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

Welcome to the 21st Berlin & Beyond Film Festival! Join us for three full days and nights at San Francisco’s iconic Castro Theatre (Feb. 3-5), three evenings at the Goethe-Institut in Downtown (Feb. 6-8), and DocDay at Oakland’s Pro Arts Gallery (Feb. 4), with our vivid selection of films, crossing various cultures, experiences, and histories. As we will have several screenings with film talents present, we invite you to stay behind for engaging post-film Q&As.

Since 1996, Berlin & Beyond Film Festival has been North America’s leading annual showcase, dedicated to the cinematic movements of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. 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 small productions and discoveries from up-and-coming filmmakers.

Our Opening Night Film is the International Premiere of Scrappin’, the entertaining family drama and feature debut from Max Zähle, whose short film Raju was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Berlin & Beyond Audience Award in 2011.

A major highlight of this year’s festival are films by and about women. The controversial drama 24 Weeks deals with late abortion. We are proud to present to the film’s lead actress, Julia Jentsch, the Spotlight Award in Acting, celebrating her on-going career in this dynamic field.

Likewise, we are proud to honor the multi-talented actress, director, and screenwriter Maria Schrader with our inaugural Career Achievement Award, celebrating her wide-ranging career. Her latest directorial work, the timely historical drama and Austria’s Oscar entry, Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe, is our Centerpiece.

Fukushima, mon Amour, veteran filmmaker Doris Dörrie’s poignant black-and-white drama shot entirely in Japan, is our Castro Closing Night Film. It follows two very different women, both trapped by their past.

We are excited to present the World Premiere of Jan Tenhaven’s documentary Silicon Valley Revolution, with forgotten stories of the pioneers of the personal computer, filmed here in the Bay Area.

Several films were adapted from novels and short stories into bold and captivating cine-matic stories: Dark Fortune (Dir. Stefan Haupt), Heidi (Dir. Alain Gsponer), Original Bliss (Dir. Sven Taddicken), Too Hard to Handle (Dir. Laura Lackmann), and Hanna’s Sleeping Dogs (Dir. Andreas Gruber), which is the runner-up winner of our 2016-2017 Youth 4 German Cinema Award.

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 filmmakers and industry professionals for sharing their cinematic works with us.

We are most grateful to you, the festivalgoers, for attending our festival. Get ready to join us for a cinematic adventure!

Thanks! Vielen Dank!

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

Sophoan Sorn
Festival Director, Berlin & Beyond