Twende Berlin is a documentary about urban spaces and our relationship to them as told through the eyes of a troupe of African hip-hop artists ‘Ukoo Flani‘ on their adventure through Berlin and is produced by African based filmmakers. The film is produced by Cultural Video Foundation (CVF) in collaboration with Urban Mirror. German musicians The Teichmann Brothers and a host of other German musicians are also involved.
After the success of Maskaniflani, an award-winning participatory documentary and music video about public art and public space in Kenya, the hiphop group ‘Ukoo Flani’ started to develop different projects to explore the urban space that they inhabit, using music and art. The group, is composed of 6 members and Upendo Hero (the love hero, pictured above with a love-heart in place of a head) a mysterious character invented by Ukoo Flani to spread the message of love for public space. The social issue which underpins the documentary is the importance of public space and public art in contemporary society, and how and why western metropolises are affected by the emerging phenomenon of “gentrification”.
In ‘ Twende Berlin’ which screened at CinemAfrica Sweden, Ukoo Flani and Upendo Hero discover how artists and the so-called “creative class” become unwitting pawns in the shifting fortunes of Berlin neighbourhoods. Seeking out low-rent areas they move in and shift the demographic and profile of that space. This acts as a catalyst, increasing property values which can then often mean that the original inhabitants of these neighbourhoods can no longer afford to live there. Whilst these neighbourhoods were not necessarily always cohesive communities, often, and particularly in Berlin, they are. The city is, undeniably losing something. And this is what Ukoo Flani and Upendo hero try to find out.