Black Lives in Germany

Film + Talk | Feb. 8-11, 2021




A virtual discussion with the actor and founder of Panthertainment, Tyron Ricketts, and filmmaker Denise Ekale Kum. Moderated by activist Jeff Kwasi Klein. Hosted by curator Kevina King (UMass Amherst).


Watch the recording on FILMBOX, our Digital Teaching Archive.


Tyron Ricketts is one of Germany’s most successful Black actors, with over 60 credits to his name, including: films such as Bunte Hunde and Kanack Attack; popular TV shows, like Soko Leipzig and Die Inselärztin; and the Netflix series Dogs of Berlin. After producing and hosting the hip-hop program “Word Cup” on Viva TV from 1995 to 2000, he began combining entertainment and political messaging with short film projects, such as Afrodeutsch, and the transnational anti-racism music project Brothers Keepers. With the group Mellowbag, he achieved chart-topping success with the album Weltenreiter (2012). Ricketts is the founder and managing director of the production company Panthertainment and has partnered with UFA Fiction to produce films and series for the global market focussing on stories by and about People of Color. While living in New York, he worked on social media strategies against racism for Harry Belafonte.


Denise Ekale Kum is a filmmaker and a development producer at Panthertainment. A self-taught writer-director who is enamored with the power of story in various forms, she grew up in Cameroon and Germany and has lived in Brazil and Japan. Combining rich visual experiences with character-driven narratives, she infuses her work with a unique multicultural and intersectional sensitivity. Her first shorts, Winter Solstice and Natsu’s Treasure, were screened internationally and received multiple awards. In addition to working on music videos, she is currently preparing her first feature film and working on a four-part short film series shot in Berlin and Tokyo.


Moderator Jeff Kwasi Klein has worked in a wide array of capacities and projects focusing on the environment, human rights, migration and BPoC-empowerment. He has been a policy consultant for the European Network of People of African Descent, as well as a German liaison to the UN's COP 23 Climate Change Conference. He is now project lead for Each One Teach One's anti-discrimination project Each One, which advises people of African descent living in Berlin on discrimination cases. A board member for the Migration Council of Berlin, he represents the interests of a range of (post) migrant communities vis-à-vis the city's political institutions. In the Green Party, he is co-speaker of its BPoC-empowerment network Bunt Grün and on the district board for Berlin Mitte.



●      FILMS


(Afrodeutsch. Ein Kurzfilm gegen rechte Gewalt, 2001, Germany, dir. Ayassi, script Tyron Ricketts, 11 min., color, EN ST)

This short, based on Tyron Ricketts' rap song released on the Brothers Keepers debut album, Lightkultur, portrays his experience with racist violence. After neo-Nazis murdered Alberto Adriano in Dessau in 2000, Germany's most famous Black rappers formed the hip-hop project Brothers Keepers, of which Ricketts was a member. Shown at the Sundance Film Festival.

(Afrodeutsch is available on YouTube.)


Winter Solstice

(Wintersonnenwende, 2014-15, Germany, dir. Denise Ekale Kum, 7 min., color, EN ST)

The first short film by Denise Ekale Kum, Winter Solstice explores the inward-turned fear that can infuse our emotions and actions.



Natsu's Treasure

(Natsu No Takaramono, 2017, Germany/Japan, dir. Denise Ekale Kum, 15 min., color, EN ST)

In this award-winning film about friendship, a little Black girl swims against the currents of uniformed masses in the vast city of Tokyo. She wanders through parks and temples, presses her nose against a pet shop window and, every now and then, bends down to retrieve a discarded, glittering item that, to her, is a treasure.




(2019, Germany, dir. Denise Ekale Kum, 26 min, color, EN ST)

Suza just wants to be left alone. Her once beloved red guitar, inherited from her father, has become a relentless reminder of failure. But social withdrawal isn't easy when plagued with an overbearing mother, a best friend skilled at blackmail and a nutcase screaming insults outside your window. Part of the short film series Seasons, together with Winter Solstice and Natsu’s Treasure.


Somewhere in Between Us

(2019, Germany, dir. Denise Ekale Kum, 3 min., color, music by Cloudy June)

The strong and evolcative music video for the song "Somewhere in Between Us," written and performed by indie pop artist Cloudy June.




... in our Black Lives in Germany: Resilience, Art and Hope film festival, October 2020 - April 2021.





please email curator Kevina King


This event is made possible in part by the UMass Arts Council. Other co-sponsors at UMass Amherst include Film Studies; German & Scandinavian Studies; Music & Dance; and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies.





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