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Our guest on 11.05.2008

Mo Asumang, Filmmaker

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Mo Asumang became a familiar face on German television when she hosted a popular show on one of the country’s private tv channels in the late 90s. Her latest feature film "Roots Germania" was a nationwide success and was nominated for the Grimme Prize, Germany’s most important TV award.

She was born in the central German town of Kassel in Hessen. Her parents got divorced soon after she was born. She was put in the care of foster parents and her grandmother was a strong influence throughout all of her childhood.

A tall German woman of African descent, Mo Asumang originally wanted to become a basketball star, but knee injuries stopped her career at a very early stage. She began studying graphics design at Kassel University only to move to swinging Berlin in the early 80s. She enrolled in singing classes and financed her further education by driving a cab. Towards the end of the 90s she hosted her first show on German television. In parallel she used to run an "en vogue" celebrity hangout called "Seven Lounge".

Happy times ended when she received a death threat in the form of expressive song lyrics by a German Neo-Nazi music band. Massive hostility made her question her own existence and directly raised her curiosity about her ancestors` history.

Feeling that the color of her skin seemed to distinguish her from her fellow Germans she now wanted to shed more light on her bi-cultural background.

The "Roots Germania" film is a documentary of one`s desire to learn more about one’s past in general and Mo Asumang’s longing to find her identity between her German and Ghanaian background in particular. This process also helped her overcome a psychological crisis in the wake of the death threat. Nowadays she doesn't have any problems saying "We Germans".

The film’s importance was widely acknowledged. Mo Asumang was nominated for the Grimme Prize. Since then she’s also started a program in schools, showing her film and discussing questions of identity and integration with an ever-widening audience.

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