Article by Kemi
Article by Kemi
Art by Berliner Farben
Fed up with the lack of representation in German mainstream media, the filmmaker Poliana Baumgarten decided to take matters into her own hands and start Berliner Farben, a web series that tells authentic stories of PoC & LBGTQ activists.
What inspired you to start Berliner Farben?
I started Berliner Farben out of desperation. As a teenager, I realized that in Germany PoC are rarely presented in the media. And if they are then it is done in a very stereotypical way. That’s why I wanted to create a platform where PoC are portrayed and their individual stories and voices count.
Why did you choose to tell these stories through a web series?
I wanted to create an endless web series because the perspectives that you find in Berlin are endless as well. Each episode is about one individual story that is unique. Apart from that I really enjoy filmmaking and love creating certain moods and vibes through the mix of moving images combined with music and real stories.
Did other web series, such as Cecile Emeke’s “Strolling” influence you?
Absolutely! It is one of the rare series that represents PoC in a way that is raw, relatable and real. No stereotypes, just pure empowerment. The camerawork and the grading is absolutely beautiful too. Her way of storytelling is pure art.
What are the differences and similarities (in terms of culture, community, platforms for PoC in Berlin vs London)?
While shooting episodes I got in contact with lots of PoC who have lived in London before moving to Berlin and they all told me that it was easier for them not to attract attention all the time because of the way they looked. Of course, racism exists everywhere but I got the impression that London might be an easier environment for PoC than Berlin. That’s why it is even more important to strengthen our communities here, so people can get good energy and feel empowered. It’s weird that people in Germany and especially in Berlin like to act like racism isn’t a thing only because they eat foreign food every once in a while and have traveled to different countries, when only very few people actively take actions to dismantle racism.
Why did you decide to focus on interviewing activists?
Being an activist in any form comes with struggles and people hardly ever get compensated for it. If I can help to make their voices and work being heard just a little bit more, I’m happy to carry on.
How did people react to Berliner Farben?
People who are affected by racism and discrimination reacted very positively. And I got messages from people who have never dealt with these topics but really enjoyed the episodes as a sort of eye-opener. That made me really happy because my intention was to also reach people who haven’t dealt with the topics Berliner Farben addresses, so they take something away and and learn from it. Every once in a while I have to delete racist troll comments from the videos but that’s all.
What’s the best thing that happened since you started the project?
The greates thing about this project is that people who were either a part of it or have seen it thanked me for creating this platform – and that is the best reward I could ever get. Seeing that people are moved by the project is why I started it in the first place.
Are you still filming, producing and editing all episodes by yourself?
I am a one woman army and plan to continue like this. It’s a lot of work and recently I’ve had many other commitments, which is why production fell short for the last weeks – but I’ll continue to publish more episodes soon.
Follow Berliner Farben on YouTube.
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