"Berlin: Refuge and Music" - Ahmed Yacoubs Film about Buskers in Berlin

Fascinated by the street art community, CrossCulture Internships Programme alumnus Ahmed Yacoub from Giza (Egypt) took the chance and produced his own video documentary, called "Berlin: Refuge and Music". During his internship with Vice Media (2015), he went on the hunt for new footage every day after work. Watch his strong movie and read some comments about his projects here.

Ahmed, how would you describe the production process of your video documentary?

The idea came from my fascination for Berlin and the amount of freedom that the people enjoy there. I decided to film this freedom of expression and freedom of performance from a non-german perspective. So, I asked for a camera from Vice Media and went on the streets everyday after work. I met several musicians and interviewed them separately. To my astonishment, it turned out that they all know each other! One day, one of them invited me to a jam session in the subways of Rosenthaler Straße. I went to the office at night, took the camera and went with the musicians again.

What were your friends’ reactions to your video?

My idea about the street as an Egyptian (and it’s the same idea for some of my friends too), is that it’s a place for going to or coming from a place. I never thought about it as a place for self-expression or art performance. If I try to do street photography in Cairo, for example, I need to be aware of that I might go to jail or being investigated by a policeman soon or later. This actually happened a lot to me there. But in Berlin, I was just enjoying walking on the streets watching artistic works or listening to music and taking photos. Most of my friends were fascinated, exactly like me, by the multiculturalism and freedom that the young people enjoy.

Now, after you have spent some time in the German capital, how would you describe the atmosphere that street-artists encounter when coming to  Berlin?

Actually, I decided to do the film from the perspective of a non-German, because the artists from all over the world come to Berlin to enjoy the freedom. They can perform their artwork without interruption. Ahmed, the Syrian rapper, shared with me that he couldn’t rap in Syria anymore. He heard that Berlin offered that freedom so he decided to go there. He was very lucky that the refugee authority allocated him to Berlin.

Ahmed Yacoub, 2015