Who we are
FilmInitiativ Köln e.V. was founded in 1988. When it was founded, the association set itself the goal of "arousing interest in the art of film and initiating political discussions through film cycles, lectures and seminars". The aim was "above all to provide a platform for films that are not shown in commercial cinemas. For example, films related to history, or cultural programmes documenting the work of non-European filmmakers.
Beyond Europe" African film festival and special cycles
During the 1990s, FilmInitiativ focused on presenting contemporary African cinema. Since 1992, FilmInitiativ has organised the African Film Festival in Cologne, initially with the title "Beyond Europe". While it took place at irregular intervals in the early years, from 1996 to 2016 the festival is held every two years. In the years between festivals, special film cycles on particular themes or countries were organised ("Africa Film Specials"), for example on "50 Years of Independence as exemplified by Ghana", on the protest movements in North Africa, on current South African cinema 20 years after the end of apartheid and on African Diaspora Cinema.
From the 2016 festival the subtitle is no longer "Beyond Europe", instead: Afrika Film Festival Köln. The 2017 festival from 21 September to 1 October 2017 was the 25th anniversary and since that year FilmInitiativ presents the festival every year with changing themes. Since 1992, FilmInitiativ has screened almost 1,000 films from 40 countries on the African continent in Cologne and has invited more than 200 filmmakers to present their work and discuss it with the audience. The Africa film festival Cologne is not only unique in North Rhine-Westphalia, but also the most important event dedicated to contemporary African cinema in Germany. In recent years, the festival's influence has grown both within Germany and beyond its borders.
International research from Ouagadougou to Carthage
In preparation for the Cologne festivals and special cycles, FilmInitiativ has been visiting FESPACO, the world's most important African film festival, every two years in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, since 1992. This event not only provides an opportunity to discover hundreds of new African films, but also to make contacts with directors, actors and producers who can then be invited to Cologne. FilmInitiativ members also visited the African film festivals in Durban, Tunis (Carthage), Rabat and Cairo, as well as Milan, Amsterdam, Leuven, Tarifa/Cordoba and Frankfurt. In order to organise screenings in Cologne, FilmInitiativ also takes into account special programmes featuring African films at international film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Rotterdam, Venice, Locarno, Toronto and Innsbruck.
Partners in Germany
FilmInitiativ is in frequent contact and cooperation with German organisations such as the House of World Cultures in Berlin, the AfricAlive festival in Frankfurt, the Filmforum in Freiburg, as well as other partners from Hamburg to Munich via Berlin, Dortmund and Saarbrücken. FilmInitiativ also works with a wide network of cultural institutions, media partners and initiatives created by African communities in North Rhine-Westphalia and beyond (listed on this website under LINKS). FilmInitiativ is a member of KINOaktiv, the umbrella organisation of independent film associations in Cologne, as well as the German Federation of Municipal Film Work (www.kommunale-kinos.de).
You are very welcome! FilmInitiativ Köln e.V. is open to all those who wish to contribute to its activities. Volunteers are especially needed during the festival season. Donations You can also support our work with a donation. As a non-profit organisation, we can issue certificates for tax deduction. Please send your donation to FilmInitiativ Köln e.V. Spende: "Filme aus Afrika Postbank Köln IBAN: DE12 3701 0050 0366 3915 04