This year’s German Film Festival (GFF), brought to you by the Goethe Institut, will present 18 features, a programme of shorts and a few ancillary events.
Cross-culturalism rears its head as a repeated theme. It’s at its most obvious in titles such as Franziska Schönenberger & Jayakrishnan Subramanian’s Berlinale-premiered doco Amma & Appa and Johnnes Naber’s Age of Cannibals; also in webseries Lifeswap, a year-long Goethe Institut project about cultural differences and misunderstandings between Kiwis and Deutschlanders, episodes of which precede some feature screenings.
In less blatant ways, it’s also a theme bubbling away in Bora Dagtekin’s comedy Fack Ju, Goehte/Suck Me, Shakespeer and Georg Maas’ drama Two Lives
The festival opens with Sound of Heimat, an appropriately cross-cultural documentary about Kiwi saxophonist Hayden Chisholm’s travels in Germany, exploring musical notions of Heimat (homeland).
Chisolm and Heimat co-director Arne Birkenstock will attend screenings. Longtime doco maker Birkenstock’s Beltracchi – The Art of Forgery won the German Film Award for Best Documentary this year. In 2011 his Chandani – the Daughter of the Elephant Whisperer won the German Film Award for Best Children‘s Feature.
Birkenstock will also present at a Pitching Workshop and panel on International Co-production, hosted by AUT in Auckland on 18 September. He’ll be joined by Maren Niemeyer, former journalist, editor and documentary filmmaker for ZDF, Deutsche Welle and the German-French culture channel ARTE. Niemeyer’s currently the Goethe Institut’s Film Department Programme Advisor in Munich.
The German Film Festival will screen at the Paramount in Wellington 4 – 14 September, Rialto in Auckland 11 – 21 September, and Rialto in Dunedin 25 – 28 September. The programme is available for download here.
All films screen in German with English subtitles.