Category Archives: Art & Cinematographie

Art Sampling in Los Angeles

Art Walks are calling

These days beautiful Southern California weather and warm temperatures are beckoning us outside. What better time to check out the LA art scene, especially since some great art events are just around the corner.

One is in fact happening tomorrow. The Brewery Art Walk Community opens its doors tomorrow and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. More than 100 participating artists in residence let you experience up close how they live and work. If you see some artwork you like, strike up a conversation with the artist right there and then. At the Brewery Art Walk you are basically breathing art. Anything you can remotely call art, you can find here.

Brewery Art Walk is fun, it’s hip and eclectic! There is a spring and a fall art walk and we used to visit at least one of each every year. The atmosphere is definitely a bit crazy but totally fun and groovy. Even people-watching becomes an adventure.

The famous Venice Art Walk is coming up on May 21st (12pm to 6pm). Contrary to the Brewery Art Walk it is not a free event since the proceeds of the event go to the Venice Family Clinic.  Artists as well as architects are opening their homes and studios to the public and let everyone participate in their creative process. Special Studio tours are often offered and apart from fascinating art you can see some stunning homes. The impressive silent auction features famous names like Ed Ruscha, Billy Al Bengston , Sam Durant and many more.

What’s the atmosphere here? You are walking along the cool Venice community close to the beach with all its restaurants and bars. It’s quite a different setting compared to the Brewery Art Walk which is housed in a previous industrial zone with artists’ lofts in former warehouses. And, yes, people-watching is definitely a must also here… you are in Venice Beach after all!

We started our “art walk season” with last week’s Spring Fling at Bergamot Station. Another art haven, this time in Santa Monica. The venue is easily accessible with LA metro’s Expo Line. If you arrive by car, parking can sometimes become a bit challenging.

The Spring Fling event was a collective Open House of about 30 galleries, welcoming art enthusiasts to check out what’s hot in the contemporary art world. Bergamot Station used to be one of our regular art venues to get our ‘art fix’ quite some years ago. So upon hearing of the spring event we packed up the family and left for LA.

Having not been here for a while I perceived the audience and overall vibe as quite a bit different from the exhilaratingly crazy, creative chaos at the Brewery Art Walk. While still colorful and vibrant the audience seemed to be more on the ‘sophisticated’ side and one could feel that the venue here was managed by various gallery businesses rather than an artist community. But that didn’t mean the art was less intriguing. In fact some of the galleries put on some well curated shows. Walking through Bergamot Station felt more like visiting a bunch of micro museums.

It was quite a coincidence that we stumbled upon the abstract architectural sculptures by German artist, Manfred Müller from Düsseldorf, whose work was featured in a show called “Not From Here” at the Rosegallery.

Taking in all what Bergamot Station had to offer, we particularly enjoyed the art installation “People I Saw But Never Met” by Zadok Ben-David at Shoshana Wayne Gallery. 3,000 hand-cut aluminum figures are installed on the gallery floor covered in white sand (see this post’s featured image).

Another highlight was William Turner Gallery’s “Chance and Circumstances”, an exhibition that featured new works by 91 year-old famous and prolific Los Angeles painter, Ed Moses, a central figure in post-war West Coast Art.

One Show that really captivated us long after we had already left for home was Stephen Wilkes’ “Ellis Island- Ghosts of Freedom” at the Peter Fetterman Gallery. The photography exhibition took you on a trip through an abandoned hospital on Ellis Island that the early immigrants to this country had to pass through before they were allowed access to the ‘land of the free’. Stephen Wilkes captured the eerie atmosphere and its history so perfectly that one was literally pulled into each picture’s story.

One picture was taken from such an angle that the Statue of Liberty was visible in the mirror over a sink in a room, where some Eastern European woman might have had to stay to get her health monitored. Wilkes writes in his remarks next to the image, that he was wondering if this was perhaps the closest she could ever get to the freedom she so had longed for…

Striking, thought provoking compositions left you wanting to find out more about this part of history. Apparently Wilkes just came to visit the hospital for a one-time article assignment but it turned into a 5-year project. You can feel his fascination with his project in his exceptional capturing of the various moods and energy in every image. History comes alive under his camera and we seem to become an invisible witness of the many impactful moments that might have had occurred at that time in history.

Still in thought we solemnly made our way back to our car and were grateful for the appeasing pictures by Tamayo and Diego Rivera at the Latin American Masters Gallery before we found ourselves back on the freeway chaos of the late afternoon traffic.

All Images: ©CaliforniaGermans

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FRANTZ – Movie Release in Los Angeles – March 24

FRANTZ, the latest film from renowned filmmaker Francois Ozon, will be released in Los Angeles on March 24 at the Landmark’s Nuart Theatre.

CaliforniaGermans has 2 pairs of movie tickets to give away for March 24 in Los Angeles! If you would like to receive a FREE pair of movie tickets, send us an email here with your full name and mention the movie “FRANTZ”. We will choose and contact 2 lucky movie goers among the first 10 emails we receive.


A haunting tale of love and reconciliation through the eyes of the First World War’s lost generation.

Set in Germany and France in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, (1914-1918), Frantz recalls the mourning period that follows great national tragedies as seen through the eyes of the war’s “lost generation”: Anna (21 year-old Paula Beer in a breakthrough performance), a bereft young German woman whose fiancé, Frantz, was killed during trench warfare, and Adrien (Pierre Niney, Yves Saint Laurent), a French veteran of the war who shows up mysteriously in her town, placing flowers on Frantz’s grave. Adrien’s presence is met with resistance by the small community still reeling from Germany’s defeat, yet Anna gradually gets closer to the handsome and melancholy young man, as she learns of his deep friendship with Frantz, conjured up in evocative flashbacks.

What follows is a surprising exploration of how Ozon’s characters’ wrestle with their conflicting feelings – survivor’s guilt, anger at one’s losses, the overriding desire for happiness despite everything that has come before, and the longing for sexual, romantic and familial attachments.

Inspired by Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 film Broken Lullaby, FRANTZ is an elegant and dramatic love story—both between two individuals and between two nations at the core of the imperiled European Union experiment.

Early Praise for FRANTZ

“Exquisite and haunting…one of the talented director Francois Ozon’s very best films.” -Paper

“A richly imagined and superbly assembled period piece.” -The Hollywood Reporter

“Astonishingly beautiful and inquisitive. It’s impossible to deny the sheer narrative sophistication.” -Indiewire

Run time: 113 minutes, Rating: PG-13, Language: French and German with English subtitles

Credits: MusicBoxFilms


Newport Beach Film Festival – German Spotlight Event

IMG_1312NBFF 2016 – German Spotlight Event

Warning: We’re being watched!  With over 350 independent and international films, as well as nightly gala events and industry seminars, this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival offered a rich variety of events in which art, entertainment, and cultural fans could partake in.

I personally had the honor to attend this year’s German Spotlight, which took place on Tuesday, April 26.  This spotlight is especially dear to my heart since I was an event coordinator for it last year when the German film got finally re-introduced to the Newport Beach Film Festival after seven years of absence.  This year, I was curious to see how it feels like to “only” attend as a guest.  I was very much looking forward to sitting back, relaxing, and witnessing some great German filmmaking.  The evening did not disappoint.

This year’s spotlight movie One Breath literally took my breath away.  The film plot is concerned with two women of complete opposite backgrounds whose lives cross paths.  One is wealthy Tessa, who seems to have it all: a great career, a good-looking husband, and one-and-a-half-year old daughter Lotte.  Elena, on the other hand, escapes from Greek, where she had no perspective, leaving her boyfriend behind to move to Frankfurt for a better life, where she finds out that she is pregnant.  She starts working for Tessa as a nanny, but quickly realizes that the seemingly perfect life and the nice apartment Tessa and her family live in is really only pretense.  Tessa appears to be very controlling, and Elena also gets to witness that Tessa’s marriage and life is far from perfect. One fateful afternoon, both Elena’s and Tessa’s lives change dramatically when Lotte disappears while Elena was taking care of her.  Overwhelmed with the situation, Elena flees back to Greece.  Tessa, who is convinced that Elena took the child, travels to Athens, trying to find her and hopefully Lotte.  Unfortunately in this movie, there is only a happy ending for one of the women!  

One Breath definitely deserved to be selected as the German Spotlight film.  It delivers very strong performances by its actors, especially Jördis Triebel as Tessa and Chara Mata Giannatou as Elena convince in their roles.  The movie really pulled viewers deep into its tragic story, and once the final movie credits were being displayed on the big screen, I had a hard time transitioning to party mode for the after-gala.  I was still sucked into the movie plot, trying to understand why one character deserved a better ending than the other.  

IMG_1314Once I arrived at the German Spotlight after-gala, which was held at SoCo and hosted by Design Within Reach, my mood finally changed.  Loud music was popping out of the design store which got perfectly transformed into an amazing party venue with a DJ, live performances, amazing food from Orange County’s premier restaurants and drinks provided by festival sponsors.  I was most amazed by this year’s ice sculpture which was displayed right at the front and had all four spotlight countries engraved.  Of course, I had to take a couple of fun pictures with it.  The food was really amazing as well; I indulged in beef tacos, tomato soup, and mini cake bites.  

All in all, I was more than impressed about what this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival had put together for the European Showcase Spotlight night.  It is great to know that the German movie has made it back to the event for the second year in a row, and I am personally looking forward to more great European filmmaking being celebrated in Orange County.

Images & video footage: ©Anne-Kathrin Schulte

Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She lives in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at) and place her name in the subject line.



Ticket Give Away for German Spotlight Film & Gala at Newport Beach Film Festival


One Free ticket for 2 lucky winners

The Newport Beach Film Festival has started and for one week will dazzle us with over 350 independent and international films, nightly gala events and free educational seminars with directors and actors.

The German Spotlight will present the US Premier of  “One Breath” on Tuesday, April 26th, and invites to the European Showcase Party right after the screening.

Get your tickets for this exciting film and Gala event here OR you be one of the two lucky winners getting a Free Ticket to the movie as well as to the Gala by participating at our Ticket Give-Away, HERE!! 

Click the Red “ENTER” below to Participate


The Newport Beach Film Fest is screening two German Movies this year.

The German NBFF Spotlight Movie One Breath  plays April 26th, at the Triangle Theatre, Costa Mesa at 8:15pm. It is followed by the European Spotlight Gala at SOCO

The German movie A Heavy Heart plays April 25th at the Triangle Theatre, Costa Mesa at 8:00pm.

CaliforniaGermans readers enjoy a $5 ticket discount with the promo code : GERMAN2016


Image: NBFF – Newport Beach Film Festival
Give Away Rules


German Films At The Newport Beach Film Festival – April 21-28, 2016

2016-NBFF Pic

NBFF 2016 – “the West Coast’s Fastest-Growing Film Festival”

(Interview with CEO & Co-Founder Gregg Schwenk)

As the red carpet is getting rolled out for the 17th Newport Beach Film Festival we had a chance to speak with Gregg Schwenk, CEO and Co-Founder of the Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF). He gave us some insight into the festival’s history, spoke about German film as part of the NBFF and shared some memories of the first German Spotlight Film event they hosted at the Newport Beach Film Festival years ago.

Q: The Newport Beach Film Festival is now in its 17th year. What influenced your decision to start the NBFF here in Newport Beach?

Gregg Schwenk: I grew up here in Newport Beach, and I have very deep roots here in Orange County.  I had the great opportunity to travel and attend a number of other film festivals around the world and I was talking to some of the city leaders, saying, “If Palm Springs or the Hamptons or Toronto can have a major festival, I really feel that Newport Beach should have one too. It is the perfect backdrop for an international global film festival.”  Luckily, they agreed, and myself and Todd Quartararo co-founded the festival in 1998, and then had our first film festival in March 1999.   It was a smaller event. We had a handful of screens and a handful of movies. I think we screened about a hundred films at that time.  We got a very positive feedback and very positive results financially, and from there on it just grew and we have been doing one every year since. We have grown into the largest entertainment event in Orange County and are one of the largest festivals south of Los Angeles!  We’ll screen over 350 films from 50 different countries.  Our overall audience last year was 55,000 people.

Q: Did you study film or were you involved in the film industry before founding the NBFF?

GS: I went to UC Berkeley, and my degree is in Political Economy. When I was at UC Berkeley, I did some extensive research work for an organization on a project about the regional impact of film production. When I came back to Southern California and ended up working on investment banking, mergers and acquisitions my work included a number of deals that were film-related because of my experience in the entertainment industry. Then I got very active here locally for the City of Newport Beach with the economic development committee and in 1998 we founded the festival.

Q: Who is choosing the movies for the NBFF?

GS: There are two processes for a film to be at the festival. One is through our submission process, and that is very extensive. The process starts in August and ends in early February. Those are films that are sent in by filmmakers from all around the world. Our staff reviews and rates them and then the programming team debates before making the decision if the films are going to be at the festival or not. Then there is the recruitment process. That is where we see films at another festival. We take a look at those films and, from a curatorial process, put them in.

Q: Are you personally involved in the decision process?

2016 - Gregg-Schwenkn-NBFF-200x300GS: I used to watch quite a few more films then I do now.  But I definitely watch the Spotlight films. I really leave it up to the programming team to find the best films that are available for our audience.

Q: How many international festivals do you go to?

GS: Not all of them, but to a lot of them. We do Toronto, Berlin, Sundance, Dublin, Norway, Ireland, Cannes…

Q: Have you been to Berlin this year?

GS: I couldn’t go, but Cade Russell, the Associate Director of Programming at NBFF, has been to Berlin many times.

Q: Any connection to Germany?

GS: I have traveled to Germany quite a bit.  I wanted to go to the Munich Film Festival, which is a little smaller. We are debating about it for this year; there are just so many things going on at once.

Q: How does the NBFF audience receive foreign films with subtitles?

GS: I think the unique aspect of the audience for Orange County is that they are focused on quality.  It doesn’t matter if it is an English language film or a German film.  If it’s a good film, they are going to want to sit back and watch that film and are open to reading the subtitles as long as it is a quality film.

Q: Do you only have one international film per country?

GS: No, for Germany I think we got two films. We have One Breath, which is the Spotlight, and then we have A Heavy Heart.

Q: Do you remember your first German Spotlight?

GS: The first German Spotlight movie was called As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me, many years ago.  I remember that because it was the story of a German soldier who was a prisoner of war in a Soviet Gulag and he escapes and has to walk across Siberia to get home. So the theatre at that time was packed. It was a full house, three/four hundred people. It was a very anticipated film, and the air conditioning went out! So you have these scenes of the Siberian winter, and everyone was taking off their jackets…! They were sweating, it was very hot, but everyone stayed.  No one left! It was a really great film and a wonderful experience. It was a very positive, a very quintessential film festival experience.

Q: There were a few years without a German Spotlight. Why?

GS: The only reason we didn’t continue with the German Spotlight is that there was a period of time where Germany wasn’t putting out both the quality and, most importantly, the number of films. From the film festival’s standpoint, it is not just, “well, this is a really great film from Germany.”  We need to have four, five films to take a look at.  Nor is it only us, the filmmakers are also making decisions. That can be something like “We love the Newport Beach Film Festival, but we are holding out for the Sundance Film Festival.”  Or there is a big blockbuster in Germany, and it is picked up by the Weinstein Company, and they are going to be releasing it in February. So it comes out before our festival. As you see, there is also a timing component to it.

Yes, there were a couple of years where there were a number of forces that worked against us having a stronger German Spotlight. Then we talked about it last year and said it was time to bring it back. We had a very successful German Spotlight screening last year, and we hopefully have a very successful one this year.

Q: How about celebrities for German movies?

GS: We’d love to get more! Something that has been successful with our other International Spotlights is getting the respective entertainment and film community, that is here in Southern California, engaged.  Even if an actor or actress isn’t in the film, having them come down and support German film in Southern California becomes an important point. We have done that with our Australian Spotlight, our UK Spotlight, our Irish Spotlight, and Latino and Asian showcases.  We would love to get the German expatriate film making community here in Southern California come to the German Spotlight to support German film!

Q: What is the one movie at this year’s NBFF that we absolutely shouldn’t miss?

GS: With 350 plus films, there is something for everybody. One of the areas I really enjoy is not a film, it is our Seminar Series.  When you go to other festivals, the seminars would cost you anywhere between maybe $15-$25 per session, where at Newport it is free.  These are free seminars! And they cover areas such as acting, directing, cinematography, music, composing music for film. We also have a Women in Film panel this year.

That is probably the one thing I am very proud of since our first year, we always had free seminars! Today some of the leading-edge people in the industry come out to the NBFF and talk about what they do in front of or behind the camera. So that is my favorite part.

Q: Where are the seminars taking place?

GS: They are at the Newport Beach Civic Center this year. That’s right across from Fashion Island.

Q: Finally, what is new at this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival?

GS: This year we will host a Filmmaker’s EXPO for the fist time! We will have it for one day only, on April 24th. The expo will offer filmmakers to engage with professional industry representatives and vendors displaying and demonstrating top of the line filmmaking equipment, resources and more. The EXPO will be at the Newport Beach Civic Center.

Thank you for your time! We look forward to an exciting NBFF 2016!


CaliforniaGermans readers enjoy a $5 ticket discount with the promo code : GERMAN2016

The German NBFF Spotlight Movie One Breath  plays April 26th, at the Triangle Theatre, Costa Mesa at 8:15pm. It is followed by the European Spotlight Gala at SOCO

The German movie A Heavy Heart plays April 25th at the Triangle Theatre, Costa Mesa at 8:00pm.

The 17th NBFF will show over 350 independent and international films, have nightly gala events and offer free educational seminars with directors and actors. The NBFF is not only an industry event but the community is much invited. Families will appreciate the extensive Family Film Series.

Interview: Cornelia Fuertes 
Assistance: Anne-Kathrin Schulte
Image: © Newport Beach Filmfestival and Filmschool