished their mission with the passage of the Civil Rights Act by the Senate on June 19, 1964, which formally put an end to the racial segregation in the United States, and which President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law on July 2, 1964. However, when Dr. King finally arrived at Tempelhof airport in the afternoon of September 12, 1964, some three-and-a-half years after his first encounter with Willy Brandt, he came across a city, which had in the meantime been divided into two parts by a wall. In a sermon delivered at the Waldbühne before some 20,000 people the day later, on September 13-and reiterated later that night at the Marienkirche and the Sophienkirche in East Berlin-the Reverend preached that he was honored to be in Berlin, "which stands as a symbol of the divisions of men on the face of the earth. For here on either side of the wall are God's children, and no man-made barrier can obliterate that fact." This year, on November 9, also marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And as much as President Kennedy took pride in being a free Berliner, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-as one of American history's most outstanding and legendary luminaries-would be equally proud to see a reunited and pacified Berlin today.

This year's five-day festival program will review the black experience by means of experimental movies, shorts, narratives, and documentaries. In Homegoings Christine Turner documents through the eyes of the funeral director Isaiah Owens the beauty and grace of African American funerals. Nevline Nnaji's documentary Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights focuses on the transformative experiences of black female characters and their respective contributions to the Civil Rights movement. In this sense, Nnaji's documentary revives the spirit of the 1960s by referring to former black female Civil Rights activists, during which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. played an immense role in American society.

We at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, very much appreciate the worthwhile work the Black International Cinema has been doing for 29 years. The festival's aspiration to not only elate but also to educate the audience through films to create a better tomorrow clearly stands in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy, because "regardless of the barriers of race, creed, ideology, or nationality, there is an inescapable destiny, which binds us together," as he had preached at the Waldbühne fifty years ago.

I hope that all the Berliners will enjoy this year's Black International Cinema festival!

Katharina Göllner-Sweet
U.S. Cultural Attaché


"I may not make it if I try, but I damn sure won´t if I don´t..."
Oscar Brown Jr.

"Mankind will either find a way or make one."
C.P. Snow

"Whatever you do..., be cool!"
Joseph Louis Turner

"Yes, I can...!"
Sammy Davis Jr.

"Yes, We can...!"
Barack Obama


Prof.  Donald Muldrow Griffith

Embassy of the United States of America


wave magazine

united against racism


African Women in Europe

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Black International Cinema Berlin
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Black International Cinema Berlin


German Prize for
Civic Engagement 2014
Prof. Donald Muldrow Griffith
Grußwort by the
U.S. Cultural Attaché

Katharina Göllner-Sweet
Passing of Chinua Achebe
Ursula Troche
Marion Kramer
Amir Kaufmann
Thomas M. Wendt
XXIX. 2014 Black International Cinema Berlin

A Complexion Change
Transnational & Intercultural Diplomacy
An International Media Project (UNESCO)

XXIX. 2014
Black International Cinema Berlin

"Pathways to Enlightenment / Wege zur Erkenntnis"
May 7-11

"Footprints in the Sand?" Exhibition
July 1 - August 31, 2014

Venue: Rathaus Schöneberg (city hall)
10825 Berlin/Germany

XXIX. 2014 Black International Cinema Berlin