Tag Archives: Orange Country Events

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.