Eastside Berlin: Promoting Afro-cosmopolitan culture

Germany-based filmmaker, Pius Okaba, is currently on location for the shoot of his new feature film, Eastside Berlin. He maintained that the world is focused on African entertainment and there are opportunities to tell stories from the perspective of the people.

He said, “My objective is to promote the afro-cosmopolitan culture in Berlin (Germany’s capital), and to create an opportunity for people of colour to tell their own stories.

“Berlin is among the most diverse cities in Europe, with people from various walks of life, but the afro-culture is going through a phase of cultural appreciation. If you walk the streets of Berlin, you would hear afrobeat music and you would smell the aroma of African spices from a distance. There has been a cultural shift, and right now, Africa is in focus.”

He added that the film would focus on the movement of the afro cultural community by tapping into aspects that shape their daily existence, such as music, cuisine, fashion, art and interracial relationships.

Okaba, who started his career as a model, stated that certain experiences in his childhood shaped him into who he is now. He said, “As a child, I engaged in various sporting activities. I played football and also trained as a boxer. Football was to socialise with friends, while boxing was to protect me from bullies. I was also very entrepreneurial as a child.”

He highlighted the challenges he faces shooting a feature film during a pandemic. “It has been challenging trying to wrap this film because of the lockdown and health restrictions; we had to cut down from a 73 man crew to 20 crew member, and most of the film locations were fussed to shut down. However, working with German prolific DOP (Director of Photography) Andreas Reuther, my line producer -Therese Stern and Nigerian German-based Production Manager, Emmanuel Titus, makes my life easier shooting during a lockdown with lots of uncertainty about when life will resume normalcy.”

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