Who we are

We are the team of FilmInitiativ Köln e.V. Our society was founded in 1988, when it set itself the objective of “arousing interest in cinematic art by screening films and giving lectures and seminars, and also to stimulate and encourage political discussions”. In doing so, “primarily films that are not represented in the listings of commercial cinemas should be given a platform. These could be significant films in cinematic history or culture which document the cinematographic works of non-European filmmakers”.


Afrika Film Festival “Out of Europe” and film specials

Since the beginning of the 1990s, FilmInitiativ’s work has focused on the extensive presentation of contemporary African cinema. Since 1992 FilmInitiativ has presented an African film festival in Cologne titled “Out of Europe”. Initially being held at irregular intervals, the festival took place every two years from 1996 to 2016. In the years when there was no festival, “African Film Specials” focusing on a specific subject matter or countries were offered; a special to celebrate “50 years of Ghanaian independence”, for example, one for the revolts in North Africa, one featuring contemporary cinema in South Africa two decades after the end of Apartheid and one featuring the African Diaspora Cinema.

Since 2016 the title “Out of Europe” was droppedand the new title of the festival became: Afrika Film Festival Köln. From there on it takes place once a year with changing thematic focuses. Since 1992, nearly 1000 films from 40 African countries have been screened in Cologne, and more than 200 filmmakers have been invited to present their works and hold discussions with the general public. The Africa film festival Cologne is not only unique to North Rhine-Westphalia, but also presents the most comprehensive range of contemporary African cinema to be found anywhere in Germany. As a result, the festival has grown in national and international stature in recent years. Therefor also the catalogues and this website are presented in three languages.


International research from Ouagadougou to Carthage

As preparation for the Cologne festivals and specials, FilmInitiativ has regularly attended the FESPACO since 1993, the most important festival for African cinema in the world, in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Every two years the festival presents not only hundreds of new African films for festival-goers to discover, but it also provides a wonderful opportunity to meet and get the contact details of directors, actors and producers who we can then invite to Cologne. FilmInitiativ employees have also attended African film festivals in Durban, Tunis (Carthage), Rabat and Cairo, as well as those in Milan, Amsterdam, Leuwen, Tarifa/Cordoba and Frankfurt. Special programmes featuring films from Africa that are screened at international film festivals, such as Cannes, Berlin, Rotterdam, Venice, Locarno, Toronto and Innsbruck, are also reviewed and evaluated as regards their suitability for the Cologne festival.


Cooperative partners in Germany

FilmInitiativ maintains regular correspondence with German event organisers, such as the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, the AfricAlive Festival in Frankfurt and the Filmforum in Freiburg, as well as other cooperative partners in Hamburg, Berlin and Dortmund, plus Saarbrücken and Munich. In addition to this, FilmInitiativ works within a wide network of cultural institutions, media partners and initiatives set up by African communities in North Rhine-Westphalia (listed at the bottom left of this page). FilmInitiativ Köln is a member of KINOaktiv, an amalgamation of independent film groups in Cologne, as well as the national cinema association Kommunale Filmarbeit e.V. (www.kommunale-kinos.de).


New employees welcome!

FilmInitiativ Köln e.V. is open to anyone who would like to get involved. Voluntary helpers are essential, especially during the festivals.



You are also welcome to support our work by making a donation. As a non-profit association, we will provide you with a donation receipt for tax deduction purposes. Donations should be transferred to the following account:

FilmInitiativ Köln e.V.
Donation: “Films from Africa”
Postbank Köln
Sort code: 370 100 50
Account number: 366 391 – 504
IBAN: DE12 3701 0050 0366 3915 04