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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.

The 2024 Youth 4 German Cinema jury chose Marc Rothemund’s “Weekend Rebels” as the 2024 winning film. Two very special screenings of “Weekend Rebels” will take place on Friday, April 19th at 10:00 AM and 12:45 PM by invitation only and with participating schools. For inquiries, visit Step Into German’s Official Website.

2024 Youth Jury Contest

With applications from students from across the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean (ages 14-18), the 2024 program looks forward to welcoming three youth jurors to the festival. Youth 4 German Cinema 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. The jurors will be offered roundtrip airfare to San Francisco, accommodation, and food.

Before the festival, the 2024 Y4GC jurors watched selected German films online, discussed and selected the winning film to be shown at the 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 not only make sa great addition on the students’ resumes and college applications, it also allow students to learn the fundamentals of film analysis, film production, and how to network and make connections for future endeavors.




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

28th Festival – April 18-22, 2024 (11th Y4GC)

Youth 4 German Cinema Award
Weekend Rebels (Wochenendrebellen)
Dir. Marc Rothemund (Germany, 2023)
Special Guest: To Be Announced

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