| Willy Brandt School of Public Policy

Christchild: Brandt School Students Produce Short Film with Ado Hasanović

“Christchild” is the debut short film for a group of students from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy.

The story, written by Sophia Tomany ’20, follows the story of Aya, a 16-year-old auditioning for the esteemed role of the Christchild in the weeks leading up to Christmas. What sets Aya apart from the others auditioning is that she does not look like girls who have historically auditioned for the role: Aya is black. The film engages an important conversation about identity, integration and culture in Germany. The scenes seek to portray the experience of a young girl combatting these microagressions and discriminatory misperceptions in the pursuit of her dream to become the Christchild.

Dreharbeiten Christchild

The film is a culminating project for the class “Songs and Movies of War and Peace,” an elective course led by Prof. Dr. Solveig Richter of the Conflict Studies program at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy. Students worked on scripts and storyboards, casting and the filming process. Students participated in a two-day workshop during which they collaboratively produced the “Christchild” production.  Ado Hasanović, an award-winning director and filmmaker from Bosnia and Herzegovina oversaw the workshop. Along with his collaborator and director of photography, Leonardo Kurtz, the whole team filmed all of the scenes within the course of two short days. Students of the course were taught basics of filming, sound recording and directing and encouraged to participate in creative decision-making throughout the process.

The filming of “Christchild” has already brought some interest from local Thuringen press. MDR broadcasted a short news segment about the filming and significance of the story. The film is expected to be completed by the end of spring, with plans to hold a premiere showing in Erfurt in early summer.

Solveig Richter
Prof. Dr. Solveig Richter
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