Tag Archives: Film festival

My Blind Date with Life – Newport Beach Film Festival German Spotlight 2018


This year marked my third time partaking in the Newport Beach Film Festival German Spotlight, and what can I say – I was blown away!  From the movie to the after party, everything was upscale and amazing.  I might even dare claim that this year’s movie was the best German film I personally have ever seen.


I love film and the movie industry, and while I have seen some great German films during my time on earth, nothing ever struck me as much as My Blind Date with Life, which is based on a true story.

In this biography/ comedy/ drama, teenage boy Saliya Kahawatte (remarkably played by Kostja Ullmann) aspires to work in the hotel business after graduating High School, but his dream is being jeopardized when he becomes nearly blind.  Even though several people, including his father, tell him to “Stop dreaming,” Saliya is still determined to follow his calling and applies to several hotels, including the Bayerischer Hof  in Munich, one of the most prestigious hotels in the country.

Saliya ends up getting an apprenticeship at the Bayerischer Hof, without anyone telling the minor detail of him having only 5% of his eyesight left.  While working at the hotel, he forms several friendships that help him cover up his disability, until certain events threaten the reveal of his secret.

I won’t give too much away, but I highly recommend you seeing this film.  It is a great reminder of believing in your dreams, even if countless people tell you otherwise.

My friend and I kept raving about this great piece of German cinema when we made our way over to the after-party, which was conveniently located in the same shopping center as the movie theater.

As soon as we walked closer to the venue, we heard dance beats blasting, which instantly got us in a party mood.  When we entered the club, the first thing I noticed was an amazing ice sculpture with the logo of the festival, followed by an enthusiastic Gregg Schwenk (CEO of the festival), who remembered me from back in the days when I took his class.


We exchanged a hug and I praised his incredible work before we moved further into the venue.  Lined up on the sides were several well-known restaurant sponsors, including Le Pain Quotidien, Chick-fil-A and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I indulged in a vegan carrot cake, which was delicious, followed by a crusty piece of baguette with jam and cheese – so so good!

But what can’t be missing at every major party?  Yeah, granted, an open bar, but I am talking about something else – great entertainment.  The performances last night included aerial silk artists and a juggler as well as a live band.  When the band wasn’t playing, a top DJ managed to keep the crowd moving.


The festival also provided a photo booth with tons of photo props, which my friend and I absolutely had to make use of.  It was so much fun!  Two caricature artists were also present to sketch a souvenir for guests to take home.

All in all I can say that this night exceeded all my expectations.  I am so grateful that I received the honor of attending this event again to celebrate German and European movie making.

Images: Anne-Kathrin Schulte

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




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

BEUYS ©zeroonefilm | bpk | Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung |Stiftung Museum Schloss Moyland | UteKlophaus

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 www.berlinbeyond.com 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.



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


Apply To Be A Part Of The Youth 4 German Cinema Award Competition & Jury

Youth 4 German Cinema

For high school film buffs in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is a great opportunity to be a part of the upcoming Berlin & Beyond Film Festival as a member of the jury.  This internationally acclaimed festival features top films from German-speaking countries, and being a part of the Youth 4 German Cinema jury not only looks great on a resume, but grants the selected students one of a kind access to the festival and those involved with the films shown.

There isn’t a lot of time to get your application in since the deadline is this Friday, October 25, but the process should be quick and can be submitted via email.  As for the requirements, you must be between the ages of 13 and 19, enrolled in high school, and have taken or currently taking German courses.

Below is a more complete description of the program via the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival…

The official student jury will be made up of a selected group of high school students from the Greater Bay Area. Accepted applicants will screen a selection of four German-language feature films (with English subtitles). After mentored discussions with various film experts, they will deliberate and select the two winning films. At the film festival they will present the Youth 4 German Cinema Award and lead the Q&A for the winning film and the runner-up. Students will have exclusive access to the inner workings of the festival, be featured in the official program, receive tickets to the opening night and have the opportunity to meet with various filmmakers, actors and industry professionals.

Participation in this program will not only make a great addition on the student’s resumes and college applications, but it will allow students to learn the fundamentals of film analysis and how to network and make connections for future endeavors.

To apply, download the application via this link or visit the competition page at Berlin & Beyond, where you can get the application and more details on the event itself.

Sources: Berlin & Beyond ,
Article Source: GermanPulse.com



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