Documentary | DE (2019) | 91min
Imagine that your parents are white but your skin colour is dark and they tell you that ’s pure coincidence. This is what happened to a girl in East Berlin in the 1960s. Years before, a group of African men came to study in a village nearby. Here the East German woman Sigrid falls in love with Lucien from Togo and gets pregnant. But she is already married to Armin.
The child is filmmaker Ines Johnson-Spain. Meeting her stepfather Armin and others from her childhood years, she tracks the astonishing strategies of denial her parents and the surroundings had developed. In an intimate portrayal but also critical exploration she brings together painful and confusing childhood memories with matter-of-fact accounts that testify a culture of rejection and tight-lipped denial. Yet, the movingly warm encounters with her Togolese family develop Becoming Black also into a reflection on themes such as identity, social norms and family ties, seen from a very personal perspective.
Director: Ines Johnson-Spain
Editor: Yana Höhnerbach
Camera: Anne Misselwitz, Sebastian Winkels
Sound: Ulla Kösterke
Producer: Anahita Nazemi
Production: Kobalt Documentary GmbH
World Sales Company: RUSHLAKE MEDIA GmbH
World Premiere: IDFA Amsterdam 2019
Premiere Germany: 37th IFFF Cologne | Dortmund 2020
IDFA Amsterdam 18. – 29. November 2019
AFI New African Film Festival at Silver Theatre 5. – 19. März
Festival International de films de femmes, Créteil 13. – 22. März
Internationales Frauenfilm Festival Köln/Dortmund 24. – 29. März