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Press Release

Announcing the 2023 Berlin & Beyond Autumn Showcase
Ilker Catak’s The Teachers’ Lounge is Opening Night Film

Media Contact: Sophoan Sorn, Festival Director

(San Francisco, October 20, 2023) The Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, presented by the Goethe-Institut San Francisco, will launch its 28th Season with the 8th edition of the Berlin & Beyond Autumn Showcase on November 7, 2023 at the Vogue Theatre in San Francisco and November 8th at Rialto Cinemas Cerrito in El Cerrito. 

The festival will open with the riveting classroom drama, The Teachers’ Lounge (Das Lehrerzimmer), directed and co-written by İlker Çatak and starring Leonie Benesch. The Sony Pictures Classics release is Germany’s Academy Award® submission for Best International Feature. The Teachers’ Lounge won five German Film Awards (Deutscher Filmpreis) earlier this year, including Best Picture (Gold), Best Direction, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, and Best Editing.

From Festival Director Sophoan Sorn: “We are excited to kick-off Season 28 with the edge-of-your-seat, societal drama The Teachers’ Lounge, directed by İlker Çatak, one of Germany’s most captivating cinematic storytellers today. Both İlker Çatak and Alex Schaad were introduced to our audiences with their Student Academy Award®-winning short films, Fidelity (2014) and Invention of Trust (2016), respectively. İlker Çatak’s I Was, I Am, I Will Be opened our fully virtual Autumn Showcase during the global pandemic in 2020. We are thrilled to present the US Premiere of Alex Schaad’s body-swapping sci-fi Skin Deep, the friendship drama Afire from Berlin School icon Christian Petzold (whose feature films have all screened at previous Berlin & Beyond festivals), and Frauke Finsterwalder’s Sisi & I, with indelible performances by Susanne Wolff and Sandra Hüller (currently lauded for starring roles in the Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Anatomy of a Fall, and Cannes Grand Prix winner, The Zone of Interest).”

Berlin & Beyond’s main spring festival is slated for March 2024. Exact dates for the 28th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival are to be announced.

Autumn Showcase 2023 Films and Showtimes:

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at the Vogue Theatre, San Francisco

6:00 PM: The Teachers’ Lounge (Das Lehrerzimmer)
San Francisco Premiere
Directed by İlker Çatak
Starring Leonie Benesch, Eva Löbau, Leo Stettnisch

When a series of thefts occur in a German middle school, and a staff investigation leads to accusations and mistrust among outraged parents, opinionated colleagues, and angry students, a young teacher is caught in the middle of complex dynamics. US Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics (95 min. Germany / 2023. In German with English subtitles)

8:45 PM: Sisi & I (Sisi & Ich)
Special Screening
Directed by Frauke Finsterwalder
Starring Susanne Wolff, Sandra Hüller, Georg Friedrich

Late in the 19th century, Countess Irma is sent to be the companion of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary – known as Sisi, an eccentric and extravagant recluse. Official Selection of the 2023 Berlinale Panorama. Winner of the 2023 German Film Award for Best Costume Design. World Sales: The Match Factory (132 min. Germany, Switzerland, Austria / 2023. In German, along with some English and French, with English subtitles)

Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at Rialto Cinemas Cerrito, El Cerrito

6:00 PM: Afire (Roter Himmel)
East Bay Premiere
Directed by Christian Petzold
Starring Thomas Schubert, Paula Beer, Langston Uibel, Enno Trebs

Emotions run high among a group of friends in a holiday home by the Baltic Sea, as the parched forest around them catches fire. Winner of the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the 2023 Berlinale. US Distributors: Janus Films and Sideshow (102 min. Germany / 2023. In German with English subtitles)

8:20 PM: Skin Deep (Aus meiner Haut)
US Premiere
Directed by Alex Schaad
Starring Mala Emde, Jonas Dassler, Maryam Zaree, Dimitrij Schaad

In this debut feature from Alex Schaad, a seemingly happy young couple, Leyla and Tristan, travels to a mysterious, remote island where a game of identities changes everything. Winner of the Queer Lion at the 2023 Venice International Film Festival. US Distributor: Kino Lorber (103 min. Germany / 2022. In German with English subtitles)


Opening Night Film “The Teachers’ Lounge”:
$20.00 admission / no discounts

Other Films:
$16.00 general
$13.00 senior (62+) & ADA
$9.00 student (at door with ID)

Advance tickets can be purchased via links on starting from Monday, October 23rd.


Since 1996, the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival has been a leading light of contemporary German cinema in the Americas, and has presented over 500 motion pictures to over 200,000 attendees, along with the presence of celebrated film figures, including Fatih Akin, Moritz Bleibtreu, Daniel Brühl, Lars Eidinger, Hannelore Elsner, Florian David Fitz, Bruno Ganz, Werner Herzog, Frederick Lau, Maria Schrader, Dan Stevens, Barbara Sukowa, and Wim Wenders.

The 2023 Berlin & Beyond Autumn Showcase is presented by the Goethe-Institut San Francisco. Special support provided by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in San Francisco and the Excelsior German Center.

Official Website: 

Social Media: @berlinbeyond #BerlinBeyond2023 #AutumnShowcase2023


The Goethe-Institut is Germanys official cultural center comprised of 158 institutes in 98 countries. The Goethe-Institut exists to promote art and films from Germany, the study of the German language, and encourage the international cultural exchange with Germany. Having celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2017, the San Francisco branch has been promoting German culture and language since 1967. Its year-round cultural activities include art exhibitions, film screenings, and special events with local cultural institutions.

Official Website: 

Social Media: @sfgoethe