Welcome to The Experimental Humanities Collaborative Network

Becoming Black: Film Screening and Talk with Director Ines Johnson-Spain

April 19, 2021 at 2:45 PM - 6:00 PM

On campus at Bard College Berlin, Germany.

Berlin-based filmmaker Ines Johnson-Spain presented her 2019 documentary film Becoming Black to the Bard College Berlin (BCB) community, with a follow-up Q&A focusing on the issue of identity and, more specifically, reflecting on her personal experience growing up as a black girl in a white family in East Germany. Johnson-Spain was able to explore her roots and identity through the making of this film. Filming over the course of several years, going back to the footage and re-watching, re-understanding, as well as investigating photographs and documents from the past to help grasp and (re-)shape what it meant and means to be herself are just some of the ways how this film and the event related to how technology (here filmmaking) mediates what it means to be human. Johnson-Spain’s film carries many subplots that led to a thoughtful discussion on what it means to be human in various historical (filmmaker’s childhood and present) and cultural (East Germany and Togo) contexts and how racism manifests itself locally and globally. The filmmaker also reflected on the film production process based on her experience working across three continents with a small crew, a miniscule budget, and other challenges.

Event organized by

Janina Schabig