In 2022, Film|Neu – Washington, DC’s annual celebration of great new films from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland – turns thirty years old! Since 1992, Film|Neu (FN) has brought over 300 German-language dramas, comedies, documentaries, short films, and more to filmgoers in the DMV. As we celebrate three decades, we invite you to learn more about our exciting journey over the years.
In 1992, the Goethe-Institut Washington and its small staff occupied a space on the top floor of the German Historical Institute in Dupont Circle. At that time, the Goethe House in New York City co-presented an annual showcase of German-language films, curated by the Museum of Modern Art. This film selection was passed from Goethe colleagues in NYC to those in DC. Here, Sylvia Blume, the Cultural Programs Curator at the Goethe-Institut Washington, selected a handful of those films to screen locally at the Kennedy Center and AFI Silver – and FN started taking its early shape. One of the first films to ever screen at FN was the 1991 comedy Go Trabi Go, a crowd-pleaser about an East German family taking a road trip through a post-Wall Germany.
First known as Recent German Films, then as New Films from Germany, FN made its way through indie and arthouse cinemas in the city – namely Visions Cinema in Dupont/Adams Morgan, the Key Theatre in Georgetown, and E Street Cinema in the Penn Quarter. When the Goethe-Institut Washington moved to its Chinatown location, screenings and receptions also took place in Goethe’s own in-house theater.
By 2004, the showcase broadened to New Films from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, becoming a partnership between Goethe, the Austrian Cultural Forum Washington, and the Embassy of Switzerland. Thanks to publications like The Washington Post, Washingtonian, and Washington City Paper, FN was featured as an Arts & Culture selection each year, securing its place as a highlight of annual film programming in DC's yearly cultural calendar. After the closing of Visions Cinema in 2004, New Films from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland fully moved to E Street. By 2008, the showcase – then in its 16th year – had rebranded as Film|Neu.
In November of 2020, since most local cinemas were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FN had its first entirely virtual run, before returning to E Street for a hybrid virtual/in-person format in November 2021. This fall, FN returns to being fully in-person, with a selection of great new films screening at the Goethe-Institut Washington, Austrian Cultural Forum Washington, Embassy of Switzerland, and the Edlavich Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC.
Please stay tuned for more updates to come. We look forward to celebrating 30 years of Film|Neu with you!
Film|Neu is a cooperation of the Goethe-Institut Washington, the Austrian Cultural Forum Washington, and the Embassy of Switzerland in the United States, with support from JxJ and DC Shorts. Film|Neu is generously funded by the Friends of the Goethe-Institut in Washington, DC.