| Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, International, Studium

Short film "Christchild" celebrates premiere at the Brandt School

It is her debut - and an impressive one at that: students of the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of erfurt have produced a short film together with director Ado Hasanović. Its title: "Christchild".

The story, written by Sophia Tomany, is the story of Aya, a 16-year-old girl who auditions for the role of Christ Child in the weeks leading up to Christmas. What makes Aya different from the other girls who audition is that she does not look like girls who have auditioned for the role in the past: Aya is black.

The Christ Child is a traditional figure of the Christmas season throughout Europe. In Nuremberg the Christkind traditionally opens the Christmas market. Every year, girls aged between 16 and 19 apply for this role and undergo a series of "castings" to secure the prestigious position. In the end, the winner is the one who best represents the spirit of the community. Throughout the Christmas Market, the Christ Child makes several performances, visits people in hospitals, schools and nursing homes. This also includes television interviews and visits to neighbouring towns. The Christkind is of great importance in many parts of Germany. So much so that there have been recent controversies after a German girl of Indian descent took over the role of the Nuremberg Christ Child in 2019. The 17-year-old Beninga Munsi was subjected to harsh racist hostilities by a local district association of the AfD party. Nuremberg's Lord Mayor Ulrich Maly condemned the statements as openly racist. Beninga Munsi also received overwhelming support from her community and from all over Germany. The film "Christkind" now takes up the ongoing controversy about identity, integration and culture and tries to bring to life the experiences of a young girl who, in pursuing her dream of becoming the Christ Child, fights against these microaggressions and discriminatory prejudices.

The film is also the final project for the course "Songs and Films of War and Peace" under the direction of Prof. Dr. Solveig Richter. In the course the students investigated how war and the search for peace make conflict a topic of interest for both independent and Hollywood films. One of the central goals was to gain a deeper understanding of how a conflict portrayed on screen or through music exerts political and social influence on society. One way to deal with this concept was to make a film that addresses the issue of discrimination. The students worked on scripts and storyboards, and after they had decided on a script that they felt best represented the topic, they continued with the casting and filming process. In a two-day workshop, "Christchild" was then produced - together with Ado Hasanović, an award-winning director and filmmaker from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and cameraman Leonardo Kurtz. In this way, the students were able to learn a lot about the basics of film, sound recording and directing, in addition to dealing with the topic of "conflicts".

Solveig Richter: "The film is an important contribution to the current discussion about diversity and discrimination, about cultural identity and integration in Germany. The film will celebrate its premiere at the Commitment Award ceremony of the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy on July 9, 2020, at 6 pm. The event will be streamed live, and the film will also be available online at https://www.facebook.com/commitmentaward. Afterwards it will be shown primarily at national and international short film festivals. A teaser is already available at https://youtu.be/jym8s2dCff8.