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Foto: OSTKREUZ

Film/ Discussion

OSTKREUZ stands for socially engaged documentary photography with passion and the willingness to take a stance toward reality. With the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc 25 years ago, seven East German photographers joined together as a collective to form what would become the most important and best-known photographic agency in Germany. Their model was the legendary Parisian agency Magnum. OSTKREUZ has long been more than a strictly East Berlin photographic agency. It now has 18 members—an artistically, personally, and biographically diverse group of European explorers. They all have their own individual approaches to their work, but what unites them is their humanistic view of the world. Maik Reichert has been accompanying seven of the OSTKREUZ photographers for years with his camera to document the unique work ethos of the agency as expressed in their photography. His documentary tells the extraordinary story of three generations of photographers both with and without the Wall.
 
The focus of this filmic portrait is on Ute Mahler and Werner Mahler, who were putting together a comprehensive exhibition of their work comprising 500 photographs at the time of filming. Like the other founders, they had been working independently as early as 1990 to document the lives of people in the GDR. Harald Hauswald transports the viewer back to this era with his lively recollections and unique black-and-white photographs. Annette Hauschild’s work deals with the rootlessness of the Roma. Maurice Weiss often photographs in the Bundestag. In 2013, he was able to document the announcement of the initial parliamentary election results at the SPD headquarters on the evening of the elections. Julian Röder also works in the political sphere. He mingles with protesters at demonstrations and attempts to take a position with his photographs. Linn Schröder shows a different kind of borderline experience: that of one’s own body. Of all the OSTKREUZ photographers, she ventures furthest into the private sphere.
 
What all these photographers share in common is a focus on boundaries—whether political, physical, or imaginary. The documentary film takes an intimate look at these seven photographers and shows how our visual world is shaped by their socially engaged contemporary photography. It also shows how important precise documentary work can be in the present day and age.

Begin 8 pm
Discussion Maik Reichert, Werner Mahler, Maurice Weiss, Stephanie Steinkopf
Presentation Claudia Lenssen
Admission 10 Euro . Online-Ticket
Place Amerika Haus . Hardenbergstr. 22–24 . 10623 Berlin

Film BRD, 2014 . 89 minutes . with englisch subtitles, director and camera Maik Reichert
Producers nachtaktivfilm, rbb/arte, Brigitte Kramer and Jörg Jeshel
Renting Agency GMfilms