A festival programme of many voices
Throughout the festival week from 4 – 10 November visitors can attend over 200 different events. A wide-ranging programme spanning all seven festival locations explores the history of the Peaceful Revolution and the events of the past 30 years.
A reading stage showcased teams of writers and hosted book presentations on everything from complex political issues to poignant stories of escape. Writers presented their texts and books and field questions from the audience. Guests included Norbert F. Pötzl, who headed the Berlin office of DER SPIEGEL from 1990 to 1994 and presented his book “Der Treuhand-Komplex”; journalist Christhard Läpple, who reported from the Brandenburg Gate on 9 November 1989; Petra Schwarz, who hosted the youth radio programme DT64 in the GDR, and André Herzberg, the author of “Was aus uns geworden ist”. Six slam poets competed with each other in a poetry contest and shared their personal views on Germany’s reunification.
A number of photography collections presented exciting and artistic snapshots from 1990 and offered insights into the changing face of Berlin over the past 30 years. There were also exciting discussions with people of immigrant backgrounds, who shared their experiences of life in the GDR and the events of 1989/90, as well as addressing contemporary issues around migration.
A festival of film: From music documentaries to international short films
You could make the most out of November with screenings of film classics by Thomas Brasch, insider tips from international filmmakers, and many other works of film art.
Among the gems on screen this autumn: the documentary film “Der Baltische Weg” about the Lithuanian rock band “Antis”, “A Wall Within” by Canadian director Catherine Veaux-Logeat about a turbulent family history, and Can Candan’s documentary film about the immigrant Turkish community in Berlin. Six collections of international short films were also shown in cooperation with interfilm. All of the short films were subtitled, enabling international guests to explore different aspects of the history of the Peaceful Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Music of all genres and a diverse theatre programme
The festival’s music programme spanned the genres of blues, rock, classical music and much more. With iconic voices like Patti Smith, popular GDR and FRG punk bands like “Zerfall” and “Fehlfarben” as well as the young indie guitar band “Isolation Berlin”. Theatre-goers had a lot to look forward to, including Hakan Savaş Mican’s “Die Schwäne vom Schlachthof” and the theatre collective “Panzerkreuzer Rotkäppchen”, which brought the GDR’s largest legal demonstration to life as a “Theatre of Revolution”. And these were just two highlights from a host of events…
Guided tours with live speakers available at all locations
Live speakers offered a unique way of engaging with history and provided background information at each site in both German and English. Special guided tours were also available in different neighbourhoods, including an audio walk on the gay and lesbian scene in the GDR and a tour of the Stasi Museum on the subject of surveillance and data archives. The programme included guided tours in plain language at the East Side Gallery.
Participation across the generations
Spaces for participation and dialogue were a special feature of this festival, including numerous workshops for adults, children and young people. Participants could go in search of answers to questions of identity or playfully reflect on everyday objects from the past that make history tangible. The workshop “Grenzenlos” (Borderless), for example, was aimed at people who would like to perform in the Berlin version of the street-theatre piece MAUERRISSE. “Delphic Art Wall – bunt statt grau” offered younger visitors to create their own images of freedom, diversity and tolerance. At these and other events, visitors could engage with contemporary witnesses, who experienced events at first-hand, and learn how to express their own concerns in a creative way.
Over 200 events across all of the festival venues were barrier-free. Events at the former Stasi headquarters were held in Building 22 and could only be reached by stairs.
Multi-language services were available at many events, including subtitles, sign language translations, or audio descriptions. For further information on this, see the calendar of events.