de / en
Nach drüben – Oststars wechseln die Seiten
by Michael Rauhut and Tom Franke
main stage

Film, Concert

Film premiere
Afterwards concert with Reiner-Schöne-Band

Escape and emigration mirrored the political conditions of the GDR, they were indications of a longing for freedom and autonomy. More than five million people left the GDR for the West between 1949 and 1990. Because they were role models, the departure of prominent artists sent a particularly strong signal. When they changed sides, there was a massive response from the media in the West and it became a political event.

The Nach drüben – Oststars wechseln die Seiten (Going Over There – Stars of East Germany Change Sides) documentary focuses on the field of rock and pop music, putting the spotlight on three personal histories as examples. The singer Veronika Fischer (*1951) commuted with a permanent visa between both sides of Germany until she resolutely decided in favour of the West. Reiner Schöne (*1942), singer, actor and musical star, fled to West Berlin in 1968 and later immigrated to the USA, where he began an international film career. Dietrich Kessler's (*1946) Gruppe Magdeburg filed a collective application to leave in 1981 because they had been sidelined by the media, and didn't see any future for themselves in the GDR. The frontman was imprisoned and his freedom was eventually bought by West Germany in 1984.

The film's protagonists report on their experiences as artists in the GDR and describe the external and internal processes that finally led them to leave their country. At the same time, they reflect on the difficult path to the West and the challenges of opposite societal systems.

The film also takes up the story of the Gruppe Renft as well as the expatriation of Wolf Biermann and Nina Hagen. Commentaries from musicologist Prof. Peter Wicke and the former radio producers Olaf Leitner (RIAS) and Wolfgang Martin (DT 64) arrange these recollections within their historical context.

Following the film screening, the Reiner-Schöne-Band will appear in concert, with Uli Gumpert on the keyboard. An audience Q&A with Veronika Fischer, Dietrich Kessler and Reiner Schöne will also follow.

Photos by: Reiner Schöne, Herbert Schulze, Dietrich Kessler; collage: Tom Franke

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