We are pleased to welcome Black German director Branwen Okpako as our special guest at the 2022 German Studies Association conference in Houston, TX. There will be two possibilities to meet her.


ARTS NIGHT: The Visible Voice: The Films of Branwen Okpako

This year’s ARTS NIGHT will present three events to kick off the 2022 GSA conference: a photo exhibit, Visualizing Translation: Homeland and Heimat in Detroit and Dortmund, curated by Kristin Dickinson (U Mich); a reading by prize-winning novelist Olga Grjasnowa; and our program, The Visible Voice: The Films of Branwen Okpako


Our screenings and Q&A with Okpako will start at 8:30 pm in Room 335-C. Two films will be shown: the short Landing (Germany, 1997, 11 min.) is a story about a young Afro-German woman who wakes up to discover that she is invisible; the documentary The Curse of Medea (Germany, 2014, 44 min.) interweaves a discussion between the director and (East) German author Christa Wolf about a film based on Wolf’s novel Medea: A Modern Retelling and actors readings parts of the play. The following Q+A with the director will be moderated by Sara Lennox (UMass Amherst) and Emily Frazier-Rath (Davidson, BGHRA). We hope to see you there!


This event is co-sponsored by the German Film Office, the Black German Heritage and Research Center (BGHRA), Rice University's Dept. of Modern and Classical Languages and Cultures, the DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst and GSA. 


You can download the ARTS NIGHT program below. 


Panel: “The Films of Branwen Okpako”

Young researchers will explore the stories and rich imagery in the films of director Branwen Okpako for the first time at GSA. The panel builds on the program with Branwen Okpako that was part of the DEFA Film Library’s 2020-21 virtual film festival, Black Lives in Germany: Resilience – Art – Hope. The Q&A from that event is available in FILMBOX, our free Digital Teaching Archive. 



  • Karina Griffith (U Toronto): “Transcending Our Colors: ‘Hyper(in)visibility’ in Branwen Okpako’s Landing” 
  • Jeffrey Wallen (Hampshire): “Not Clueless: Branwen Okpako’s Tal der Ahnungslosen"
  • Bisola Ajibade (U Florida): “Race and Policing in Branwen Okpako’s Dreckfresser
  • Mariana Ivanova (UMass): “Medea’s Black and White Voices: Representation in Branwen Okpako’s Film The Curse of Medea


The panel will take place from 8-10 am on Fri., Sept. 16, in Room 335-A, with Sara Lennox (UMass Amherst) moderating and Emily Frazier-Rath (Davidson, BGHRA) commentating. It is co-sponsored by BGHRA and the DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst.


You can watch the recording of the 2020/21 Black Lives in Germany film festival discussion with director Branwen Okpako, moderated by Tiffany N. Florvil (Univ. of New Mexico), on FILMBOX, our Digital Teaching Archive.



PDF icon Arts NIght 2022_FLYER.pdf

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