Addressing the effect of the war in Gaza on the national cultural scene

Since its inception, we, the team of Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg, have seen our festival as a space of artistic freedom and freedom of expression, of critical debate and encounters characterised by mutual respect.

We are publishing this statement as a reaction to a climate which is increasingly marked by division and pressure, particularly within the German cultural sector. This has led to a palpable restriction of agency for institutions and cultural workers. We strongly oppose politically motivated interference by third parties in programming decisions as well as demands for background checks on potential participants.

We take a clear stance against all forms of group-related misanthropy, such as ableism, ageism, anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Semitism*, discrimination of LGBTQIA+ individuals, classism, racism and sexism, as well as against all forms of physical and verbal violence. Creating and maintaining conditions that foster these principles requires ongoing, shared efforts and proactive, self-reflective behaviour from everyone involved in the festival. Texts such as the present one are no substitute for this essential work, though they do offer the opportunity to take a conscious position both internally and externally.

Our scene is diverse. Our actions as political beings can take on different forms, whether loud and explicit, or in the background and implicit. We respect the decision of all those who have opted to suspend their co-operation with German institutions in solidarity with the Palestinian people. We join the unconditional demand for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all hostages.

We want to preserve Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg as a place that reflects the diversity of artistic perspectives and attitudes, so that we can continue to share different experiences with one another.

This text was formulated on the basis of the Code of Ethics of the European Media Art Festival (EMAF). We endorse the words of our colleagues and would like to thank them for laying this groundwork.

*According to the working definition of the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (https://jerusalemdeclaration.org/)

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