© Berlin & Beyond
© Berlin & Beyond

Welcome to the 20th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival! Join us in celebrating our two-decade-long legacy as America’s leading annual showcase of new films from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and beyond.

Since 1996, the festival has been a cultural gateway for the public to experience the universal spirit and vision of filmmakers from this global region. Each year, our red carpet premieres at the legendary Castro Theatre introduce Europe’s top talents to San Francisco audiences as the projector unfurls blockbuster hits, award winners, and timely dispatches from world cinema’s furthest corners.

Berlin in focus. We are proud to honor Berlin-based actor Tom Schilling with the Spotlight Award. We will screen two of his latest works: “Who Am I – No System is Safe” on Opening Night and the 2012 surprise hit “A Coffee in Berlin”, known in Germany as “Oh Boy”. Our 20th Anniver- sary Castro Closing Night will rock with a fusion of cinema and music, as Berlin- based musicians ALP make their first U.S. performance, a new live band soundtrack to Walther Ruttmann’s 1927 silent documentary “Berlin, Symphony of a Great City”.

The festival spirit. We are excited to host comedienne Anke Engelke, who will attend with her latest comedy “Ms. Mueller Must Go”. A frequent host of the opening and awards ceremonies of the Berlinale, Ms. Engelke’s memorable presence brings with it the spirit of the great festival that is our constant inspiration. Christoph Gröner, Filmfest München’s New German Cinema programmer, will lead a conver- sation about the themes and trends in German cinema today.

The next wave of German filmmakers. Top-notch graduation films – the critically lauded documentary journey “Above and Below” by Nicolas Steiner, the spy thriller “After Spring Comes Fall” by Daniel Carsenty, and the gritty drama “Toro” by Martin Hawie – all bring fresh perspectives on society and survival.

Youth 4 German Cinema educational program, now in its third year, brings eight young jurors from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to San Francisco. Among their activities, they chose two winning films that will screen for hundreds of students coming from across Northern California. The Y4GC 2016 winner is Til Schweiger’s cross-generational "Head Full of Honey", while the runner-up is the social fantasy drama "The Spiderwebhouse", accompanied by Director Mara Eibl-Eibesfeldt.

We gratefully acknowledge the affirming support of our sponsors, partners, and friends from near and far, whose empowering generosity makes this festival possible. Likewise, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to our hardworking and dedicated staff, volunteers, board members, and creative and technical collaborators. Special thanks to the film talents and film industry professionals for sharing their cinematic works with us.

Our most grateful thanks to you, filmgoers, for attending our festival over the last 20 years! We wish you an adventurous experience with cinematic moments to treasure. Cheers to the next 20—and beyond.


Sabine Erlenwein
Director, Goethe-Institut San Francisco
President, Berlin & Beyond

Sophoan Sorn
Festival Director, Berlin & Beyond

    © Barak Shrama

    Trailer of the 20th Anniversary Berlin & Beyond Film Festival. Animation & Motion Graphics: Daniel Sánchez de Miguel. Music: Keith Kenniff. Design Concept: MetaDesign San Francisco - Lindsay Gravette, CD; Neha Hattangdi, Senior Designer.