The 15th Annual German Currents Film Festival returns to Los Angeles (October 22 thru 31)

Celebrating its 15th edition, the annual German Currents Film Festival returns to the American Cinematheque and to the brand new Goethe-Institut space in the MacArthur Park neighborhood this October as a hybrid event with special in-person screenings and an exclusive selection of curated films presented in the German Currents virtual cinema. Audiences in Los Angeles, throughout California, and across the United States will again have the chance to view the best of current German cinema, including award-winning films and international festival favorites.  

Festival Director and Director of the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, Mrs. Lien Heidenreich-Seleme says: “German Currents has become a mainstay of Los Angeles' cultural calendar and a highlight for film-goers throughout Southern California. As we return to theaters and in-person screenings this year, we are reminded of the power the cinema has to bring people together. This idea of the cinema as a space for community, dialogue, and exchange is at the heart of German Currents' goal to present the best of current German films to a broad and diverse audience. We are excited about welcoming our audiences back to the theater to share and enjoy this experience together. With our virtual Cinema platform, introduced last year, German Currents was able to expand its outreach, offering us a unique chance to share the festival program with a larger audience and grow as a community of cinema fans.  We will once again present a diverse selection of thought-provoking films and discussions to our virtual cinema viewers for this year's program. I look forward to welcoming everyone to German Currents 2021, and to experience the best in current German cinema with us.”      

German Currents 2021 will open with an exclusive in-person screening for the North America Premiere of Detlev Buck's amusing and visually dazzling period piece CONFESSIONS OF FELIX KRULL, based on Thomas Mann's novel of the same. Sarah Winkenstette's multi-award-winning children's feature TOO FAR AWAY will celebrate its Los Angeles premiere at a special family matinee screening at the Goethe-Institut. The festival will close its in-person program with the West Coast premiere of acclaimed filmmaker Dominik Graf's FABIAN - GOING TO THE DOGS, which recently received 3 German Film Awards. 

The festival will continue with virtual cinema presentations of Actor-Director Moritz Bleibtreu's directorial debut feature CORTEX (LA PREMIERE), the multi-award-winning documentary THE CASE YOU from Alison Kuhn (US PREMIERE), the slow-burning drama NO ONE'S WITH THE CALVES (US PREMIERE) from Sabrina Sarabi (starring FABIAN's Saskia Rosendahl), Johannes Naber's riveting darkly comedic political thriller CURVEBALL (LA PREMIERE), Erik Schmitt's artfully crafted cinematic fairytale CLEO (US PREMIERE), and Leonie Krippendorff's multi-award-winning debut coming-of-age feature COCOON. In addition, the US Premiere of NEXT GENERATION SHORT TIGER 2021, a selection of Short Tiger Award-winning short films, and filmmaker discussions will complete the festival's program.

The festival takes place at Los Feliz 3 in Los Angeles, Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, Aero Theatre Santa Monica and with Virtual Screenings; all addresses and virtual info below. For more information, please visit: www.germancurrents.com  www.facebook.com/germancurrents.

The German Currents Film Festival is produced by the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles and the American Cinematheque in kind cooperation with the German Consulate General, and with the support of The Friends of Goethe, The Austrian Tourist Office, the German Film Office, and media partners Deutsche Welle.

2021 FESTIVAL LINE-UP:

Friday, October 22 @ the Los Feliz 3 - 7:00 PM Opening Night Remarks and Screening of CONFESSIONS OF FELIX KRULL.  

US PREMIERE | IN-PERSON SCREENING @ LOS FELIZ 3 (1822 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027)

CONFESSIONS OF FELIX KRULL |Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull (2021, Warner Bros. DE, 114 min. Dir. Detlev Buck) - Paris, at the start of the 20th century. Since childhood, Felix Krull (Johannes Niewöhner), a handsome young man of simple origins, has had an extraordinary ability to transform and adapt in order to get ahead. Taking a job as an elevator boy at a luxury hotel in Paris, he seizes every opportunity to improve his station. As Felix rises in ranks among the hotel staff, he captures the attention and affections of the hotel’s guests. But, when he becomes entangled in the love affair between the Marquis de Venosta (David Kross) and the seductive Zaza (Liv Lisa Fries), he sees his greatest opportunity for advancement. Based on Thomas Mann’s novel of the same name, Buck’s amusing and dazzling period piece breathes fresh air into the German literary classic.

Saturday, October 23rd @ the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles (1901 West 7th St. Suite AB, Los Angeles, CA 90057)

11:00 AM - Annual Filmmaker Brunch and discussion with German filmmaker and showrunner Anja Marquardt (“The Girlfriend Experience”) The Annual German Currents Filmmaker Brunch, in cooperation with The Villa Aurora, and GABA Film Initiative will host German director and showrunner for THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE Anja Marquardt, followed by a networking event.  By invite only.

Sunday, October 24th, 11:00AM @ the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles (1901 West 7th St. Suite AB, Los Angeles, CA 90057)

TOO FAR AWAY | ZU WEIT WEG will screen at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles on Sunday, Oct. 24 @ 11.00 AM as a special family matinee.                                   

TOO FAR AWAY | ZU WEIT WEG (2019, 89 min. Dir. Sarah Winkenstette) - For 12-year-old Ben (Yoran Leicher), home means playing on his village’s soccer team. When the nearby coal mine expands, forcing his family to move to the city, Ben must leave everything he loves behind. At his new school, Ben struggles to fit in both in class and on the soccer field. When Tariq (Sohbi Awad), an 11-year-old newcomer from Syria – who happens to be an ace soccer player, arrives and steals the show, Ben only sees the new boy as competition. But the rivalry between the two boys doesn’t last long, as they soon learn that they share more in common than they think. Winkenstette’s debut feature is a touching coming-of-age story suitable for the whole family that masterfully combines entertainment, emotion, and meaningful storytelling.  

Molodist Kiev FF 2019: Teen Screen Award, Zürich FF 2019: Kids Jury Award, 

Schlingel-IFF for Children and Youth Audiences 2019: Prize of the Ecumical Jury, Goethe-Institut Children and Youth Prize 

Sunday, October 24th, 5:00 PM

WEST COAST PREMIERE | IN-PERSON SCREENING @ AERO THEATRE (1328 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403)                               

FABIAN - GOING TO THE DOGS | FABIAN Oder der Gang vor die Hunde (2021, Kino Lorber, 176 min. Dir. Dominik Graf) - Pessimistic Jakob Fabian (Schilling) ekes out a meager living as a copywriter by day. At night, he drifts through the underbelly of Berlin with his wealthy friend Labude (Schuch). After meeting the aspiring actress Cornelia (Rosendahl), Fabian quickly falls in love. But, unfortunately, his happiness is short-lived. Losing his job just as Cornelia’s career takes off with the help of her all-too attentive employer, Fabian plunges back into depression. But in the twilight of the Weimar era, it’s not just Fabian’s world that is falling apart… Award-winning director Dominik Graf captivated audiences at the Berlin Film Festival with this dazzling adaptation of Erich Kästner’s classic of Weimar literature. 

German Film Awards 2021 Winner - Best Feature (Silver), Best cinematography, Best Editing. Nominated for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Lead Actress.

Virtual Cinema - The following films are available as virtual cinema screenings, streaming from Friday October 22 – Sunday, October 31, accessible anytime during that period.

VIRTUAL CINEMA - EVENTIVE (Tickets: https://watch.eventive.org/germancurrents2021)

US PREMIERE   | VIRTUAL (FOR VIEWERS IN CALIFORNIA ONLY)                                

NO ONE’S WITH THE CALVES | NIEMAND IST BEI DEN KÄLBERN (2021, 116 min. Dir. Sabrina Sarabi) - It's summer in the middle of nowhere in Mecklenburg, Germany. For 24-year-old Christin (Rosendahl), the exciting post-reunification years that defined her childhood are long gone. Now, she lives on a farm with her long-term boyfriend Jan (Okon) and his parents, with nothing but fields for miles around.  Stuck in an unhappy relationship, Christin numbs her pain with cherry liqueur and dreams of escaping the drudgery of her daily life. In the heat of summer, time seems to stand still – that is, until 46-year-old wind energy engineer Klaus (Giese) arrives from Hamburg and sets the world spinning again. Sarabi's second feature is a moving social study and was a highlight of the Locarno Film Festival, where Rosendahl received the Leopard for Best Actress for her powerful performance.

Locarno Film Festival 2021: Leopard for Best Actress (Saskia Rosendahl)

US PREMIERE   | VIRTUAL (FOR VIEWERS IN USA ONLY)                                   

THE CASE YOU (2020, 80 min. Dir. Alison Kuhn) - Just how far is it acceptable to push actors in the name of cinema? And at what point do you cross the boundary where acting becomes sexual assault? These are the questions raised by the testimony of six young women who were manipulated and sexually abused during an audition. These traumatizing experiences resurfaced years later when the footage of the auditions was released as a documentary without their permission. The women aren’t just fighting back through the courts. They have banded together to tell their story on camera. The director of The Case You, Alison Kuhn, is one of them. This neutralizes the camera’s potentially predatory eye and instead turns the lens into a liberating channel to express anger and demand justice, in turn creating a sort of antidote to the toxic audition.   

Achtung Berlin Film Festival 2021: Best Documentary, Dok.fest München 2021: Megaherz Student Award, Max Ophüls Preis 2021: Best Music (Documentary)

US PREMIERE   | VIRTUAL (FOR VIEWERS IN USA ONLY)                                   

CLEO - IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME (2019, 99 min. Dir. Erik Schmitt) - The imaginative Cleo (Marleen Lohse) has an almost magical connection to her hometown Berlin. Since childhood, she could see people and things from the city’s past that no one else could. But what she wants most of all is to turn back time to before the death of her parents. A treasure of mythological proportion, a magical clock, promises the solution. So together with three quirky but loveable companions, Paul (Jeremy Mockridge), Zille (Maximilian Mauff), and Günni (Heiko Pinkowski),  Cleo sets off to find it embarking on a quest that takes her all over Berlin, back into time, and deep into her own emotional world. Schmitt’s debut feature is an artfully crafted cinematic fairytale for adults that is a love song to both the city of Berlin and to the power of imagination.

Filmkunstfest Schwerin 2019: LEO, Best Youth Film, Tallinn Black Nights FF 2019: Best Children’s Film, FBW 2019: Prädikat Wertvoll

VIRTUAL (FOR VIEWERS IN CALIFORNIA ONLY)                                   

COCOON | KOKON (2020, 95 min. Dir. Leonie Krippendorff) - For the shy 14-year old Nora (Urzendowsky), this record-hot summer in Berlin will be like no other. Often the silent observer who tags along with her older sister Jule (Klenke) and her clique of high school friends, Nora knows that she sees the world differently. However, when she meets and falls in love with Romy (Haase), an older schoolmate, she begins to understand why. She slowly emerges from her cocoon to become a confident butterfly, ready to spread her wings and fly into adulthood. Krippendorff’s debut feature is an intimate coming-of-age story and a moving character study set in the microcosm of Berlin-Kreuzberg.

Bavarian Film Awards 2021 Best New Director, Filmkunstfest MV 2020:  Audience Award, Immaginaria International Women's FF 2021: Best Soundtrack Author.

VIRTUAL | LA PREMIERE (FOR VIEWERS IN CALIFORNIA ONLY)                              

CORTEX - ARE YOU AWAKE? (2020, 97 min. Dir. Moritz Bleibtreu) - Two men, two lives, and one fateful encounter. Family man Hagen (Bleibtreu) suffers from regular nightmares that are so vivid, that he is slowly unable to distinguish between what is a dream and what is reality. When his strained relationship with his wife Karoline (Uhl) drives her to an affair with the small-time criminal Niko (Niewöhner), a series of disturbing events is set in motion, and the lives of both men will never be the same. Moritz Bleibtreu’s directorial debut is a visually stunning psychological thriller that leads viewers on an intricately crafted, nightmarish journey. 

VIRTUAL | SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PREMIERE (VIEWERS IN USA ONLY)                  

CURVEBALL – A TRUE STORY. UNFORTUNATELY | CURVEBALL - WIR MACHEN DIE WAHRHEIT (2020, 108 min. Dir. Johannes Naber) - Bioweapons expert Wolf (Blomberg) of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is convinced that anthrax is still being produced in Iraq. When Rafid Alwan (Salim), an Iraqi asylum seeker, claims to be a former engineer for Saddam Hussein's secret bioweapons program, it is a rare triumph for the German secret service. However, the search for hard evidence doesn't prove easy when Alwan, codenamed "Curveball," uses his value to the CIA and the Germans to his advantage. Soon, a fabrication becomes reality, a lie becomes truth, and the events that follow will forever change the global political landscape. Director Johannes Naber's dark political satire is captivating, absurd, as profound as it is funny and yet highly entertaining.

German Film Awards 2021 Winner -Best Feature (Bronze), Best Supporting Actor-Thorsten Merten, Nominated for Best Screenplay.

VIRTUAL | LOS ANGELES PREMIERE (VIEWERS IN USA ONLY)                                   

TOO FAR AWAY | ZU WEIT WEG (2019, 89 min. Dir. Sarah Winkenstette) - For 12-year-old Ben (Yoran Leicher), home means playing on his village’s soccer team. When the nearby coal mine expands, forcing his family to move to the city, Ben must leave everything he loves behind. At his new school, Ben struggles to fit in both in class and on the soccer field. When Tariq (Sohbi Awad), an 11-year-old newcomer from Syria – who happens to be an ace soccer player, arrives and steals the show, Ben only sees the new boy as competition. But the rivalry between the two boys doesn’t last long, as they soon learn that they share more in common than they think. Winkenstette’s debut feature is a touching coming-of-age story suitable for the whole family that masterfully combines entertainment, emotion, and meaningful storytelling.  

Molodist Kiev FF 2019: Teen Screen Award, Zürich FF 2019: Kids Jury Award, 

Schlingel-IFF for Children and Youth Audiences 2019: Prize of the Ecumical Jury, Goethe-Institut Children and Youth Prize 

US PREMIERE | VIRTUAL (FOR VIEWERS IN CALIFORNIA ONLY)                               

“Next Generation Short Tiger” Germany (2021), 108 min. (German/English with English Subtitles) - Presented by German Films and the German Federal Film Board (FFA), this beloved annual showcase premieres the most remarkable student shorts – the NEXT GENERATION of German Cinema – together with the best German shorts under 5 minutes – the winners of the FFA’s SHORT TIGER Award 2021. This year's expert jury includes Katrin Küchler (MDR unicato), actress Marleen Lohse, and Dr. Christian Bräuer (Yorck Cinemas) who have selected the program’s 11 short films. These deeply personal and universal stories confirm the notion that short film is an independent art form deserving of the big screen and the awareness of audiences worldwide.  

NEXT GENERATION SHORT TIGER 2021 Program:

ANIMALI - Elisabeth Wilke (Fiction, 2020, 14 min.)

BIRD OF PARADISE | PARADIE S VOGEL - Jannik Weiße (Fiction, 2021, 15 min.)

FLASCHEN | BOTTLES - Jannis Alexander Kiefer (Fiction, 2021, 5 min.)

DRAWING FROM MEMORY | AUS MEINEM LEBEN - Daood Alabdulaa (Animation, Documentary, 2021, 4 min.)

DUE TO LEGAL REASONS THIS FILM IS CALLED BREAKING BERT

DIESER FILM HEISST AUS RECHTLICHEN GRÜNDEN BREAKING BERT - Anne Isensee (Animation 2020, 5 min.)

HANDBOOK FOR A PRIVILEGED EUROPEAN WOMAN - Alma Buddecke (Fiction, 2021, 10 min.)

IN GERMANY | IN DEUTSCHLAND -Christoph Mushayija Rath (Fiction, 2020, 15 min.)

NO - Bruno Manguen Sapiña (Fiction, 2020, 16 min.)

PANIC OR REASON | ERNST ODER PANIK - Marlin van Soest (Animated, Documentary, 2020, 7 min.)

POSTPARTUM | WOCHENBETT - Henriette Rietz (Fiction, Animation, 2020, 5 min.)

WE ARE GOOD | WIR SIND GUT - Manuel Boskamp (Documentary, 2020, 11 min.)

About the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles: The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. The institute promotes knowledge of the German-language abroad and fosters international cultural cooperation. The Goethe-Institut Los Angeles operates on a partnership basis.  For individual projects, as for longer-term joint ventures, the Goethe-Institut connects with stakeholders in the cultural scene – institutions, organizations, companies, people in and from Southern California and Arizona, Germany, and other countries. For more information, please visit: www.goethe.de/losangeles. Facebook: www.facebook.com/goetheinstitut.losangeles.

About the American Cinematheque: The American Cinematheque is a non-profit cultural organization whose mission is to celebrate the experience of cinema as a moving art form; we create spaces where both the public and members of the film industry come together as a community with the common language and love of film. Since it began screening films to the public in 1985, the American Cinematheque has provided diverse film programming and live in-person discussions and events with thousands of filmmakers and luminaries, presenting both new and repertory cinema to Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.americancinematheque.com.