On the night of May 26th, 2012 some of the inhabitants of the social flats at Kottbusser Tor, mainly neighbours of Turkish origin, built a protest house made of Euro-pallets. They called the construction “Gecekondu”, which means “built over night” in Turkish. Through the squatting of a public square in the middle of Kreuzberg, the renter initiative Kotti & Co started a protest still visible today and have thus managed to put the issue of social house building and the expulsion of people with low income on the political agenda. People with very different biographies and political opinions started talking with one another and sharing their stories. Prejudices were replaced by a positive uncertainty, neighbours became friends.
Miete essen Seele auf is documenting two years of neighbourly self-organization and protest. The initiative demands limitations for the rent and the return of social flats into the property of the state. The film, made by Angelika Levi and Christoph Dreher, connects the question of urban living with the history of migration and highlights the link between racism and urban expulsion.
Angelika Levi is a filmmaker, dramaturgist, editor and lecturer. Since 1985, Levi's films have been shown at international film festivals, in exhibitions and in cinemas and have won several awards. On 5th September her film My Life part 2 (2003) will be screened at the Festival Archival Assembly in Berlin.
Sandy Kaltenborn and his neighbors at Kottbusser Tor founded the tenant community Kotti & Co in 2011. He is involved in the fight for social housing in Berlin. Besides, he is a communication designer and has been running the office image-shift.net for 13 years. He grew up in the Middle East, lived in San Francisco before the dot-com gentrification wave and has been living in Berlin-Kreuzberg for 23 years.