RENT REBELS 

BERLIN  In the last years Berlin has changed a lot. Flats that once were unattractive are now being used as secure investment objects. The transformation into owner-occupied flats and massive rent increases become an everyday phenomenon. The visible tenant protests in the vibrant metropolis of Berlin are a reaction to the growing shortage of affordable housing. The movie is a kaleidoscope of the tenants’ struggles in Berlin against their displacement out of their neighbourhood communities. Ranging from the occupation of the Berlin town hall to a camp at Kottbusser Tor, the organized prevention of evictions and the struggle of senior citizens for their community center and age-appropriate flats, a new urban protest movement is on the rise.

A documentary by Gertrud Schulte Westenberg and Matthias Coers
D 2014 | 78 min. | German with English, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Greek subtitles

Background information:
To date, the movie RENT REBELS has been screened more than 300 times in Berlin cinemas. Furthermore, there are other screenings with film discussions in cooperation with neighborhood initiatives, associations, institutions and political parties – up till now around 220 events in 70 cities. In the media, the film has been discussed and commented from alternative to bourgeois press, from homeless persons’ publications, social federations’ papers or the Federal Head Office for Political Education to a speech given by Germany’s justice minister. The film lets the tenants speak with their competencies and skills, their critique and efforts against sheepishly accepting the shortage-producing housing policies and the scarcity of the housing market. The movie shall encourage the city dwellers not to surrender to feelings of powerlessness but to confidently take part in the shaping of their neighborhoods, areas and the city itself.

Up until the present moment, the independently produced film has been chosen for eight international film festivals, most recently for the MiastoMovie Festival in Wrocław/PL. At events in Berlin with tenant initiatives and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, in Munich with neighbourhood groups and the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation or in Moscow with media activists and the Goethe Institute, the filmmakers went into discussion to analyze the local and international questions of housing with the interested audience. During its 500 screenings in a wide variety of venues, such as the faculty of architecture at the University of Naples, the Royal Geographical Society in London, the Left Forum in New York and the Urbanize Festival in Vienna, it has become apparent that the problems on the Berlin and German housing market are very little known. The same goes for the commitment of its tenants and city dwellers, despite the fact that the housing question has prompted extensive social action in many regions, metropolitan areas and cities.

The website www.mietrebellen.de has an English section, where you find different articles, radio shows and reviews regarding RENT REBELS: http://rentrebels.tumblr.com/download. Find here the international trailer: http://youtu.be/skL40QXMd1A

Posted in UEL
Posted by:Carolin Genz

Carolin Genz holds a master degree in European Ethnology and Urban Cultures from Humboldt-University of Berlin (2009-2013) and is currently doing research at the Department for Cultural and Social Geography at the Humboldt-University since 2015. Her Ph.D. topic is: "Urban Resistance: Upheaval of Civil Society? Ethnographical perspectives on the transformation of urban everyday life“. Specifically, her research focuses on practices of production and appropriation of space, urban governance and digital tools of urban resistance and network practices. Furthermore, she is an academic consultant and member of the advisory board for Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity for the Senate Department of Housing and Urban Development in Berlin.

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