Monday 5, February
Berlinale under fire after for invitations to far-right AfD
This weekend saw protests in Berlin which drew at least 150,00 people to the streets in order to make it clear that the far-right AfD party is not welcome in the city. The same cannot be said, however, for one of the city’s most important cultural events. The Berlin International Film Festival has drawn criticism for extending invitations to controversial members of the AfD: Berlin state chairwoman Kristin Brinker and her deputy, Roland Briller.
Just a few weeks ago, a speech by Brinker was greeted by a mass walk-out from her parliamentary colleagues in the House of Representatives following revelations that she met with the same far-right figures who presented the controversial “remigration” plans at the secret meeting in Potsdam last November.
Berlinale has not rescinded the invitations, but it has issued a statement opposing “any form of exclusion and discrimination” and clarifying that “people – including elected officials – who act contrary to these fundamental values are not welcome at the Berlinale.” They have also stated that they will be writing personal letters to AfD representatives to reaffirm these values.
But why did Berlinale extend these invitations in the first place? Apparently, the state culture minister and the Berlin Senate each receive a set number of invitations, which are then distributed among all democratically elected parties. This explanation, however, did not satisfy signatories to an open letter published online on Friday, who claimed the invitations were another example of the hostile and hypocritical environment for art and culture in Berlin.