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Festival 2021

San Francisco’s 25th Anniversary Berlin & Beyond Film Festival has been highlighted with two evenings under the stars at Fort Mason Center drive-in on May 25th and 26th, a special return to the cinema at the 109-year-old Vogue Theatre on May 29th, virtual screenings, interactive Q&As, and on-demand streaming movies from May 26th through June 6th, 2021.

On-Demand festival movies are playing through June 6th.

The 25th anniversary program include a diverse range of countries and cultures represented. Although most of the films are in the German language, the other languages spoken in the various films are Swiss German, English, Kurdish, French, Farsi, Mongolian, Albanian, Portuguese, Soninke, and Swahili. The Festival also celebrates work by female filmmakers. This year, of the 25 directors of the 23 films, 14 of the directors are women.

The 2021 Berlin & Beyond Film Festival sponsors and partners include: the Goethe-Institut San Francisco as Presenting Partner; San Francisco Grants for the Arts, DW (Deutsche Welle), and the Excelsior German Center as Premiere Sponsors; German Films / German Film Office as Signature Sponsor; Special Support from the Consulate General of Germany and the Consulate General of Switzerland.


May 25 – 26: Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, San Francisco
May 29: Vogue Theatre, San Francisco
May 26 – June 6: Virtual Cinema at



Sisters Apart (Im Feuer)
Dir. Daphne Charizani – Germany, Greece | 2020 | 93 min. Northern California Premiere
Rojda is a young German soldier with Kurdish-Iraqi roots who has lived in Germany since childhood. She is now looking for her mother, Ferhat, in a Greek refugee camp. When the two finally find each other after so many years apart, they are overjoyed. But their happiness soon fades when Rojda learns that her sister, Dilan, is still in Iraq.
Official Selection: Berlinale (Perspective Deutsches Kino)
In English, German and Kurdish with English subtitles
Starring: Almila Bagriacik, Zübeyde Bulut, Maryam Boubani
Scheduled Screening: May 25, 8:30 PM at Fort Mason Center Drive-In
Also available On-Demand

Berlin Alexanderplatz
Dir. Burhan Qurbani –– Germany, Netherlands, Canada, France | 2020 | 183 min. Northern California Premiere
As Francis gets washed up on the shores of Southern Europe, he swears an oath to God: From now on he wants to be a new, a better, a decent man. Soon after Francis finds himself in Berlin, where he realizes how hard it is to be righteous when you are an illegal refugee in Germany – without papers, without nation and without a work permit. Eventually he is sucked into Berlin’s underworld and his life spirals out of control. A boundary-pushing vision of the classic novel by Alfred Döblin.
Official Selection: Berlinale (Competition) and Morelia
In German, English, Portuguese and Soninke with English subtitles
Starring: Welket Bungué, Jella Haase, Albrecht Schuch
Scheduled Screenings:
May 28, 7:00 PM on Virtual Cinema with Interactive Q&A
May 29, 7:00 PM at Vogue Theater
Also available On-Demand

Cocoon (Kokon)
Dir. Leonie Krippendorff –– Germany | 2020 | 95 min.
Summer in Berlin. Shy, 14-year-old Nora is surrounded by people with disrupted biographies, from different cultures and backgrounds. She gets her first period, falls in love with another girl, learns to stand up for herself and gets her heart broken for the first time.
Official Selection: Guadalajara, Istanbul, São Paulo, Taipei, TIFF
In German with English subtitles
Starring: Lena Urzendowsky, Jella Haase, Lena Klenke, Elina Vildanova
May 30, 8:30 PM on Virtual Cinema with Interactive Q&A
Also available On-Demand


Cortex – Are You Awake?
Dir. Moritz Bleibtreu –– Germany | 2020 | 97 min. | US West Coast Premiere
Two men, two lives, a fateful encounter: Hagen suffers from irregular phases of sleep in which he cannot decide between dream and reality. When his frustrated wife cheats on him with the small-time criminal, Niko a series of disturbing events is set in motion and the lives of both men will never be the same. The feature directorial debut by Moritz Bleibtreu ( Run Lola Run).
Official Selection: Hamburg, Zurich, Tallinn, Miami
In German with English subtitles
Starring: Jannis Niewöhner, Nadja Uhl, Moritz Bleibtreu
Available On-Demand

Enfant Terrible
Dir. Oskar Roehler –– Germany | 2020 | 134 min. | US West Coast Premiere
When 22-year-old Rainer Werner Fassbinder storms the stage of a small, progressive theatre in Munich 1967, and seizes the production without further ado, nobody suspects this brazen young rebel to become one of the most important post-war German filmmakers. Despite early setbacks, many of his films break out at the most renowned films festivals and polarize audience, critics and filmmakers alike. His radical views and self-exploitation, as well as his longing for love, have made him one of the most fascinating film directors of this time.
Official Selection: Cannes, Hamburg, Seville, Tallinn
In German with English subtitles
Starring: Oliver Masucci, Katja Riemann, Hary Prinz, Alexander Scheer, Erdal Yildiz
Available On-Demand

Narcissus and Goldmund (Narziss und Goldmund)
Dir. Stefan Ruzowitzky –– Germany | 2020 | 110 min. | US West Coast Premiere
Based on the bestseller by Nobel Prize in Literature-winning author Hermann Hesse. From the director of the Academy Award-winning The Counterfeiters. In the Middle Ages, young, unruly Goldmund is sent to a monastery by his father to atone for the sins of his mother, who abandoned them. There he meets Narcissus, a brilliant, scholarly novice. A unique life-long friendship is born. Narcissus remains detached from the world in prayer and meditation. Goldmund, who is passionate and impulsive, runs away to live a wanderer’s life. His amorous and artistic adventures leads him to the extremes of both ecstasy and pain. One day these friends cross paths again.
In German with English subtitles
Starring: Jannis Niewöhner, Sabin Tambrea, Emilia Schüle
Available On-Demand

Nowhere in Africa (Nirgendwo in Afrika ) 20th Anniversary
Dir. Caroline Link –– Germany | 2001 | 141 min.
This love story spanning two continents, based on the best-selling autobiographical novel by Stefanie Zweig, tells the extraordinary true tale of a Jewish family who flees the Nazi regime in 1938 for a remote farm in Kenya. Abandoning their once-comfortable existence in Germany, Walter Redlich, his wife Jettel (Juliane Köhler, of Aimée & Jaguar) and their five-year-old daughter Regina each deal with the harsh realities of their new life in different ways. Attorney Walter is resigned to working the farm as a caretaker; pampered Jettel resists adjustment at every turn; while the shy yet curious Regina immediately embraces the country— learning the local language and customs, and finding a friend in Owuor, the farm’s cook. As the war rages on the other side of the world, the trio’s relationships to their strange environment become increasingly complicated as Jettel grows more self-assured and Walter more haunted by the life they left behind. As they eventually learn to cherish their life in Africa, they also endeavor to find a way back to each other. Winner of the 2002 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, as well as five 2002 German Film Awards (Golden Lolas), including best film, director and cinematography. The event will be highlighted by a Career Achievement Award tribute to German filmmaker and screenwriter Caroline Link, the film’s director. The tribute program will precede the film.
In German and Swahili with English subtitles
Starring: Juliane Köhler, Merab Ninidze, Sidede Onyulo, Matthias Habich, Lea Kurka
Scheduled Screening: May 26, 8:30 PM at Fort Mason Center Drive-In

Dir. Christian Petzold –– Germany, France | 2020 | 90 min.
Undine works as a historian lecturing on Berlin’s urban development. But when the man she loves leaves her, the ancient myth catches up with her. Undine has to kill the man who betrays her and return to the water.
In German with English subtitles
Starring: Franz Rogowski, Jacob Matschenz, Maryam Zaree, Paula Beer
Scheduled Screening: May 29, 3:00 PM at Vogue Theater

Veins of the World (Die Adern der Welt)
Dir. Byambasuren Davaa –– Germany, Mongolia | 2020 | 96 min. | SF Premiere
In a province in the middle of the Mongolian steppe, 11-year-old Amra lives a traditional nomad life with his mother Zaya, father Erdene and little sister Altaa. Their peaceful routine is threatened by the encroachment of international mining companies, digging for gold and devastating the natural habitat. Erdene is the leader of the last nomads opposing them, and tries to unite and convince his comrades not to accept the compensations offered. But after Amra’s father dies in a tragic car accident, his mother wants to give up the nomad life and trade the steppe for the city. But Amra refuses and tries to carry on his father’s David vs. Goliath fight with his cleverness and the tools of an 11-year-old boy. Mongolia’s Official Entry to the 2021 Academy Awards.
Official Selection: Berlinale (Generation), Mill Valley
In Mongolian with English subtitles
Starring: Bat-Ireedui Batmunkh, Purevdorj Uranchimeg, Enerel Tumeni
Available On-Demand

Dir. Christian Petzold –– Germany | 2007 | 89 min.
In this stylish and deliciously suspenseful mystery, Yella escapes her volatile ex-husband, and flees her small hometown in former East Germany for a new life in the West. She finds a promising job with Philipp, a handsome business executive with whom an unlikely romance soon blossoms. But just as Yella seems poised to realize her dreams, she finds herself haunted by buried truths that threaten to destroy her newfound happiness. The event will be highlighted by a Tribute to Ingrid Eggers, Founder of the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival.
In German with English subtitles
Starring: Nina Hoss, Devid Striesow, Hinnerk Schönemann
Available On-Demand


Born in Evin
Dir. Maryam Zaree –– Germany, Austria | 2019 | 95 min. | Northern California Premiere
The documentary follows filmmaker and actress, Maryam Zaree, on her quest to find out the violent circumstances surrounding her birth inside one of the most notorious political jails in the world: Evin Prison, in Tehran, Iran. Maryam’s parents were imprisoned shortly after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979, a period in which tens of thousands of political dissidents were arrested and tortured. On this vulnerable, lyrical journey Maryam considers the impact of trauma on the bodies and souls of survivors and their children, leading her to question how her generation can relate to their own history while also respecting the people they love as they prefer to heal in silence. Winner Best Film, Perspektive Deutsches Kino, Berlinale 2019.
In German, English, French, and Farsi with English subtitles
Available On-Demand

Glitter & Dust (Glitzer & Staub)
Dirs. Anna Koch & Julia Lemke –– Germany | 2020 | 91 min. US West Coast Premiere
Four girls living in the lonely vastness of the USA share one passion: the wild world of rodeo. Although they move about in the powerful imagery of the American prairie and the myths of the Wild West, they give it new resonance and break free of it. In a world that used to belong to their fathers and brothers, they prove that “you ride like a girl” is not an insult but a compliment.
Official Selection: Krakow, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong
In English
Available On-Demand

Walchensee Forever
Dir. Janna Ji Wonders –– Germany | 2020 | 110 min. | Northern California Premiere
This documentary family saga is a voyage of discovery spanning four generations of women over a century. In order to uncover the secrets and her role in the generation chain, director Janna Ji Wonders leads us from the family café at the Bavarian Lake Walchensee via Mexico to San Francisco during the “Summer of Love”, Indian ashrams, a German commune and back again and again to Lake Walchensee. Questions about identity, roots and self-fulfillment are asked through this search for life, love and death. It is a personal story about the eternal cycle of life.
Official Selection: Tel Aviv, Riga, Tallinn, Thessaloniki
In German and English with English subtitles
Available On-Demand


My Wonderful Wanda (Wanda, mein Wunder)
Dir. Bettina Oberli –– Switzerland | 2020 | 111 min. This delightful satire of the haves and the have-nots is set against the backdrop of a gorgeous lakeside villa in Switzerland. Wanda is a Polish caretaker who has left her own small children in Poland to look after a stroke-ridden patriarch of a wealthy Wegmeister-Gloor dynasty. Wanda adeptly navigates the tricky family dynamics between the two grown (if still childish) offspring and the elegant if controlling matriarch, but an unexpected turn of events turns everything upside down. Winner of awards at Tribeca and Vancouver Film Festivals.
In German and Swiss German with English subtitles
Starring: Agnieszka Grochowska, Marthe Keller, André Jung, Birgit Minichmayr, Jacob Matschenz
Available as On-Demand

One-Way to Moscow (Moskau Einfach!)
Dir. Micha Lewinsky –– Switzerland | 2020 | 99 min. | Northern California Premiere
Around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, hundreds of thousands of people were spied on in Switzerland. Policeman Schuler goes undercover to reveal a possible political coup in the Zurich Schauspielhaus.
Official Selection: São Paulo, Solothurn, Santa Barbara, Cleveland
In Swiss German and German with English subtitles
Starring: Philippe Graber, Miriam Stein, Mike Müller
Available On-Demand


Berlin Alexanderplatz – see CENTERPIECE FILM (above)

Exile (Exil)
Dir. Visar Morina –– Germany, Belgium, Republic Kosovo | 2020 | 121 min. | Northern California Premiere
Xhafer, a 45 year old, Kosovo-born pharmaceutical engineer living in Germany suddenly feels discriminated against and bullied at work because of his ethnic background. Every occurrence, every word, every gesture is taken as evidence. Do his colleagues simply dislike him? Or is there more to their hostility? Is this all in his mind or is it the actual reality? In his second feature-length film, director Visar Morina dissects the psychological effects of social exclusion and presents them here as an interplay between belonging and alienation.
Official Selection: Berlinale (Panorama)
In German and Albanian with English subtitles
Starring: Mišel Matičević, Sandra Hüller, Rainer Bock, Thomas Mraz
Available On-Demand


The Short Stories program (82 min.) will be presented as one on-demand program.
Available On-Demand

Dir. Zamarin Wahdat –– Germany | 2020 | 13 min. | US West Coast Premiere When 8-year-old Kati from Afghanistan stows away in her father’s delivery van, Faruk must juggle his responsibilities as a single dad while holding down his first job in a new country. As their relationship deepens, a brush with covert racism tests the bond between a father and daughter. Winner of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Award for International Fiction.
Starring: Kailas Mahadeva, Lara Cengiz-Karinnes
In German and Dari with English subtitles

Conversations with a Whale
Dir. Anna Samo –– Germany | 2020 | 9 min. | California Premiere
In this love letter to artists, their art and its audience, one filmmaker is confronted with rejection after rejection until at last, a beautiful fig tree bears sweet fruits.
Official Selection: Annecy, Seattle, Tallinn, Hamburg
In English

Interstate 8
Dir. Anne Thieme –– Germany, USA | 2019 | 15 min. | California Premiere
In the southern United States, two young women meet by chance in the back of a police car and, without saying a word, experience the injustice hovering above them.
Official Selection: Warsaw, Barcelona, RiverRun USA
In English Starring: Stephanie Amarell, Isabela Rengifo, Jacobi Howard, Drew Matthews

Learn to Swim (Freischwimmer)
Dir. Gaya Von Schwarze –– Germany | 2019 | 17 min. | Northern California Premiere
On an ordinary Sunday morning, Karin breaks out of her conventions and impulsively leaves home on her daughter’s racing bicycle. She wants to look for her son, who left the sheltered family home a while ago. Karin’s way leads her to a farm where her son has settled down with other social dropouts.
Official Selection: Palm Springs, San Sebastian
In German with English subtitles
Starring: Luca Henning, Stephanie Petrowitz

Dir. Jannis Alexander Kiefer –– Germany | 2020 | 9 min. | US Premiere | North American Premiere
3 minutes before the online meeting: The welcoming joke is well though out, the bottle is neatly tucked into the underwear, and the internet connection is premium – what could possibly go wrong? 2020 Winner of the German Short Film Award.
Official Selection: Bremen
Starring: Gisa Flake, Jürgen Heimüller, Gabriela Lindl, Gregor Knop
In German with English subtitles

The One Who Crossed the Sea (Der Übers Meer Kam)
Dir. Jonas Riemer –– Germany, Austria | 2020 | 11 min. | North American Premiere
An animated documentary that tells the story of a GDR refugee who joins the New Right. In a folding boat, he flees via Denmark to Western Germany, where the story tips into the dark. His newly acquired freedom turns into disorientation. Only in a burgeoning nationalist movement does he find a new home.
Official Selection: Dresden, Berlin, Lenzing, Athens
In German with English subtitles

Dir. Francy Fabritz –– Germany | 2019 | 8 min.
Two women are kidnapping a dubious right-wing politician by elegantly stealing his car with him caught in the boot. What seems like a supposedly harmless ride at first glance turns into a plan of revenge.
Official Selection: Hof, Lisbon, San Sebastian, Clermont-Ferrand
Starring: Marion Brasch, Paul Frielinghaus, Sigrid Grajek
In German with English subtitles


Lessons of a Dream (Der ganz große Traum ) 10th Anniversary
Dir. Sebastian Grobler –– Germany | 2011 | 113 min. Loosely based on the life of German football pioneer Konrad Koch in the late 19th-century. The young teacher Konrad Koch (Daniel Brühl) is hired to teach English at a strictly-run German school for boys in 1874. The reform-minded headmaster von Merfeld (Burghart Klaussner) has hired Koch as one of the very first English teachers of all at a German secondary school in order to let a fresh new wind into his musty institution. Koch sees how badly this is needed in his very first class. Everything that the boys know about England is common prejudices handed down from one generation to the next. In order to stir up some enthusiasm for the foreign language, Oxford graduate Koch resorts to unusual means and introduces his students to a curious sport that comes from Britain: football.
Starring: Daniel Brühl, Burghart Klaußner, Thomas Thieme, Theo Trebs
Scheduled Screening:
May 26, 5:00 PM at Fort Mason Center Drive-In
Invitation Only: May 27, 10:00 AM on Virtual Cinema with Interactive Q&A


Ingrid Eggers
Founder of the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival with Yella

Caroline Link
2021 Career Achievement Award with Nowhere in Africa 20th Anniversary

Daphne Charizani
Director & Screenwriter of Sisters Apart

Sebastian Grobler
Director of Lessons of a Dream

Visar Morina
Director of Exile

Lena Urzendowsky
Lead Actor of Cocoon

Burhan Qurbani
Director of Berlin Alexanderplatz


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