4th transnational event in Dresden, 16.11. – 18.11. 2018

NO HATE FILM FESTIVAL // 16-18.11.2018 // Technische Sammlungen Dresden

The No Hate Film Festival, organised by Jugend & Kulturprojekt e.V., was one of the biggest events in the frame of YOU ARE WELCOME: it served as a transnational workshop, transnational campaign and transnational event combating Hate Speech. In addition to this, the partner representatives discussed the last steps of the project and possible new collaborations.

The event started officially on Friday, November 16th at 18:00 at the Technische Sammlungen Dresden Museum. Moderated by Myrto-Helena Pertsinidi and Matthias Neutzner, the Festival was opened by the salutation speech of the Director of the Technische Sammlungen Dresden Museum, Dr. Roland Schwarz, and then the choir Dresdner Kneipenchor appeared and enchanted the audience that started singing along.

Two documentary films were screened; “Waiting for the Summer‘s Return” directed by Michael Sommermeyer and Barbara Lubich and “Dresden Refuge” directed by Xuban Intxausti. Both films refer to and comment on the current sociopolitical situation in Dresden with regard to the refugee crisis and the division that it brought between its people; on the one hand those that are afraid of and against the new arrivals and on the other hand those that support the migrants and refugees who recently arrived in Dresden. The film directors Barbara Lubich and Xuban Intxausti were present and after the screening of the two documentary films they were invited to discuss and answer questions related to their films.

Nine Documentary films from different European cities – Ceuta (Spain), Sarajevo (Bosnia Herzegovina), Belfast (Northern Island), Paphos (Cyprus), Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Thessaloniki (Greece), Moscow (Russia), Wroclaw (Poland) and Dresden (Germany) – that witnessed conflict or war, were screened. Each film has a different theme but they all focus on a single overarching topic: how a community deals with a conflict. The films comprise the project “Europa Transit” within the framework of the “European Capital of Culture – Donostia/San Sebastian 2016”.

During the event, the attendants could participate in a diverse range of activities in addition to the film screenings. These activities were three different workshops, a photo and art exhibition, a dance performance, a round table discussion, etc. and, of course, a number of different films about combatting hate speech and intolerance. The Street Stories photo exhibition portrays the work of Ibrahim Fheili and Ahmad Kaddoura. Ibrahim grew up in the Dera’a camp; Ahmad is a Palestinian born in Lebanon. They both grew up being surrounded by conflict. So they both felt the urge to document the realities in the camps, everyday routines, kids and elderly, hoping to share the stories of the streets with the rest of the world. This way, they intend to show the situation of the Al Rashidiya and Dera’a camps. Both are home to over 10,000 refugees: Palestinians who had to leave their houses in the Arab-Israeli conflict and hope to return ever since. Both camps suffering from disastrous conditions, shortages of water or lack of sewage systems. The Dera’a camp was affected by the Syrian war. Still, both camps are the centre of life for so many people.

The travelling exhibition- PLEASE OPEN! Crates of Knowledge was shown together with the Street Stories photo exhibition. The core message of the travelling exhibition is that every refugee brings, depending on his life story, an individual metaphorical box filled with valuable skills. PLEASE OPEN! depicts 8 refugees standing between obstacles and visions of their future. It portrays their qualifications, wishes and hopes. The boxes in the exhibition are not only a symbol for the characteristics they brought with them from their homelands, but it also represents an open invitation to society to notice and recognize their talents. Both the Street Stories and PLEASE OPEN! Crates of Knowledge exhibitions were shown throughout the weekend as a central part of the No Hate Festival.

The attendants also had the opportunity to watch the short movies produced within the framework of You Are Welcome by the project partners. These short movies focus on inclusion, integration, Human Rights and diversity, and were screened in the exhibition room of the museum.

The storytelling workshop, led by Dr. Rita Julia Sebestyen, aimed to raise the participants’ awareness of their individual spot in society, their responsibilities and opportunities. Using the Socratic method, as well as other tools, this workshop first focused on developing techniques to identify hierarchies as well as bias in the everyday context, then analyse the role we play in it and offer tools to cope with hierarchical, biased, abusive situations and find our adequate response in it. The activity tries to answer the following question: are we aware of our privileges and are we able to analyse the social and cultural structures and patterns that our society is based on?

Birte Leonhardt and Franz Werner from the association Zivilcourage e.V. facilitated a very informative and creative workshop about hate speech online. After an introduction round and a warm-up game, the participants from Hungary, Nigeria, Serbia, Slovakia, Germany, Syria, the Czech Republic and Cuba learned about different forms of hate speech and the current legislation in Germany regarding this issue, like the Network Enforcement Act. In addition to this, the attendants also were introduced to different counter speech strategies. Using real examples from the internet, the participants, divided in groups, had to find standardised responses to hate comments, considering the pros and cons of each strategy. In the creative part of the workshop, the participants created stencils with counter speech messages and sprayed them outside for everyone to see.

The Zine workshop, led by the German artist Stephanie Lünig (HfBK Dresden), used magazines, old books and photos, drawings and collage methods, among many other tools, in order to learn how to tell our stories by creating a mini magazine, the so-called “zine”, which is a small, personal, handmade booklet. In the past, “zines” were meant to be used to tell personal stories through drawings and collages. Firstly, Stephanie Lünig briefly introduced the history of zines as a genre, which dates back to the XVIII century, when zines were used as a way of self-expression by socially disadvantaged groups, reaching its peak of popularity during the 1970s. Later on, the group proceeded to design small artistic zines. Thus, this workshop was rather similar to the one that was held in Thessaloniki during the Second Transnational Event one year ago.

In a round-table discussion, Barbara Lubich, one of the directors of the movie “Waiting for summer’s´ return”, and Xuban Intxausti, the director of the documentaries of the Europa Transit project, discussed with Matthias Neutzner (Memorare Pacem e.V.) and any interested citizen about the current situation and future of Europe with reference to the rise of populism and extremism and the division between the countries of the EU. A common starting point was the vision of a divided Europe – divided into poor and rich people, by ethnic boundaries and by right and left positions –. The film directors shared interesting impressions from their projects, in which they experienced many of these divisions and contradictions, but also got rid of many stereotypes they had before. From their point of view, contemporary art needs to take action by dealing with some problems we are facing nowadays. One of its main potentials is that art can help to develop empathy and understanding. It was also highlighted that transnational perspectives lead to a deeper and wider understanding of local issues like PEGIDA and can open deadlocked positions.

One of the highlights of the festival was the solo dance performance “Mirror” by Jean-Paul Mehansio, that gripped the audience with his touching expression and captivating movement. Gnéan/Mirror/Miroir is an introspective solo performance by the Ivorian dancer Jean Paul Mehansino, that questions the concept of identity through the eyes of the ‘other’. Living between Ivory Coast, France and Egypt, Jean-Paul touches upon the sense of belonging and of being different. Dressed in a big cloak, he starts a dialogue with the audience unveiling two facets – the introverted and the extroverted one, hiding and emerging, folding and unfolding, through linear movements, circular trajectories and compact gestures.

Last but not least, the partner representatives reunited for the last meeting on Sunday morning. The lifetime of the project was reaching its end, reason why it was necessary to discuss the last steps of You Are Welcome and its closure. Furthermore, the idea was to set a strategy in order to prolong the social impact of You Are Welcome beyond the duration of the grant. For this purpose, the attendants discussed how to maximise and prolong the influence of the Guidebook and other dissemination tools.