© Loredana La Rocca and © Barak Shrama
© Loredana La Rocca and © Barak Shrama

Welcome to the 23rd Berlin & Beyond Film Festival! Join us for three full days and nights at San Francisco’s legendary Castro Theatre (March 8-10), a night of encores at Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley (March 11), and three evenings at the Goethe-Institut (March 12-14). Journey with us through a vivid program of films, crossing cultures, experiences, and vital topics, along with film talents present for engaging post-film discussions.

Since 1996, Berlin & Beyond Film Festival has been North America’s leading annual showcase solely dedicated to the cinematic movements of German-speaking countries. Each year, we roll out the red carpet to welcome top films and talents of the year from this region, from major box office hits to award winners, to independent productions and discoveries from up-and-coming film makers.

Several films are stories of adventure, connections, and personal and soulful experiences. Opening Night Film is the brotherly road comedy 25 km/h, directed and written by Markus Goller.

Our Centerpiece, The Silent Revolution, directed by Lars Kraume, takes us to the 1956 GDR where a class of students courageously uses their unified voice against an oppressive regime. Our Youth 4 German Cinema winning films are the Alpset Mountain Miracle and the self discovery drama A Jar Full of Life – two inspiring films about young people overcoming life’s obstacles.

We are proud to present captivating films by women directors. 3 Days in Quiberon by Emily Atef is an intimate portrait of Romy Schneider, played by an unforgettable Marie Bäume. Kerstin Polte’s Cloud Whispers follows 60-year-old Charlotte (played by Corinna Harfouch) as she journeys to renew her mind and spirit. In Lucia Chiarla’s engrossing drama, The Chairs Game, we follow an unlucky young woman in Berlin who struggles to find her place in society.

A highlight of our documentary program is Exit by Karen Winther, a deeply personal film with testimonies by former extremists and their difficulties when they left their radicalized worlds behind.

We are excited to welcome back to San Francisco filmmaker Veit Helmer. His original and whimsical vision this time brings us The Bra, a poetic, silent comedy that is a Cinderella story in the Caucasus mountains.

We are grateful for the empowering support of our sponsors, partners, and friends from near and far, whose steadfast generosity makes this festival possible. Likewise, we extend our gratitude to our hardworking and dedicated festival team, volunteers, and collaborators. Special thanks to the film makers and industry professionals for sharing their cinematic works with us.

We are most grateful to you, the festival goers, for attending Berlin & Beyond year after year. Get ready to join us for a cinematic adventure! Thank you. Vielen Dank.

Sigrid Savelsberg
Director, Goethe-Institut San Francisco
President, Berlin & Beyond

Sophoan Sorn
Festival Director, Berlin & Beyond