Out in East Berlin—Lesbians and Gays in the GDR
Out in Ost-Berlin—Lesben und Schwule in der DDR

DIRECTORS: Jochen Hick, Andreas Strohfeldt

Expected to attend: Distributor Nancy Fishman

The politics, passion, and personal toll of coming out in East Berlin are captured in this powerful, illuminating documentary about love and identity behind the Iron Curtain. Filmmakers Jochen Hick and Andreas Strohfeldt focus on the fascinating and powerful stories of thirteen East Berliners who came to terms with their sexuality in a country strictly controlled by a single-party Marxist-Leninist government—a country where spying was a part of daily life and an attempt to escape could be deadly. In the GDR’s strict ideological world, dedicated in theory to equality for all (in fact, Germany’s infamous anti-homosexual Paragraph 175 was abolished in the GDR in 1968), homophobia lay just under the surface of mainstream society, adding a level of complexity for gays and lesbians searching for connection and happiness.

Combining provocative, emotionally charged past and present interviews with amazing archival discoveries and newsreel footage, Out in East Berlin paints a full picture of an era, a place, and the people who lived through an emotional roller coaster of life-changing politics, sexual and otherwise. Despite the intense subject and attention to historical context, the film captures the inspirational energy that comes when marginalized people are motivated to create a movement that matters. Each voice featured in the film comes with a unique and sometimes contradictory perspective, but it’s the human experience that binds them together, creating a remarkable documentary about dangerous love in an authoritarian state, and finding your place in the world against all odds.

— Brendan Peterson

In German, English with English subtitles.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D321

Co-presented by:
Berlin & Beyond Film Festival
GLBT Historical Society
Goethe-Institut San Francisco

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