Berlin & Beyond Film Festival

Berlin & Beyond Film Festival
Berlin & Beyond Film Festival is an annual film festivals focusing on new cinema from German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). The festival is held in San Francisco, California. It was officially founded in 1996.

Berlin & Beyond Film Festival is a program of the Goethe-Institut, a German cultural association that promotes the study of the German language abroad and encourages international cultural exchange and relations. The association operates worldwide with over 150 institutes that provide information on German culture and society. Berlin & Beyond is organized by San Francisco’s branch of the Goethe-Institut. Over the years, it has become one of the largest and most significant German-speaking film festivals outside of Europe.

The festival’s main venue is the Castro Theatre. Located in the Castro district, it originally opened in 1910. The current building opened in 1922, it has been listed as a San Francisco Designated Landmark since 1979. Some festival events are held at the Goethe-Institut. Berlin & Beyond was originally held in January. In 2010 it was moved to fall to coincide with the German Currents Film Festival held by the Goethe-Institut in Los Angeles. The collaboration between the festivals was intended to bring a larger selection of high-quality German-language films to the West Coast. In 2014 Berlin & Beyond was moved back to January.

Berlin & Beyond Film Festival attracts about 10,000 attendees every year. The festival has showcased more than 500 films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, introducing its audience to the best of contemporary German-language cinema. Every festival features German, Austrian and Swiss actors and film directors as special guests. Past guests include Mario Adorf, Fatih Akin, Motitz Bleibtreu, Daniel Brühl, Hannelore Elsner, Florian David Fitz, Bruno Ganz, Barbara Sukowa, and Wim Wenders.

Although Berlin & Beyond isn’t a competitive film festival, it honors filmmakers and films with several awards. They include three Audience Awards (Best Narrative Feature Premiere, Best Narrative Feature Gala, Best Documentary Feature), the Spotlight Award in Acting, the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Youth 4 German Cinema Award deserves a special mention. It is awarded by an international jury comprising high school age students from the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Berlin & Beyond Film Festival

Photo by Franck Bohbot




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