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Special Guests 2024

Markus Goller
Honoree of the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival Film Maker Award 2024

Born in Munich, Germany, in 1969, Markus Goller began his career in the early 1990s as a freelance editor for short films, commercials and documentaries worldwide. From 1996, he directed numerous commercials and music videos, and worked on films such as Iron Jawed Angels and Blood & Chocolate by Katja von Garnier as a 2nd Unit Director. His first feature, Mask Under Mask in 2001, marked the revival of the B-movie Genre in Germany. His second directorial work, Friendship!, was a surprise hit. With 1.6 million admissions, it was the most successful German film of 2010. It was followed by Eine ganz heiße Nummer (2011), which has cult status in Bavaria. In the 2013 box office hit Mrs. Ella, he sent an elderly woman on the road searching for her lost love across Europe. My Brother Simple, his sixth directorial work, premiered in competition at the 2017 Shanghai International Film Festival, and traversed the global film festival circuit. 

In 2017, Goller founded his own production company, Sunny Side Up GmbH, together with Oliver Ziegenbalg. The company’s first production was the road comedy, 25 km/h (2018), which Goller directed and produced. Starring Lars Eidinger and Bjarne Mädel, it garnered 1.3 million admissions and was nominated for Best Picture at the 2019 German Film Awards. In 2020 Goller directed and co-wrote the adventure drama series Wild Republic, which was produced by X-Filme for Deutsche Telekom Magenta. Goller directed and produced One for the Road for Sony and Seven Media together with his partner and screenwriting collaborator, Oliver Ziegenbalg. One for the Road, starring Frederick Lau and Nora Tschirner, shown light on the misuse of alcohol in our society and was released in Germany in 2023. 

Recently, Goller directed and produced The Irony of Life, starring Uwe Ochsenknecht and Corinna Harfouch. To be released in early 2025 by Warner Bros Germany, it is the story of an old comedian who falls back in love with his former wife, who is fighting cancer. This fall, Goller will direct and produce the Netflix Original We Are One. It is the true story of German students who founded the NGO Jugend Rettet in 2015, that saved more than 14,000 refugees from drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.

Markus Goller will be in attendance at the Opening Night North American Premiere of One for the Road on Thursday, April 18, 2024 at 6:00 PM at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.

Fab Morvan

Fab Morvan was born in 1966 in Paris, France. His true story is inspirational and empowering. It is a tribute to his own indomitable spirit in the face of one of the most controversial and talked-about events in modern pop music history. He continuously strives to reinvent himself, without bitterness. In Luke Korem’s documentary, Milli Vanilli (presented by Paramount+ and MTV), music makes for a remarkable, uplifting saga, told through his own hard-earned experiences and wisdom. A long time coming, it was an opportunity for Morvan to tell his story.

Morvan first met his future partner Rob Pilatus in Munich at a local club. They started a rock and soul band together, and named it Milli Vanilli. The two penniless kids jumped at the chance to sign a contract with German producer Frank Farian, Within months they created a captivating stage show that would elevate them to be seen by millions on the world stage. Selling more than 7 million copies of their debut album “Girl You Know It’s True” in the US alone, the duo went on to MTV stardom. They became one of the biggest musical acts of the ’90s, with worldwide sales of more than 30 million singles and 10 million albums. 

Along the way, the two were involved in a notorious lip-synching scandal that led them to publicly return their Grammy for Best New Artist. When VH1’s Behind the Music premiered in 1997, its first episode put a spotlight on the tale, which turned out to be one of the series’ highest-rated segments.

Girl You Know It’s True, the highly anticipated narrative feature film, was released in December 2023 in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. 

Both the documentary and the feature film bring “the story” up to date and set the stage for a promising future. “I believe in the healing power of music… Music is life.” says Morvan. “New music is being added to a new page in this current chapter of my life, stay tuned as it is only the beginning.” 

Fab Morvan will be in attendance at the North American Premiere of Girl You Know It’s True on Friday, April 19, 2024 at 8:15 PM at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.

Bettina Oberli

Bettina Oberli is an author and director who grew up in Switzerland and Samoa. She studied at the Zurich University of the Arts, where she graduated in 2000 with the short film Supernova, which won the Suissimage Swiss Newcomer Award. After a successful festival release of her debut North Wind (Im Nordwind), her second feature film Late Bloomers (Die Herbstzeilosen) became a major national and international success in 2006. It is still the second most successful film in Swiss cinemas and was the official entry for the Academy Awards in 2007.

In 2009, she made her first international feature film The Murder Farm (Tannoed). Following further feature films, she made the SRF/ARTE mini-series Private Banking in 2017. In 2018, she made the French-language feature film With the Wind (Le vent tourne) starring Mélanie Thierry. The film had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival and won the Variety Piazza Grande Award before being shown at over 40 festivals worldwide and winning further awards.

Her feature film My Wonderful Wanda starring Marthe Keller, Agnieszka Grochowska and Birgit Minichmayr, was invited to compete at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2020, where it received a Special Mention from the jury. It opened the 16th Zurich Film Festival, won awards at various international festivals and was nominated for the Swiss Film Award for Best Feature Film. It was released in cinemas in several countries in 2021 and 2022.

Since 2021, Bettina Oberli has been increasingly working on international series productions in addition to her feature films, including directing all 6 episodes of the German-Danish mini-series The Night in Question (37 Sekunden) with Jens Albinus and Emily Cox, and co-directing the German-Belgian co-production Night in Paradise with Jürgen Vogel, Lea Drinda and Birgit Minichmayr. The Cinematheque Vancouver and the San Diego Film Society have shown retrospectives of her previous work. Her company Looping Film has produced various short films.

In 2021, Bettina Oberli received a work grant from the City of Zurich, which she uses to develop feature film and series concepts. She is particularly interested in exploring family dynamics in a wide variety of genres and formats and working with actors. She also directs for the theater and opera, including in Basel and Lucerne, where “Eugene Onegin” by Tchaikovsky was performed under her direction in 2022.

Bettina Oberli is a member of the Swiss and European Film Academy. She lives in Zurich with her two sons. In addition to German, she speaks fluent French and English and has a good basic knowledge of Italian.

Bettina Oberli will be at the Swiss Film & Talks Special 35 mm projection of Late Bloomers, preceded by an episode of The Night in Question, on Saturday, April 20, 2024 at 3:00 PM at the Roxie Theater, San Francisco.