Berlinale 2016 adds projects aimed at helping refugees
Ahram Online, , Wednesday 27 Jan 2016
This year's Berlin International Film Festival will aim to attract refugees not only with the film programme, but also with many complementary activities


The organisers of this year's Berlinale -- scheduled to take place between 11 and 21 February -- announced that among the principal aims of the event is fostering understanding, tolerance, and acceptance.

"When the Berlin International Film Festival was launched 66 years ago, there were millions of German refugees and traumatised displaced persons in Europe. Last year 79,034 people sought refuge in the German capital (source: Berlin Senate Department of Health and Social Services). They came from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Eritrea and many other crisis regions around the world," the official press release reads.

Promoting "Berlin’s culture of welcome," the festival will not only aim to attract refugees through the programming, but also launch several actions aimed at facilitating access of the socially disadvantaged individuals to fully participate in the cultural activities.

The festival will offer a 50 percent discount, as well as a quota of free tickets to those with low income, an initiative run jointly with the non-profit KulturLeben Berlin – Schlüssel zur Kultur e.V. The organisers also urge its guests and audiences "to make a donation to the non-profit Behandlungszentrum für Folteropfer e.V. (Berlin Center for Torture Victims), which provides support for people traumatised by torture, war, migration, and persecution.”

The press release continues, saying that the “sponsored cinema visit” initiative has asked Berlin’s non-profit refugee aid programmes to nominate volunteers who would like to accompany a refugee to a screening.

Welcome Classes (school classes for refugees) will participate in the school project that the festival’s Generation section has mounted for the last ten years in cooperation with Vision Kino. The Culinary Cinema section will take charge of the street food initiative, which among several cuisines, will also serve Mediterranean food from a food truck.

"The Berlinale also asks its guests and audiences to donate, wherever possible, to organisations helping refugees with their everyday needs," the press release concluded.

The 66th Berlin International Film Festival is scheduled to take place between 11 and 22 February.

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