German filmmaker: You are in charge of your life
Art and Experience: Iran’s 16th Resistance International Film Festival has held an interview with Anna Faroqhi which her short documentary “A Mask For Everyone” has been selected to the Health Defenders section of the event.
Faroqhi is an author of essay films and graphic novels. Her work has been presented on festivals and exhibitions worldwide. Faroqhi’s main subjects are labor, migration and lifelong learning. She lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
The excerpt of the interview follows:
Please tell us about your film. How and why you made it?
We initially wanted to make a film about environmentally friendly building and planning, together with a group of refugees in a youth project by FILM WITHOUT BORDER Festival.
Then the coronavirus lockdown surprised us all and we were not allowed to visit locations or meet participants. Luck and good contacts to locals led us to another, very special place: the Peace Village in the small Brandenburg village of Storkow. Initiated in the 1990s and with the aim to protect young people from unemployment and right-wing extremism, it is now a shelter and home for refugees, the elderly and the socially weak.
We were given the privilege to film there. You can see refugees and Germans sewing face masks alongside each other. The cliché of refugees as victims is broken. Here, they are shown as people who are able to give to society.
Which fact was the primary motivation for you to make a film related to the Coronavirus pandemic and doctors’ and nurses’ efforts as pioneers in defending people’s health?
The coronavirus pandemic surprised everyone worldwide and isolation kicked in immediately. We wanted to stay in contact with “the world”, with friends and colleagues. Thus, we were happy to be able to show people in their effort to reach out to others in these extreme times.
What is the most noticeable or memorable thing regarding the process of making this film during a pandemic?
Due to the lockdown in Germany, we needed a special permit to travel from Berlin to the small village of Storkow in Brandenburg. This is a trip of 40 min, under normal conditions, nothing special. Under lockdown conditions, it was a privilege to be able to travel and see how rural parts coped. The biggest privilege was to get to know those doing voluntary work for a good cause, the staff and inhabitants of the Peace Village.
What subject would you choose if you want to make another film about the pandemic after controlling this virus’s spread?
We are interested in documenting work processes. What might be interesting is how social interactions might have changed due to the pandemic. How do people find ways to communicate, work, learn from each other while they have to keep physical distance and wear a face mask?
Let us be a little reminiscent as the last question; If you had a choice to choose only one person to watch your film in the cinema, who will be your choice? And Who do you want to give your film as a gift?
This film is for the foreigner, the refugee, the stranger who thinks their position in the new country was the one of a beggar. This is a film to tell them, you are in charge of your life.
We also need a paragraph about yourself for the print version of the interview. Please write it in the third person so that everyone is familiar with you and your activities. Like this example: Who thinks their position in the new country was the one of a beggar. This is a film to tell them, you are in charge of your life.