Festival Welcome


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

Welcome to the 22nd Berlin & Beyond Film Festival! Join us for three full days and nights at San Francisco’s legendary Castro Theatre (Feb. 9-11), a night of encores at Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley (Feb. 12), and three evenings at the Goethe-Institut in Downtown (Feb. 13-15). Engage in our vivid selection of films, crossing cultures, experiences, histories, and vital topics, along with film talents present for engaging post-film Q&As.

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 small productions and discoveries from up-and-coming filmmakers.

Several films reflect on identity and belonging. Our Opening Night Film is the social comedy Welcome to Germany, directed and written by Simon Verhoeven, who will join us. This film, along with the courageous documentary Mr. Gay Syria , engages us in conversations about the current global refugee crisis.

Our Youth 4 German Cinema program is honored to have the presence of Markus Goller, the director and co-screenwriter of My Brother Simple, the 2017-2018 Y4GC-winning film. Renowned Swiss filmmaker Alain Gsponer will present the North American Premiere of Godless Youth, his cinematic vision based on the enduringly popular novel by Ödön von Horváth.

We are also thrilled to welcome to town two of Germany’s most talented actors, and we will honor their on-going career achievements with the Spotlight Award in Acting.

Frederick Lau, with his memorable roles in such groundbreaking films as The Wave and Victoria, is here with two of his latest works, My Brother Simple and Text for You.

Lars Eidinger, who has established an international portfolio with recent film works as Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper, is here to present our Centerpiece film, The Bloom of Yesterday.

Stories of bold and provocative artists are on display with Dieter Berner’s fascinating drama Egon Schiele: Death and the Maiden on Closing Night, and Andres Veiel’s Beuys, the new documentary profile on the life of Joseph Beuys.

We are proud to present captivating films by women directors: the documentary Mr. Gay Syria by Ayse Toprak; the directorial feature debut by Karoline Herfurth, Text for You; the generational film, We Used to Be Cool by Marie Kreutzer; the road movie set in 1968, That Trip We Took with Dad by Anca Miruna Lăzărescu. This year marks 50 years since the international Protests of 1968, with civil rights protests, progressive political movements, and the fights for free speech and reforms that changed the world.

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 festival-goers, for attending Berlin & Beyond. 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