Welcoming Strangers: Insights into Immigration on Film
18 January 2012
Ciné Lumière, 17 Queensberry Place, London (South Kensington)
Sibling film-making duo Yasemin Samdereli and sister Nesrin will be at a special screening of their film Almanya - Welcome To Germany, to discuss their humorous and yet sensitive take on immigration and integration of a Turkish family living in Germany. The comedy offers a heart-warming tale of fictional guest worker number one-million-and-one who, together with his sprawling family, made Germany his new home.
Almanya – Welcome to Germany premiered at the International Film Festival in Berlin in 2011, the year which marked the 50th anniversary of the recruitment agreement that saw hundreds of thousands of Turkish “guest workers” move to Germany. It has since won numerous prizes, including the prestigious German Film Prize for the best screenplay and is the commercially most successful Turkish German film to date, attracting over 1.4 million viewers in Germany alone.
The event is organised by Professor Daniela Berghahn as part of the HARC Fellowship 'Welcoming Strangers' which she currently holds at Royal Holloway. She will introduce the screening with a presentation entitled 'Families in Motion: Migration with a Touch of Magic'.
The Samdereli sisters will share their experiences of life as Turkish-Germans and what drove them to ask the question “Am I German or Turkish” through the narrative of the film during the special screening at the Ciné Lumiére, in London, on Wednesday 18 January.
In their film, the issue of multiple and amivalent allegiances is addressed by six-year-old Cenk Yilmaz, who is upset when neither his Turkish nor his German schoolmates select him for their football teams. His 22-year-old secretly-pregnant cousin Canan steps in to comfort Cenk with the story of how their grandfather Hüseyin came to Germany in the mid-sixties and later brought his wife and children to live with him in Almanya.
Not unlike the British-Asian box-office hits East is East and Bend It Like Beckham, which are also comedies about immigrant families, Almanya – Welcome to Germany invites audiences all over the world to recognize that families, whether they were born and bred in Britain or Germany or come from South Asia or Turkey, have a great deal in common. The experience of family life is one that unites humanity and that, therefore, has the capacity to build bridges across cultures and to help us reassess racial, religious and other stereotypes.
The Welcoming Strangers Event on 18 January 2012 will start at 6.30pm.
You can watch the trailer and book your tickets online (£4 / £6) now at:
The Welcoming Strangers Event has been generously supported by HARC at Royal Holloway, the Goethe Institute and the Ciné Lumière.