Experiencing Interruptions?

Ukungu

A few years ago, while dealing with Tanzania and German colonialism, I came across the Maji Maji War and its devastating consequences for the people in East Africa. On a trip to Tanzania in February/March 2020, I found out that the children in Tanzania were told about the genocide - and afterwards I was shocked at how little of it can be heard or seen in the culture of remembrance in the Federal Republic of Germany. I am concerned with expanding the culture of remembrance towards multi-perspective and inclusive remembrance. This part of the past is massively repressed in Germany. Therefore, I would like to use this platform and the familiarity from previous films to draw attention to this genocide and its victims. At first I used the medium of the music video here, but it turns into a medium of enlightenment. The pictures were taken on the trip in 2020, the texts are largely from a publication by the Federal Agency for Civic Education on the Maji Maji War. The music comes from the Collective.
The film uses images of a herd of elephants taken while traveling on a safari in northern Tanzania. The fortress nature conservation that I supported is a colonial concept, too. It is also unaffordable for my relatives who live in Tanzania to go on a nature safari in their country.
In the film I apologize for the actions of my ancestors. I think that being part of a community also means sharing responsibility for its past and its crimes and injustices. In Germany there is a special poison in dealing with the colonial past. Those who (also) deal with the colonial past are quickly accused of relativizing the Holocaust in its singularity. I don't want that and nobody I know does. On the contrary, people who have already dealt with the Shoah and who continue to do so often deal with the colonial past.

"Film directed by Johannes Horak about European colonialism and the damage covered up and ignored by Europe in Africa, focusing on East Africa and the Maji Maji War. After a visually kaleidoscopic start with electronic music and multiscreen, symbolic and dazzling, Johanned Horak appears in the first person without any artifice looking at the camera. Sincere, humble and moving, Ukungu is a film committed to the importance of memory and justice." Ficimad-22-Magazine

Link to the publication:
https://www.bpb.de/kurz-knapp/hintergrund-aktuell/209829/vor-115-jahren-der-maji-maji-aufstand/

Update:

On November 1, 2023, in Songea, Federal President Steinmeier asks for forgiveness for the colonial crimes and promises the return of the remains. This is a very important first step. Steinmeier also says:
“Nobody should forget what happened back then”
It is a call to the state and German civil society to develop formats for joint remembrance. This is my last film. I will now work to ensure that there is a place in the east of Stuttgart that at least tries to comply with this request.

There are a number of people who have been trying to make the blind spot visible for many years. The theater works by Sophia Stepf and Conradin Kunze, for example, really impressed me and made me think.

  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Music Video, Short
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 25 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 26, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    20 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Germany
  • Country of Filming:
    Germany, Tanzania, United Republic of
  • Language:
    English, Swahili
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Paris Shorts Film Awards
    Paris
    France
    April 2, 2022
    Official Selection
  • London International Monthly Film Festival
    London
    United Kingdom
    January 25, 2023
    Honorable Mention
  • EdiPlay International Film Festival
    Paris
    France
    April 24, 2022
    Finalist
  • Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival
    Athen
    Greece
    November 10, 2022
    Honorable Mention
  • GOLDEN HORSE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
    SIVAGANGAI
    India
    May 15, 2022
    Award: Best Director
  • Seoul International Monthly Film Festival
    Seoul
    Korea, Republic of
    May 14, 2022
    Award: Best Art Film
  • FICIMAD
    Madrid
    Spain
    June 9, 2022
    Award: Best Inspirational Film
  • BIMIFF - Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival
    Rio de Janero
    Brazil
    June 15, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Sundarban International Film Festival
    Kolkata
    India
    June 25, 2022
    Award
  • Beyond Border International Film Festival
    Kokatta
    India
    August 8, 2022
    Award Winner
  • Cynon Valley Film Festival
    Aberdare
    United Kingdom
    October 14, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Florence International Film Festival
    Florence
    Italy
    December 2, 2022
  • Moonlight Film Awards
    Brooklyn, New York
    United States
    January 20, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Milasa Film Festival
    Lara
    Turkey
    April 22, 2023
    Turkey Premiere
    Award: Best Experimental
  • The Tylerman International Film Festival
    Wheaton
    United States
    April 4, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Andromeda Film Festival
    Istanbul
    Turkey
    May 1, 2023
    Award: Best Experimental
  • Milan Shorts Film Festival
    Milan
    Italy
    July 28, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Venus Community Awards
    Istanbul
    Turkey
    May 17, 2023
    Nominee
  • Close Film Festival
    Doğu
    Azerbaijan
    May 31, 2023
    Award: Best Director
  • Mannheim Arts and Film Festival
    Mannheim
    Germany
    May 12, 2024
    Honorable Mention
Director Biography

During my first studies (pedagogy, philosophy) I earned money as a film presenter for an arthouse cinema (more than 500 movies) and for the Filmakademie Baden- Württemberg.
In Winter 2015/16 I was traveling trough South and Central Vietnam and there - in contact with another culture - I developed own compositions of moving pictures. During this time I also started to deal with europe's colonial past and its effects today. Today I am studying psychoanalysis.

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Director Statement

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