HALLO AND HOWDY!
We are an international team of filmmakers and have been working on the feature-length road-trip-documentary I (HEART) BERLIN for almost three years. I (HEART) BERLIN is the first movie to show and document German-American culture to an old and young audience all over the world. Our film takes you to 14 different Berlins in the United States introducing their American inhabitants. From the largest Amish community in the United States, Berlin, Ohio, via Berlin, Massachusetts to New Berlin, Texas: on this journey you will meet the most amazing people: a cowboy, a linguistic professor, a fighter jet pilot instructor, a dairy farmer, a speech writer, a funeral home owners and many more.
All having one thing in common: German roots.
Our director, Anke Schiemann, who just recently produced the award winning mixed animation live action film, Paper Daydream, which won prizes at festivals in New York, Washington, and London, picks up the trail with American Berliners: What informs American Berliners identification today? How important are roots? What remains of their German-ness?
View the trailer for our documentary here!
In July 2013 we completed the shooting of I (HEART) BERLIN. We were invited to show a short version at the opening of the exhibition “Berlins –Made in the USA” at the German American Heritage Museum in Washington D.C. this summer, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedys “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. Plenty of Berliners from all over the US participated in the event which we covered to be part of our final documentary.
(below in the pictures you see the director of the museum, Rüdiger Lentz introducing the film together with the director of I (HEART) BERLIN, Anke Schiemann.)
Starting and ending in Berlin, the capital of Germany, the story is told through personal stories of German descendants and German migrants. Those portraits will be intercut with the director’s own personal story of migration, dislocation and re-location.
On the road we will make plenty of acquaintances like:
We meet Maria Schlabach, a former member of the Amish community of Berlin, Ohio (the largest such community in the United States), who was ostracized from her community two years ago and gives us important insights into the daily life of an Amish woman and the popular myth of Rummspringerl.
In Berlin, Georgia we meet Inge Fischer, who after being imprisoned for critizising the current regime, fled East Berlin on the night of Stalin’s death, migrating to the United States on one of the first commercial flights.
We then meet Stewart Saylor from the Historical Society in Berlin Somerset. His ancestors arrived on a ship in 1749 and belong to the first wave of German migrants to Pennsylvania. Stewart got his family DNA analysed and can track back his German heritage to the Lichtenstein cave in the Harz mountains 3000 years ago.
We’ll sit down for a cup of coffee at Brietzke’s Café. A New Berlin, Texas institution owned by Evangeline, better known to her friends and neighbours as Mutsie. The Hessian settlement was established in the early 1840ies by five princes and sixteen noblemen who formed an organization known as the Adelsverein, with the purpose of establishing german settlements in Texas. Mutsie’s great grandparents came to Texas with this early aristocratic settlers.
In Berlin, Massachusetts one of the oldest Berlins in the United States, we get to know Kai von Fintel. Kai spent 10 years of his life planning and building an eco-village in Berlin. Kai is also a professor for linguistics at MIT. Kai represents the most recent migrant on the trip. Kai only came over to the USA 20 years ago.
…Of course there are plenty more Berliners featured in our film. Be part of I (HEART) BERLIN!