Skip to Content

Youth 4 German Cinema

Youth 4 German Cinema, now in its 11th year, is an educational initiative of the Goethe-Institut’s Step Into German youth portal and the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, focused on connecting high-school aged students with contemporary German films and filmmakers. Youth 4 German Cinema has brought youth jury members from across the US, Canada, Mexico, and Central America, and through the years has shown films to over 6,000 visiting students.

2024 Youth Jury Contest

Youth 4 German Cinema is seeking students from across the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean (ages 14-18) to participate as jurors in the 2024 program. This offers the opportunity for young people with an interest in German arts and culture to come to San Francisco and be part of the 28th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival in April 2024. Three applicants will be selected, and will be offered roundtrip airfare to San Francisco, accommodation, and food.

Click for Applications (Due February 2, 2024 at 11:00 PM Pacific Time)

Youth Jury Activities

Before the festival, the 2024 Y4GC jurors will watch selected German films online, discuss and select the winning film to be shown at the 2024 festival.

At the festival, jurors will present the Youth 4 German Cinema Award and lead the Q&A with a talent from the winning film. They will walk the red carpet and go behind-the-scenes of North America’s largest festival of contemporary German cinema, attend an exclusive workshop by a film arts professional, and visit one of the world’s most exciting cities: San Francisco! 

Participation in Youth 4 German Cinema will not only make a great addition on the students’ resumes and college applications, it will also allow students to learn the fundamentals of film analysis, film production, and how to network and make connections for future endeavors.

Important Dates (Updated)

Deadline for Application:   February 2, 2024 at 11:00 PM (Pacific Time)
Participants Announced:   February 8, 2024
Screening Period for Films:  February 8-18, 2024
Winning Films Announced:   February 19, 2024
Stay in San Francisco:   April 18-21, 2024




In the past 10 years, Y4GC has awarded several noteworthy contemporary German films and welcomed to San Francisco a vibrant roster of film talents. Including “My Brother Simple” with Director Marcus Goller and actor Frederick Lau in 2018, Til Schweiger’s “Head Full of Honey” in 2016, “Run Boy Run” with Academy Award-winning Director Pepe Danquart in 2015, “Windstorm” with Director Katja von Garnier in 2014, and “The Ordinaries” with actor Noah Tinwa in person, on the special occasion of its 10th Anniversary.

The 2021 Program: Youth 4 German Cinema Reunion

At the 25th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival Drive-In in 2021, amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, there was a reunion of select youth jury members from past festival editions  – Ana Sofía Vázquez Partida (Jury 2019) from Guadalajara, México, Katie O’Leary (Jury 2019) from California, Léa Pailassard (Jury 2018) from Montreal, Canada,  Patrick Thomas Keen (Jury 2016) from Wisconsin, Rodrigo Cardona (Jury 2018) from Puebla, México, and Sebastian Ortiz Wilkins (Jury 2015) from Guadalajara, México – in conversation with Sebastian Grobler, Director of “Lessons of a Dream” (“Der ganz große Traum”). “Lessons of a Dream” celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2021. 


Previous Youth 4 German Cinema Programs

Doguhan Kabadayi and Noah Tinwa

27th Festival – March 23-27, 2023 (10th Y4GC)

Youth 4 German Cinema Award
The Ordinaries
Dir. Sophie Linnenbaum (Germany, 2022)
Special Guest: Noah Tinwa (Actor)

26th Festival – March 11-16, 2022 (9th Y4GC)

Youth 4 German Cinema Award
Mission Ulja Funk
Dir. Barbara Kronenberg (Germany, Luxembourg, Poland 2021)

Youth 4 German Cinema Runner-up
Wet Dog (Ein Nasser Hund)
Dir. Damir Lukacevic (Germany, 2021)
Special Guest: Doguhan Kabadayi (Actor)

25th Festival – May 25-June 6, 2021 (8th Y4GC)

Special Reunion of Former Jurors
Special Drive-In Presentation
Lessons of a Dream (Der ganz große Traum)
Dir. Sebastian Grobler (Germany, 2011)
Special Guest: Sebastian Grobler (Director)

Markus Goller Frederick Lau Sarah Winkenstette

24th Festival – February 7-13, 2020 (7th Y4GC)

Youth 4 German Cinema Award
Too Far Away (Zu weit weg)
Dir. Sarah Winkenstette (Germany, 2019)
Special Guest: Sarah Winkenstette (Director)

Youth 4 German Cinema Runner-up
All About Me (Der Junge muss an die frische Luft)
Dir. Caroline Link (Germany, 2018)

23rd Festival – March 8-14, 2019 (6th Y4GC)

Youth 4 German Cinema Award
Mountain Miracle – An Unexpected Friendship (Amelie rennt)
Dir. Tobias Wiemann (Germany, Italy, 2017)
Special Guest: Philipp Budweg (Producer)

Youth 4 German Cinema Runner-up
A Jar Full of Life (Vielmachglas)
Dir. Florian Ross (Germany, 2018)

22nd Festival – February 9-15, 2018 (5th Y4GC)

Youth 4 German Cinema Award
My Brother Simple (Simpel)
Dir. Markus Goller (Germany, 2017)
Special Guest: Markus Goller (Director, Co-Screenwriter) and Frederick Lau (Actor)

Youth 4 German Cinema Runner-up
Rock My Heart
Dir. Hanno Olderdissen (Germany, 2017)

Mara Eibl Eibesfeldt and Fritjof Hohagen

21st Festival – February 3-8, 2017 (4th Y4GC)

Youth 4 German Cinema Award
At Eye Level (Auf Augenhöhe)
Dirs. Evi Goldbrunner and Joachim Dollhopf (Germany, 2016)

Youth 4 German Cinema Runner-up
Hanna’s Sleeping Dogs (Hannas schlafende Hunde)
Dir. Andreas Gruber (Germany, Austria, 2016)
Special Guest: Fritjof Hohagen (Producer/Line Producer)

20th Festival – January 14-20, 2016 (3rd Y4GC)

Youth 4 German Cinema Award
Head Full of Honey (Honig im Kopf)
Dir. Til Schweiger (Germany, 2014)

Youth 4 German Cinema Runner-up
The Spiderwebhouse (Im Spinnwebhaus)
Dir. Mara Eibl-Eibesfeldt (Germany, 2015)
Special Guest: Mara Eibl-Eibesfeldt (Director)

Katja von Garnier and Pepe Danquart

19th Festival – January 29-February 3, 2015 (2nd Y4GC)

Youth 4 German Cinema Award
Run Boy Run (Lauf Junge lauf)
Dir. Pepe Danquart (Germany, France, 2013)
Special Guest: Pepe Danquart (Director)

Youth 4 German Cinema Runner-up
Dir. Sudabeh Mortezai (Austria, 2014)

18th Festival – January 15-21, 2014 (1st Y4GC)

Youth 4 German Cinema Award
Windstorm (Ostwind)
Dir. Katja von Garnier
(Germany, 2013)
Special Guest: Katja von Garnier (Director)

Youth 4 German Cinema Runner-up
Your Beauty is Worth Nothing (Deine Schönheit ist nichts wert)
Dir. Hüseyin Tabak
(Austria, Turkey, 2012)

Photo credits: Barak Shrama and Sophoan Sorn