I wish you a warm welcome to the Third Annual German Gems Filmfest!
After many years at the helm of German film festivals, I have decided that it is time to quit and make room for the next generation. The final celebration of German Gems will be a jam-packed day with five excellent films and (of course) a party at the Castro, followed by a day of screenings in Point Arena. Get prepared for an intense and unforgettable Kinotag with sparkling Gems.
The day will start with a documentary about nuclear power plants in Germany. Gloriously shot on 35mm and Cinemascope UNDER CONTROL will take us to control rooms and storage spaces deep under the earth, to dump sites and ruins of an eerie, science-fiction like world of nuke plants. The screening will be followed by a discussion with international speakers and the local chapter of the Sierra Club, the co-presenter of this event.
Several of the films on the program are by young filmmakers at the beginning of their carriers, a recurring focus of all programs that I have curated over the years. NO WAY HOME, an impressive graduation film by Andreas Kannengießer from HFF Konrad Wolf in Potsdam, is a touching story about two lost souls, both in their sixties, who find each other and then a way out of their hardship. WESTWIND, the third feature by talented Robert Thalheim (NETTO, AND ALONG COME TOURISTS) takes us to Lake Balaton in Hungary a year before the Berlin Wall comes down. Twin sisters Doreen and Isabel from East Germany are supposed to practice rowing all summer but then one of them falls in love – with a West German.
Following a happy hour with drinks and snacks, Jan Schomburg returns to the Castro. After presenting his short NEVER EVEN in 2005, Jan is back with his award winning debut feature ABOVE US ONLY SKY, acclaimed as one of the genuine highlights of the Berlin Filmfestival 2011.
German Gems will conclude with an engaging film from Vienna taking place around the turn of the century, a hotbed for art, literature, psychoanalysis, glamour, pretense, sex and scandals. A radical portrait of forbidden love between two young and very gifted artists, TABOO tells the story of expressionist poet Georg Trakl and his sister Grete.
It is because of your staunch and generous support that German Gems is returning for a final celebration to the fabulous Castro Theatre. To all of you – donors, sponsors, volunteers, audiences, and to my wonderful and loyal staff – a deeply sincere and heart-felt DANKE SCHÖN!