Curtain up, and let the show begin! Film and theatre in Germany

Once experienced, never forgotten: films of the world and stages of world renown. Come to Germany for fantastic festivals offering classical music and comedy, for magical nights of theatre in the major cities, for open-air cinemas and a tradition of volkstheater – theatre for the people – that dates back centuries.

The Berlinale is for Germany what the Oscars are for Hollywood. Stars and starlets, culture and commerce, glitter and glamour at a festival of distinction that attracts over 400,000 film fans, 20,000 industry professionals, 4,000 journalists and as many as 400 films, mostly world and European premieres.

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Stuttgart International Cartoon Festival – Festival of Animated Film (ITFS) is one of the world's biggest and most important festivals of animated film. Every May up to 1,000 cartoons from all over the world are screened in Stuttgart , revealing an exciting glimpse of the depth and breadth of the genre. This is a global industry event with a relaxed atmosphere in attractive surroundings.

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Since its launch in 1983, the Munich Film Festival has cemented its position as the second-biggest film festival in Germany. Over 2,500 German and international media professionals working in film, TV and video, more than 600 journalists and around 70,000 visitors get together to watch over 200 films on 18 screens – making this a genuine audience festival as well as a key diary date for film critics and the film industry.

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Hamburg Film Festival genuinely is for ordinary folk. For ten days every autumn, around 140 German and international feature films and documentaries are screened in ten locations and seen by over 40,000 fans. All are world, European or German premieres, and most are introduced by the film makers themselves, Q&A included.

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Dresden's film nights on the Elbe have taken the 'big' screen quite literally to heart. Not simply because this is Germany's largest open-air film festival but also because since 2004 the films have been shown on the world's biggest mobile screen, which measures a gigantic 448 square metres or 32 metres by 14 metres – offering a superlative cinematic experience.

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The Breminale, the huge arts festival in Germany's smallest federal state , has been held on the Weser riverbank every summer for around 25 years. Excitement reaches fever pitch in the red and white striped tents, on and around the stages and everywhere else on this festival site which stretches for almost a kilometre, as around 100 bands entertain hundreds of thousands of visitors with an extremely diverse and thrilling programme.

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Spectacular theatre in an atmospheric setting off the coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania : Ralswiek open-air theatre on Rügen island's Great Jasmund Lagoon comes into its own when it hosts the annual Störtebeker Festival – especially when the waterside stage is lit up by the magical glow of fireworks on every evening of the festival.

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