The Berlin International Film Festival has issued a statement regarding its decision to invite two elected members of the German far-right Alternative for Germany party to the opening ceremony of the 74th Berlinale.
The festival confirmed that AfD members Kristin Brinker and Ronald Gläse were invited to the opening ceremony on Feb. 15, but that Berlinale “stands for basic democratic values and against right-wing extremism.”
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In a statement sent to Variety, Berlinale says that “both the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Berlin Senate receive invitation quotas for the Berlinale, which are allocated to the democratically elected members of all parties in the Bundestag and House of Representatives. It was against this background that the AfD representatives were invited to the Berlinale.”
The 74th Berlinale will run Feb. 15-24, with Lupita Nyong’o presiding over the main jury.
Read Berlinale’s full statement, which was first reported by Deadline:
The Berlinale stands for basic democratic values and against right-wing extremism and supports all demonstrations and other initiatives against the undemocratic currents. We clearly reject right-wing extremist or right-wing populist thinking and are concerned to observe that anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim resentment, hate speech and other anti-democratic attitudes are on the rise in Germany. For weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have been taking to the streets in Germany to defend our democracy and our values. This sends a clear signal of how the majority in Germany thinks and opposes right-wing populism and anti-democracy.
A number of members and representatives of the AfD hold positions that are deeply anti-democratic and contradict the values of the Berlinale and the values of our employees. We are committed to opposing all forms of exclusion and discrimination and consistently stand up for the values of an open-minded and liberal democracy.
As for the invitations of AFD members to the opening of the Berlinale:
Members of the AfD were elected to the Bundestag and the Berlin House of Representatives in the last elections. Accordingly, they are also represented in political cultural committees and other bodies. That is a fact, and we have to accept it as such. Both the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Berlin Senate receive invitation quotas for the Berlinale, which are allocated to the democratically elected members of all parties in the Bundestag and House of Representatives. It was against this background that the AfD representatives were invited to the Berlinale.
People – including elected representatives – who act contrary to our fundamental values are not welcome at the Berlinale. We will express this clearly and emphatically in a personal letter to the AfD representatives as well as on other occasions.
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