Now in its fourth year, Berlin Feminist Film Week is delivering the views we urgently need - Friends of Friends / Freunde von Freunden (FvF)

Now in its fourth year, Berlin Feminist Film Week is delivering the views we urgently need


Berlin is a city with a never-ending film festival season. While there is Berlinale, with its growing international reputation, there are also countless independent festivals that deserve to be seen. One close to our heart is the Berlin Feminist Film Week.

What do we mean when we talk about feminism? We are writing the year 2017 and a woman identifying as a feminist can still spark a debate about whether this aligns with appearing half naked on a magazine cover. (Is this how feminists begin fighting each other?) Women facing the end of their thirties are being harassed with the question of when they will have children. (Why is having none at all rarely considered an option?) Anxiety and depression are a still a social taboo. (And why do only women break the silence?) Black women and women of color often don’t feel represented by the mainstream feminist debate. (Are white feminists’ narratives repeating the oppression of patriarchy?) If you’re missing equal pay and misogynist state leaders in this enumeration, be assured the list is not nearly complete. And most of all, it will not be the same list for every woman.

While the women’s marches and global solidarity make us feel united in our fight, we also know that there is no such thing as the one feminism. At their core, the struggles are still individual. Speaking of feminism in 2017 could mean looking at the diversity of female identity, like the Berlin Feminist Film Week does. Aiming at creating a platform for all who do not feel represented by mainstream cinema, this year’s BFFW once more puts forward the narratives of “female, queer non-binary, trans and PoC characters,” contributing to a wider understanding of what feminism can be today.

Cecile Emeke invites us to take a walk and listen to the stories of the Black diaspora in Europe and the US. Her documentary film series Strolling touches on many topics; from feminism, sexuality, gender, race and politics, to philosophy, art, history, capitalism, war and poverty.
In Hooligan Sparrow Nanfu Wang follows the activist Ye Haiyan her band of colleagues to Hainan Province in southern China where they protest the sexual abuse of six elementary school girls by their principal.
Cyclogic is a short film by Emilia Stålhammar, Veronica Pålsson and Elsa Lövdin telling the story of the Ugandian urban planner and the passionate cycling advocate Amanda Ngabirano and her biggest dream: building a cycling lane in her city.
Maysaloun Hamoud’s In Between looks at the life of three Palestinian woman in Israel whose neither-here-nor-there state results from a constant balancing act between traditional and modern values and the concomitant problems of sexism and racism.

The Berlin Feminist Film Week is running from March 8–14 at Agora Rollberg. Make sure to have a look at the full program at the BFFM’s website and don’t miss the opening at Babylon and the closing party at ACUD.

If you’re not in Berlin, or can’t make the festival dates, you can watch Cecile Emeke’s documentary series Strolling online here.

Film stills: Courtesy of BFFW
Text:Vanessa Oberin