Kenya in Berlin How the Berlinale Experience Validates the Novice

Berlinale-Blogger Mugambi Nthiga
© Mugambi Nthiga

It’s been six days in Berlin. During this time, I’ve met new people, taken selfies next to historical sites, sampled new cuisine and watched several films. 

Film brought me here and now I am inundated by it. There is not a single place one can turn to and not be met by evidence of the Berlinale. The red bear is ubiquitous, arms bared, with a memorable film experience waiting on the other end of its claws.

One among many believing in the power of film

When I received my accreditation on arrival—a blue nametag attached to an orange and silver lanyard—I thought I was the most special person in Berlin. A walk in the city a few minutes later showed that I was a face in the crowd. The tags are everywhere. The delegates are in the hundreds. The patrons are in the thousands.
I am part of a team of 25 filmmakers, programmers, journalists and curators from around the world. We have had conversations about youth filmmaking in Lebanon, short film festivals in Tehran, the power of Bollywood, and avant-garde filmmaking movements I knew nothing about. Most of these conversations have been held in lounges, restaurants, corridors, or on platforms at train stations.
I will be back home in a couple of days, and my life will shift back to the mundane task of finding jobs to pay rent and justifying my “short-lived” passion. When the humdrum sets in, I will remind myself that I was one person in a global multitude, united by the belief that film is powerful, important and necessary, wherever one comes from.