Berlin and Beyond Film Festival in San Francisco: Feb 9-15, 2018

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Listen Up, Everyone! Berlin & Beyond – The German Film Festival is Coming to Town

On Friday, 09 February 2018, the Berlin and Beyond Film Festival, presented annually by the Goethe- Institut San Francisco, will kick off its 22nd year at San Francisco’s historic and iconic Castro Theatre (February 9th-11th). Expect red carpet premieres, with actors and filmmakers in attendance, along with screenings – for the first time – at Landmark Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley on February 12th, and at the auditorium of the Goethe-Institut in Downtown San Francisco from February 13th-15th.

With an annual attendance of more than 10,000 film-goers, the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival has been the leading festival of contemporary German cinema in the Americas since 1996, and has presented more than 500 motion pictures, along with the presence of celebrated film figures, including Fatih Akin, Moritz Bleibtreu, Daniel Brühl, Hannelore Elsner, Florian David Fitz, Bruno Ganz, Maria Schrader, Barbara Sukowa, and Wim Wenders.


The opening night film, Welcome to Germany (Willkommen bei den Hartmanns), begins at 6:30pm on Friday, 09 February 2018 (a Northern California premiere). In the film, a well-off Munich family offers boarding to Diallo, a refugee from Nigeria. Their lives are tested when they have to face racism, bureaucracy, and terror suspicions because of him. A timely social comedy, Welcome to Germany, was the highest grossing German film at the local box office in 2016 and first part of 2017 with more than 3.5 million admissions. The film’s Writer and Director, Simon Verhoeven, will be in attendance.


The festival’s Centerpiece Film, The Bloom of Yesterday (Die Blumen von Gestern), directed by Chris Kraus, will enjoy its San Francisco Premiere at 6:30pm on Saturday, Feb 10th at the Castro Theater. In this film starring: Lars Eidinger, Adèle Haenel, Jan Josef Liefers, and Hannah Herzsprung a Holocaust scholar (who is secretly the grandson of a Nazi war criminal), takes on an intern who is the granddaughter of a Holocaust victim. The mismatched pair bond over familial legacies and stumble towards romance.

Lars Eidinger (Personal Shopper, Clouds of Sils Maria), who plays Totila Blumen, will be in attendance.


Also celebrating a San Francisco premiere is the Castro closing night film, Egon Schiele: Death and the Maiden (Egon Schiele: Tod und Mädchen), directed by Dieter Berner, and starring Noah Saavedra, Maresi Riegner, Valerie Pachner, and Marie Jung.

This film takes us to the beginning of the 20th century when Egon Schiele was one of the most provocative artists in Vienna. His life and work are driven by beautiful women and an era that is coming to an end. Two women will have a lasting impact on him – his sister and first muse Gerti, and 17-year-old Wally, arguably Schiele’s one true love, immortalized in his famous painting “Death and the Maiden”. Schiele’s radical paintings scandalize Viennese society, and Schiele is also prepared to sacrifice love and life for his art.

The Castro closing night film will screen on Sunday, February 11th, at 8:30pm.

Tickets and passes are available online through Brown Paper Tickets, and at select venues. Visit to view the film schedule, to purchase tickets, and for more information about the festival and venues, including helpful transit and parking hints!

See you there at #BerlinBeyond22 !

The Venues:
Castro Theater (Feb. 09-11) 429 Castro Street (at Market) San Francisco CA 94114
Landmark Theatres Shattuck Cinemas (Feb. 12) 2230 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley CA 94704
Goethe-Institut Auditorium (Feb. 13-15) 530 Bush Street (street entry, near Grant) San Francisco CA 94108

CREDITS: Images Courtesy Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, Photo Copyrights (see underneath images):  ©Warner Bros Entertainment, ©Edith Held/DOR FILM-WEST/Four Minutes Filmproduktion/DOR Film, ©Novotny & Novotny Filmproduktion


Christopher Chin is an accomplished underwater videographer and writer who has traveled extensively and speaks several languages. He studied German at the University of California, Berkeley, and quickly fell in love with the German language, culture and people. In early 2006, Christopher co-founded The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE), and currently serves as its Executive Director.

Christopher is an internationally recognized expert in ocean policy and conservation issues, and has provided valuable and persuasive testimony to various governing and legislative bodies in the U.S. and in Canada, and he has had the privilege of addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations on two separate occasions.




How Do I Raise a Bilingual Child in Germany?

How Do I Raise a Bilingual Child in Germany?

(by Kate Müser)

I was raised in Northern California by American parents (who hail from San Diego and can still hold their own in Spanish). My husband was raised by native German speakers in Germany. We may now speak multiple languages between us, but grew up monolingually – not counting the Ruhrpott dialect and the menu at our favorite Mexican restaurant – and we each possess just one passport.

Our son, who arrived in November 2017, may be a first-born child, just like both his parents, and have his mom’s chin and his dad’s eyes. But he is different from us. He is 100% German and 100% American. And he is stuck with a mommy and a Papa who use different words for the same things.

Before he was born, I did some research on raising bilingual children, by reading books and watching YouTube videos.

Now that he’s here, speaking English with him comes naturally of course, but I know that more questions will come up the older – and more talkative – he gets.

As “California Germans”, I’m sure many of you have bilingual families or were raised in one yourself. I would love to hear your story.

Watch the video below and share your tips and thoughts with me! I may just include your comments in a future video.




Kate Müser, who grew up in Pleasanton, California, was surprised to discover that she feels even closer to her home state now than she did when she first moved to Bonn, Germany, over 14 years ago.

She is the creator of the successful YouTube series #thoseGermans and the portrait series #germany24. Visit Kate’s YouTube channel at and her website,

For over a decade, Kate has been a TV, radio and online journalist at Deutsche Welle, where she has hosted the feature documentary film Gutenberg in the Cyberstorm, the video series Meet the Germans with Kate and the TV show PopXport.


German Theater Workshop for Kids in SoCal


The German American School Association presents a Fairytale Theater Workshop in German at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim!

The theatre workshop offers an interactive theatre program for children ages 6-15 featuring a modern adaptation of the classic fairytale “Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten”.

During this workshop, children are encouraged to try out new ideas and become acquainted with different perspectives. Discovering their own body language helps them to adapt to new roles. Through the development of their own creativity and the joy of play-acting, a world of possibilities opens to them.

Yvonne Zech, actress and trainer with the Galli Theater Group in Wiesbaden, Germany, specializes in educational children’s theater projects and will guide the children through the day-long program.

A Frankfurter lunch is included. (Please pack a lunch if your child has allergies or food restrictions.)

Parents, family, and friends are invited to the final performance later in the afternoon at 5:15pm.

Between the workshop and the performance, a dinner selection will be available for purchase for you and your family. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today!
Last day to register is February 15th! Enroll HERE.

Theatre Workshop for Children:
WHEN: Sunday, February 25, 2018, 10am-4:30pm
WHERE: Phoenix Club, 1340 S Sanderson Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806
PERFORMANCE starts at 5:15 pm


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GSC Banner 2017 August-OctoberFinal

Friendships across the pond



I am sure many of you who have moved to California from overseas can relate to what I am going to express in this post.  We all had to leave all or some family and friends thousands of miles behind, living on different continents.  I personally have lived in the United States for six-and-a-half years and luckily, I was able to keep the majority of friendships existent.

Whenever I travel back to Germany or have friends visiting me in California, it feels like we have never been apart.  We catch up like we just hung out yesterday, and it doesn’t feel weird or unnatural at all.  Unfortunately, there are also those friendships that didn’t survive the long-distance relationship.

One particular case is my used to be good friend Vivienne (the name has been changed due to privacy.) I met Vivienne in Senior High School, and while we didn’t become friends right from the get-go, we grew really close once we got to know each other better.  In the long run, I did become her maid of honor and godmother to her firstborn son.

Today, Vivienne and I are no longer in touch.  Our relationship started to become rocky a couple years ago.  To be honest, I have never been the biggest fan of her husband, and I understand why she and I drifted apart.  But let’s circle back even further: Vivienne and her husband met while we were in our last year of Senior High School, and they hit it off instantly.  All three of us used to hang out a lot and had a great time together.

It wasn’t until after a while, I felt that I never got to see Vivienne without him around. I didn’t mind hanging out with him around every once in a while, but I was also missing girl time with one of my closest friends back then.  In the long run of their relationship, she confessed to me that her then-boyfriend became jealous whenever he wasn’t around her, which resulted into tension between the three of us.

At some point, they were at the verge of a breakup but managed to work it out. He promised to let her have her girlfriend time, and everything went back to the good times we used to have.  Ten years ago, Vivienne and her man became husband and wife on a very tumultuous wedding day.

Let’s just sum it up this way: A maid of honor that could only open one eye because she popped a balloon right in front of her eyes the night before; A father of the bride who answers a phone call in the middle of the wedding ceremony; And a father-in-law who is suffering a seizure and has to be hospitalized during the reception.  But as they say: the worse the wedding, the better the marriage.

Two days after, I moved all the way across the pond to work as an au pair for an American family.  As I had predicted it beforehand, a couple months later Vivienne called me with the news that she was expecting.  I was beyond happy for her and her husband and couldn’t wait for the day the baby was born.  I was even more on cloud nine when she proposed to me that she wanted me to be her son’s godmother.

When I moved back to Germany after my year in the States, I spent a lot of time with her and her family.  I helped them during their move to the countryside, which was located two hours away from our hometown.  I still was able to visit them at least once a month, and we had a blast together. I moved back to California in 2011, but whenever I traveled back to Europe, I made it a priority to spend at least one weekend of my time with them.

Over the years, my friend grew more and more unhappy, and one day she opened up to me that she was contemplating getting a divorce.  I supported her in her decision and had an open ear for her whenever she felt the need to reach out.  She eventually decided to give her marriage another shot, but it wasn’t until a year later she was contemplating her decision again.  By that time, I was totally displeased with her husband, and I can understand how that put her in the middle.

While I never asked her to choose between him and me, I can understand that me not being his biggest fan had a negative impact on her in her efforts to save the marriage.  They kept being married and now have a second child, but our friendship was the relationship that didn’t last.  Vivienne and I never had a fight; our connection just slowly diminished until we completely stopped any form of communication.

We are still connected on Social Media and can witness major life events through those platforms, but our friendship is done.  The long distance, unfortunately, didn’t work out for us.


Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for She writes about 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 has been living 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.





Fliehe !

(Ein Gedicht von Dieter Kermas)

Flattern Fahnen dort im Wind,
flieh´ sofort mit Frau und Kind,
denn seit vielen hundert Jahren
mussten wir voll Leid erfahren,
dass die Fahne als Symbol
weht nicht zu des Menschen Wohl.

Löwen, Bären, Adler, Drachen
soll´n des Herrschers Heer bewachen.
Grimmig schau´n sie von den Fahnen,
böses lässt der Anblick ahnen.
Werden Dörfer abgebrannt
und herrscht blanke Furcht im Land,
werden wie in alten Tagen,
Fahnen stets vorangetragen.

Wiens Erfahrung mit Osmanen
unterm Halbmond soll uns mahnen
und zur Vorsicht sei geraten
beim Totenkopf der Seepiraten.
Russlands Hammer samt der Sichel
und das Hakenkreuz vom Michel,
mit den Fahnen über Nacht,
haben sie nur Tod gebracht.

Christuskreuz auf einer Fahne,
dich sofort zur Flucht ermahne.
Links das Kreuz und rechts das Schwert,
ja, so wird der Heid´ bekehrt.
Den rechten Glauben musst du haben,
sonst fressen dich am End die Raben.
Scheiterhaufen sah man brennen,
Menschen um ihr Leben rennen.

Barmherzigkeit ward da gepredigt,
wer anders denkt, der wird erledigt.
So war´ s wahrlich nicht gedacht,
doch die Kirche liebt die Macht.
Noch einmal warn´ ich vor Symbolen,
sie sollte doch der Teufel holen.

©Dieter Kermas



Dieter Kermas, CaliforniaGermans Author and a true Berliner, turned to writing after he retired from his profession as an engineer. Family and friends urged him to document his many experiences during his childhood in wartime Germany. This made for a collection of various essays which have been published here at CaliforniaGermans. (You can find the stories here on by putting “Dieter Kermas” into the Search Box.) Apart from his childhood memories, he is also sharing some of his short stories and poems on CaliforniaGermans. Dieter Kermas, who loves to write, has published his first novel “Kolja. Liebe im Feindesland” in 2016, available on Amazon. Some of his work has been included in anthologies.

To get in touch with Dieter Kermas, please send an email with subject line “Dieter Kermas” to