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Greetings at an unusual meeting: Speed ​​dating is about to take place here in the “Fotografiska

museum on the edge of the Berlinale: Black actors meet predominantly white casters for a kind of clarifying conversation.


“Let’s also tell the story that we grew up here too.

We are part of it too and don't always have to have this illusion, we come from somewhere else.

That’s what always bothers me.”

Marion Haack, caster:

»It totally depends on the role.

But of course we would like to occupy you as, I say, German citizens.

You were born here, raised here and finished.

Why should you speak a different language now?”

Caster Marion Haack and actress Benita Baily from the Black Filmmakers Association organized the event - a first for both:

Marion Haack, caster:

»There are still hurdles that need to be overcome, even in 2024.

There is resistance at various decision-making levels and you are feeling it massively.

And we’re always a bit caught between two chairs.”

Benita Bailey, actress:

»My hope is that people are brave.

And I mean both sides, so to speak, the actors, the film-makers, but also the casting directors, to simply honestly ask the questions that they have and that have perhaps been bothering them for a long time.

But where there isn’t the framework to provide it.”

The organizers of the meeting estimate that there are around 1,000 black filmmakers in German-speaking countries.

There are 60 Afro-German actors, directors and producers and eight casters taking part in the speed dating.

After twenty minutes the groups are swapped for three rounds.

One of the participants is Annabelle Mandeng.

The 52-year-old is an actress and presenter who plays in German and international productions.

Annabelle Mandeng, actress:

"Because, above all, I'm a thoroughbred athlete, I do my own stunts, i.e. boxing, kickboxing, horse riding, and I have sword fighting experience because I took part in Walhalla."

Annabelle Mandeng, actress:

»In the nineties I was only ever offered roles.

Prostitutes such as cleaning ladies or refugees.

I always rejected them.

Thank God I have a second source of support: moderation.

So I was able to take my time and it wasn't until I was in my late 40s that I really got my breakthrough with a film in Berlin Alexanderplatz and am now shooting nationally and internationally.

These roles are now in the form.

You don't even dare to do that anymore, and that's a good thing!


Benita Bailey, actress:

»I can sometimes speak broken German, but you can see and hear how I'm speaking.

And then when you're only offered these roles, it's strange because that's not what you studied acting for.

And I think that's a bit of the problem.

And I don't think what we're asking for is anything inhuman, it's actually that we just want to have the same opportunities as everyone else.

We don't want to be treated better in some way, but just the same.

But in order to do that, we first have to get to the starting line where the others are already.


German society is diverse and this should also be seen in film and television productions.

Black filmmakers want more diverse casts, especially in larger, more complex roles.

Because the same people would often be seen in these roles.

The association also repeatedly criticizes the Berlinale - for example for showing racist films or, this year, for inviting AfD politicians.

A positive development: There will be a black jury president in 2024:

Lupita Nyongo, actress:

"Well, not only am I the president, I learned that I'm also the first Black female president, right?"

Annabelle Mandeng, actress:

»Everyone writes about it.

For the first time, a black woman president is like we're somehow aliens or something, but it has a signal effect and it's important.


The club wants to repeat the speed dating between casters and filmmakers.

And perhaps we will soon see more diverse faces in major roles in German film and television productions.