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Official Press Release

Berlin & Beyond in Focus
Free Virtual Film Festival November 19-21, 2020
Film Program Announcement

Media Contact: Steve Indig PR

(San Francisco, November 6, 2020) The Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, with the support and collaboration of the Goethe-Institut San Francisco and the Special Projects and Unexpected Needs (SPUN) grant of Grants for the Arts, presents the virtual film festival, Berlin & Beyond in Focus, November 19-21, 2020. This program commemorates the heritage of Berlin & Beyond and its relevance and resonance with contemporary German cinema.

This completely free virtual event is also the official kick-off of Berlin & Beyond’s 25th Anniversary Season, ahead of the main 25th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, which is slated for April 29 – May 4, 2021.

Berlin & Beyond Director Sophoan Sorn: “This special program reflects Berlin & Beyond’s steadfast endeavor to bring noteworthy works from German-speaking countries to San Francisco and the Bay Area, with powerful, eye-opening and deeply personal stories of perseverance, resilience, and togetherness.”

Ten feature-length films will be shown in a scheduled format with live Q&As or as an on-demand program (some will include pre-recorded Q&As). Interactive highlights will include engaging panels and community conversations (to be announced in a separate release).

Most films are geo-blocked only for viewers in the Bay Area counties of San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo. All films will have a limited number of viewers. Though the virtual screenings are free, ticket registration is required.


Berlin & Beyond in Focus – November 19-21, 2020

  • Details and tickets at
  • Cost for each online screening: free
  • Ticket registration window: Nov. 5-6 for San Francisco city and county; Nov. 7 at noon and forward to include the other Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo.
  • Press images can be found at:
  • Screeners for select films will be available for the press and media.
  • Select films with US distribution will have hold review restrictions.


OPENING NIGHT FILM – Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 7:30 PM
I Was, I Am, I Will Be (Es gilt das gesprochene Wort)
Followed by Q&A with Director Ilker Çatak
Directed by Ilker Çatak I (Germany, France, 2019, 122 min.)
Winner of the 2020 German Film Award Best Picture (Bronze)
Opposite worlds collide when Baran, a Turkish gigolo meets Marion, a German pilot, on the beaches of Marmaris. An examination of life’s unpredictability and progression from a troubled past, to a complicated present and the hopeful promise of the future.
In German, Turkish, and English; non-English portions with English subtitles
Cast: Anne Ratte-Polle, Oğulcan Arman Uslu, Godehard Giese, Jörg Schüttauf
Northern California Premiere

SWISS FILM & TALK – Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 1:00 PM
My Little Sister (Schwesterlein)
Followed by Q&A with Directors Stéphanie Chuat & Véronique Reymond
Directed by Stéphanie Chuat, Véronique Reymond (Switzerland, 2020, 99 min.)
Switzerland’s Official Entry to the 2021 Academy Awards for Best International Film Consideration
Lisa gives up her ambitions as a playwright in Berlin and moves to Switzerland with her husband. When her twin brother, a famous actor, falls ill with cancer, Lisa returns to the German capital, risking everything for their desire to be creative, and feel alive again.
In German, French, and English; non-English portions with English subtitles
Cast: Nina Hoss, Lars Eidinger, Jens Albinus, Marthe Keller
Northern California Premiere

CLOSING NIGHT FILM – Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 7:30 PM
Curveball – A True Story. Unfortunately.
Directed by Johannes Naber (Germany, 2020, 108 min.)
2020 Berlinale Special Gala Selection
This political satire tells the grotesque, at times even surreal, true story of how the Iraq war was started based on nothing but fake intelligence and the involvement of the German government and German secret service.
In German, English, and Arabic; non-English portions with English subtitles
Cast: Sebastian Blomberg, Dar Salim, Virginia Kull, Thorsten Merten, Michael Wittenborn
US West Coast Premiere


The following films will be available to rent (for free) to watch during the festival period.

Directed by Jonas Heldt (Germany, 2020, 80 minutes)
Documentary Film
This documentary tells a story of a generation for which work as a basis of existence is neither safe nor identity shaping. A worker sorting car parts, and a headhunter in logistics automation, both work with the knowledge that eventually will be replaceable.
In German, English, Turkish, and Hungarian; non-English portions with English subtitles
North America Premiere

Cleo – If I Could Turn Back Time
Directed by Erik Schmitt (Germany, 2019, 99 min.)
Imaginative Cleo dreams of finding a magic clock that turns back time. When she meets Paul, they set off on a topsy-turvy journey through time and across the pulsating city of Berlin.
In German with English subtitles
Cast: Marleen Lohse, Jeremy Mockridge, Heiko Pinkowski, Max Mauff
California Premiere

Gipsy Queen
Directed by Hüseyin Tabak (Germany, Austria, 2019, 117 min.)
Best Leading Actress for Alina Serban at the 2020 German Screen Actors Awards
Ali, a courageous woman and single mother of two kids, struggles to provide for her family. While working in a rundown nightclub, she seizes at the chance to train as a boxer, for a chance of a better life.
In German and Romany with English subtitles
Cast: Alina Serban, Tobias Moretti, Irina Kurbanova
Special Encore | 24th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival Closing Night Film, February 2020

Directed by Elke Lehrenkrauss (Germany, 2019, 103 min.) Documentary Film
Alongside the dark country roads of rural Germany, prostitutes from foreign countries work in old caravans. ln this uncanny world, the murder of one of the women takes place.
In German, English, and Bulgarian; non-English portions with English subtitles
Northern California Premiere

Stars Above Us (Sterne über uns)
Directed by Christina Ebelt (Germany, 2019, 102 min.)
Forced into homelessness, Melli, a single mother, takes her son Ben to a forest, while she continues to fight her way out of their desperate situation. For the good of her child, she has to make the most difficult decision of her life.
In German with English subtitles
Cast: Franziska Hartmann, Claudio Magno, Kai Ivo Baulitz, Nicole Johannhanwahr
North America Premiere

Directed by Christian Petzold (Germany, France, 2020, 90 min.)
Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize and the Silver Berlin Bear Best Actress for Paula Beer at the 2020 Berlinale
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
Cast: Paula Beer, Franz Rogowski, Maryam Zaree, Jacob Matschenz
San Francisco Premiere

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Als Hitler das rosa Kaninchen stahl)
Directed by Caroline Link  (Germany, Switzerland, 2019, 119 min.)
Best Children’s Film at the 2020 German Film Awards
In 1933, Anna is not sure who Hitler is, but that man on the posters is changing her family’s lives. They must flee Germany, leaving everything behind. Based on Judith Kerr’s bestselling semi-autobiographical novel.
In German and Swiss German with English subtitles
Cast: Riva Krymalowski, Carla Juri, Oliver Masucci
Northern California Premiere