Residing in the Borderlands

For the fifth session of our film series Residing in the Borderlands we are excited to have with us our neighbors Malve Lippmann and Can Sungu from the Wedding based project space bi’bak. On the occasion of the anniversary of German reunification, we will be screening Can Candan’s documentary Duvarlar – Mauern – Walls. The film documents the moments and thoughts of the immigrant community from Turkey in post-Wall Berlin as witnessed by a Turkish filmmaker coming from the United States just one year after the German reunification. In the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of the two republics, 1991 was a year in which racist violence in Germany became rampant. It was also the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the so-called "guest workers" migration from Turkey to Germany. In this film, immigrants from Turkey talk about their past, present, and possible futures, reflecting on what the fall of the Wall and German reunification meant for them and how increasing hostilities affect their sense of belonging. Can Candan  approaches the issue from the periphery, as a filmmaker who is simultaneously an insider and an outsider.

Malve and Can explain their choice as follows: 

“We are happy to present Duvarlar – Mauern – Walls one day before the German Unity Day and hope that this documentary will not only refresh our memories related to the first years of reunified Germany, but also offers an alternative perspective to the mainstream narrative on the German reunification process. The official history of the reunification and its impact on German society are still very much dominated by a West-German narrative which consistently excludes the former East-German as well as migrant perspectives. In the dominant repetitive narrative of the euphoric reunification as a “long awaited dream of Germans,” migrant perspectives were and are still ignored in the popular telling of this history. What makes Duvarlar – Mauern – Walls so special is its power of bringing into the spotlight these often ignored voices within the concert of the repetitive narrative. Therefore this film matches perfectly to our mission at bi'bak, where we focus on transnational/post-migrant narratives and offer a space for diverse positions on history, society and politics.”  

MALVE LIPPMANN and CAN SUNGU are the co-founders and artistic directors of bi'bak. bi’bak (Turkish: have a look) is a non-profit organization and project space based in Berlin-Wedding, with a focus on transnational narratives, migration, global mobility and their aesthetic dimensions. bi’bak’s program examines diverse disciplines in art, science, and community development, including film screenings, exhibitions, workshops as well as music events and culinary excursions.

Can Candan is an Istanbul-based independent documentary filmmaker, activist and an academic (Boğaziçi University). He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in filmmaking and media arts in the USA (Hampshire College, 1992 and Temple University, 1999). He has taught film and media arts at various universities and institutions in the USA until 2000, and in Turkey since then. He teaches documentary theory-history and mentors projects and theses in film studies and filmmaking, and publishes on documentary cinema in Turkey. He directed and produced three award-winning and internationally distributed feature documentaries: Duvarlar-Mauern-Walls (2000), 3 Hours (2008) and My Child (2013). For My Child, he received a 2013 “Man of the Year” award by GQ Magazine, Turkey for “Public Awareness Project of the Year”. He is currently working on his fourth feature documentary film entitled Nuclear alla Turca.