NBFF 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.
Once 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-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. 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)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.