Thematic Series


Our thanks to the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Boston, the Goethe-Institute Boston and  co-sponsors at UMass Amherst: Film Studies; German & Scandinavian Studies; Music & Dance; and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. Thanks also to the artists, curator Kevina King, and the DEFA Film Library team, who are all making this film festival possible.

Black Lives in Germany

Resilience - Art - Hope

A virtual Black German Film Festival,

October 2020 - April 2021


In solidarity with the international Black Lives Matter movement, the DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst is pleased to announce a virtual Black German Film Festival. Showcasing films by Black German filmmakers, actors, scholars and activists, Black Lives in Germany: Resilience, Art and Hope offers viewers a bold and refreshing look at the diversity of the Black diaspora and contemporary Germany.


All virtual events in English and free and open to the public. Each virtual event includes a Vimeo film screening, followed by a Zoom Webinar Q+A and discussion with filmmakers and other guests.


Stay tuned for our Spring 2021 events!






EVENT I - October 22, 2020



Audre Lorde, May Ayim and the Black German Movement. A webinar discussion with director Dagmar Schultz and author Ika Hügel-Marshall, hosted by Sara Lennox (UMass Amherst). Introduced by curator Kevina King.


Dagmar Schultz grew up in West Berlin, where she studied at the Free University before studying film, television and journalism at the Univ. of Michigan startin gin 1963. In 1974, she co-founded Orlanda Verlag in Berlin.


Ika Hügel-Marshall is an Afro-German activist and author of the autobiography Daheim unterwegs: Ein deutsches Leben (available as: Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany). It chronicles her experiences growing up and won the Audre Lorde Literary Award; she has presented it throughout Germany, Austria and the U.S.


Host Sara Lennox is Prof. Emerita of German Studies at UMass Amherst. Her books include Remapping Black Germany: New Perspectives on Afro-German History, Politics, and Culture (2016).



Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years 1984-1992

(Audre Lorde – Die Berliner Jahre 1984–1992, 2012, Germany, dir. Dagmar Schultz, script Ika Hügel-Marshall, ed. Aletta von Vietinghoff, 79 min., color, EN ST)

This award-winning documentary explores a little-known chapter in the life of the prolific African-American author Audre Lorde (1934-92), who lived in Berlin in the 1980s. Lorde, who described herself as "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet," helped ignite the Afro-German Movement and made lasting contribtuions to the German political and cultural scene before and after unification.


Hope In My Heart – The May Ayim Story

(Hoffnung im Herz. Mündliche Poesie - May Ayim, 1997, Germany, dir. Maria Binder, co-prod. Dagmar Schultz, 29 min. color EN ST)

A portrait of the Ghanaian-German poet, academic and political activist May Ayim (1960-95). One of the founders of the Black German Movement, Ayim became known in Germany and abroad for her political poetry and her research on the history and present situation of Afro-Germans. Strongly connected to other Black poets of the diaspora, she explored and expanded the genre of oral poetry / spoken word, confronting white German society with its prejudices.



EVENT II - November 5, 2020



A discussion with director Sheri Hagen and hosts Rosemarie Peña and Kevina King about reframing diversity in German cinema and Hagen's film At Second Glance.


Sheri Hagen was born in Lagos, Nigeria and grew up in Hamburg, Germany; she studied drama in Hamburg and Vienna. Since 1996, Hagen has played many roles in German film and television, as well as on stage. She launched her directorial career in 2007, writing all her own scripts and financing films through her production company, Equality Film. At Second Glance was Hagen's first full-length feature film as a director.


Rosemarie Peña holds a PhD in Childhood Studies from Rutgers University-Camden. Her research centers on transnational adoption and child migration. A member of the postwar cohort of German-born Black adoptees to the U.S., Rosemarie is also the founding president of the Black German Heritage and Research Association (BGHRA).


  • FILM


At Second Glance

(Auf den zweiten Blick, 2013, Germany, dir. Sheri Hagen, 92 min., color, English subtitles)


Berlin, a multicultural city that is creative and full of movement can also be lonely and anonymous. Weaving together the stories of Kay and Falk, Benjamin and Elena, and Till and Pan—three visually impaired couples—At Second Glance offers an intimate portrayal of the interdependent and isolating nature of human relationships.





please email Kevina King

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