European Enterprise Awards 2022

Jul22493 21. Cinema has vastly become a great way to stimulate political and cultural conversations in the modern world. The Afrika Film Festival Köln has screened over 1000 films with 300 filmmakers from multiple countries appearing to speak at the event. Here we talk to the Artistic Director, Sebastian Fischer, about its success that has led to their notable award in the European Enterprise Awards 2022. The Afrika Film Festival Köln (AFFK) was initiated in 1992, and has become the country’s largest contemporary event for African film. For 30 years, the event has grown interest from enthusiasts travelling from all over Germany and Africa – eager to learn about the industry. Over the years, AFFK has evolved to become one of the most important collaborative events promoting cultural knowledge. The festival highlights a new thematic focus every year, focusing on a certain country or subject matter portraying authentic representations of the African continent. With the most recent focus being, African Visions of the Future. The AFFK aims to change people’s mind and stereotypes combining cinema with school programmes and workshops to help eradicate racism. AFFK’s Artistic Director, Sebastian Fischer, says, “Since its inception, the festival has prioritised collaborating with initiatives and activists from African communities. These communities have not only participated in film debates and moderated screenings but have also acted as programmers presenting film cycles on specific themes and countries alongside the festival team.” The AFFK has grown and developed into an extraordinary event for both Germany and Africa, from initially being run entirely by volunteers to now having a permanent team of staff. Its professional development has proved to have paid off tremendously as the festival has truly made its name in the cinema industry – especially by winning awards like Best African Film Festival, Europe, in the European Enterprise Awards 2022. Sebastian highlights, “The whole team is totally committed to the project and are full of passion. We want to create a safe space where people which are not visible, get the chance to tell and show their story, to connect with others and to help that Europeans learn what is really going on in Africa and what is really needed. For us it is not a normal job, it’s our passion. And that is what our audience and all the filmmakers who visit the festival love so much about us. “We really are a fully accepted film festival in Germany and no longer a small independent festival which is ignored by cultural institutions and the press. We invested a lot to be visible and recognized.” Alongside its core focus of promoting African culture, the Afrika Film Festival Köln has become an inclusive event for its international audiences. For ten years, it has become one of few cultural organisations to offer information in multiple languages, enabling communication with filmmakers and communities across the globe. Furthering the events linguistic accessibility, interpretations of the films have been made available alongside subtitling, making the AFFK accommodating to all. Its efforts to gain a global presence has underlined its nature to be fully inclusive. The AFFK also offers free entry for refugees every year, opening the event up to involve more global communities. The Afrika Film Festival Köln’s next event is in September 2023 and it will yet again showcase incredible films made in and by the African community. Contact: Sebastian Fischer Company: Afrika Film Festival Köln Web Address: Best African Film Festival - Europe