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Halfmoon Files

Philip Scheffner, Germany 2006, 87 Min., OV with English subs
Followed by a talk with Dr. Kien Nghi Ha, Merle Kröger and Philip Scheffner

Not far from Berlin, the voice of the British colonial soldier Mall Singh was recorded on December 11th 1916 in the prisoner of war camp Wünsdorf. The recordings, commissioned by the military, science and entertainment industry, were part of the sound archive “All Peoples of the World”. Today they are housed in the sound archive of the Humboldt University Berlin and refer to the colonial character of the First World War and the camp: In order to present itself as a caring colonial power, Germany’s first mosque for religious practices was built in the halfmoon camp for African, Arab and (South) Asian prisoners. At the same time, the camp and its inmates were used as film sets for German colonial propaganda. Halfmoon Files traces these blurred colonial connections in the Berlin area.

Philip Scheffner has been working as a visual artist since 1985. His feature-length artistic documentaries The Halfmoon Files (2007), The Day of the Sparrow (2010), Revision (2012), And-Ek Ghes... (2016), and Havarie (2016) have been screened worldwide and won numerous awards. Since 2021 he is Professor of Documentary Practices at the KHM Cologne. His new film Europe premiered at the Berlinale in 2022. Scheffner is part of the Berlin production platform / collective pong (together with Merle Kröger, Alex Gerbaulet, Caroline Kirberg and Mareike Bernien).

Merle Kröger works as an author, dramaturge and curator in Berlin and has been part of pong Film since 2001. She also works as a university lecturer in Halle and Mainz. She has published five novels, including Grenzfall (2012), Havarie (2015) and Die Experten (2021). As a curator, she has worked with Arsenal Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V. since 2007 on projects including Work in Progress, Living Archive, and Die fünfte Wand. Navina Sundaram: Innenansichten einer Außenseiterin oder Außenansichten einer Innenseiterin, which received a nomination for the Grimme Online Award 2022. www.merlekroeger.de