Welcome to the Festival

WELCOME | WILLKOMMEN

Dear friends and fellow film lovers, 

We welcome you to the 26th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, March 11-16, 2022, taking place in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Berkeley. We want to express our heavy hearts and our sincere thoughts with all those affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine. 

We hold dearly this ability to be in person with our beloved community.  We feel humbled by the privilege of having this opportunity to present this program, promoting humanistic stories, cross-cultural exchanges, diverse voices, and the freedom of thought and expression.

Aside from last year’s hybrid festival, the Castro Theatre has been our principal venue for 24 festival editions since our inauguration in 1996. It is truly special to be back at the legendary Castro Theatre, a cultural beacon, a movie palace, and a cherished place in the hearts of San Franciscans and cineastes from near and far. Being back in the Castro is coming home.

We open the festival with Daniel Brühl’s directorial feature debut, “Next Door,” and we welcome its co-lead, German Film Award winner Peter Kurth to our City by the Bay. Actor Haley Louise Jones joins us for “Precious Ivie,” a powerful story of race, identity and sisterhood. Swiss filmmaker Michael Steiner returns to our festival with “And Tomorrow We Will Be Dead,” the powerful story of a kidnapped couple and their unwavering will to survive.

Youth 4 German Cinema, now in its 8th year, welcomes an international youth jury from the US and Mexico. The winning films, “Mission Ulja Funk” and “Wet Dog,” joined by lead actor Doguhan Kabadayi, will screen for an audience of high school students from across the Bay Area.

We are honored to highlight San Francisco connections with “Genderation,” Monika Treut’s reunion with pioneers of the transgender movement – 20 years after “Gendernauts,” and with Jay Rosenblatt’s introspective reunion film, “When We Were Bullies,” nominated for the 2022 Academy Award Best Documentary Short Film.

The Goethe-Institut San Francisco is proud to be the founder and presenter of this festival. The Goethe Forum section, now in its third edition, spotlights thought-provoking films of socio-political topics, dialogue and discourse. The Goethe Forum Centerpiece is “Dear Thomas,” a time-spanning story about the rebellious writer Thomas Brasch. In the captivating and challenging documentary, “Tacheles – The Heart of the Matter,” a young man develops a videogame and with it questions how far the Holocaust still affects Jews of the third generation.

We are grateful for the steadfast support of our sponsors, partners, and friends from near and far, whose enduring 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 work with us. And, of course, thank you, our filmgoers and film lovers, particularly those in the San Francisco Bay Area, for attending the festival, year after year. Welcome back to the cinema.

Respectfully,

Noémie Njangiru
Director, Goethe-Institut San Francisco
President, Berlin & Beyond 

Sophoan Sorn
Director, Berlin & Beyond