GO-BAMA between Hope & Dreams
An uplifting fly-on-the-wall documentary that portrays the monumental time of change
during the Obama campaign that led up to his presidency in 2008.
by A. Rahman Satti
This film interweaves complex cultural questions with the director’s biographical legacy and becomes a source of renewed inspiration reconciling the personal and universal dream for a better world.
We follow filmmaker Satti, born to a German mother and Sudanese father and raised behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, as he embarks on a quest following the Obama campaign to find hope again.
On this epic journey, Satti encounters varied and charismatic people that give us deep insights into the political expectations that led to the Barack Obama Presidency.
Satti’s initial skepticism is often overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and spirit of the American people; nevertheless he dares to ask: “Can we really resurrect our lost hopes and dreams?”.
Director's NotesIn the summer of 2007, somewhere between Berlin's concrete jungle and its serene lakes, I listened to Obama's audio book "Dreams From My Father". I got hooked by the eloquent storytelling in this brilliant auto-biography; written in 1995.
For the son of an East German mother and a Sudanese father, the story of Obama with his Kenyan father and single mom from Kansas, was deeply moving. The impact of an absentee father on a boyish Obama was not different from my own story. Obama describes himself as a "skinny kid with a funny name" and, at some stage, told his peers that his father was an African prince who would come to take him home to Africa one day.
As the only black kid in town, I often dreamed that I could run away and live with my father. Especially after a visit from my father with his Sudanese friends. I felt I could leave the alienation behind and escape in his orange Volvo to live in Sweden.
Growing up with a mother who remarried a Stasi informer had broken my sense of belonging and opened up many questions. It wasn't the visible bonds of race and class that pulled me towards Obama's message - the longing for a better world interested me the most.
In my eyes, America had long lost it's credibility on the world stage. Obama promised political change in a style unlike anyone who had come before him. His slogan "Change, We Can Believe In" did not convince my cynical self. Was this campaign a clever publicity stunt from Washington insiders and strategists?
When I spoke to all kinds of people on the streets, it was as though I was talking directly to my generations hope and dreams.
Obama positioned himself within the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., borrowed swagger from Malcolm X, and sat on a sofa in true Oprah style. He emanated a universal message that inspired me.
The biggest challenge to making this film was my cynicism. I had cultivated a German apathy and fear throughout the years. The hype and uplifting energy got to me. I returned home to Berlin with more than 100 hours footage about this historical paradigm shift. Something had shifted when I landed: I was ready for change.