The 17th Annual Berlin & Beyond Film Festival hits San Francisco and the famed Castro Theatre beginning September 27 and running through October 4.

A scene from Barbara, screening at the Berlin and Beyond festival.

Showcasing the best, most interesting and up and coming films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival is always a welcome introduction to fall in San Francisco. The festival, which screens exclusively at the Castro Theatre (with a few repeats at the Goethe-Institut at 530 Bush Street), will introduce 26 films and six shorts to the Bay Area. This year will also see actor Mario Adorf honored with the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

2012 highlights include opening film Barbara from Berlin-born writer/director Christian Petzold, about living under the oppressive GDR regime. The opening night party will follow at the theater’s mezzanine. The centerpiece film this year is Vait Helmer’s Baikonur, a comedic tale surrounding the space launch facility, and the closing night film is This Ain’t California, a tense tale about one of the first skateboarding crews from behind the Berlin Wall.

These are only a few of the many films set to screen as part of the many different programs including German Films Panorama, Austrian Cinema, Swiss Window, Education Program/Young Generation/Book to Screen the latter of which offers free screenings for local students. Furthermore, expect surprise guests and after parties.

For more information, visit the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival’s official website here.