This ain’t California

by Marten Persiel


Original TitleThis ain’t California
DirectorMarten Persiel
CastTina Bartel, Martin Gottschild, Kai Hillebrand, Zaneta Fuchsová, Anneke Schwabe, Lea Wolfram, David Nathan, Helmut Kohl, Bill Clinton
Duration96 min

About the director

Filmmaker, author and commercial director Marten Persiel spent 13 years migrating through England, Spain, Brazil and the Philippines, before returning to his birthplace Berlin in 2009, bringing home four documentaries, countless award-winning commercials and an excellent network of filmmakers and producers all around the world. Persiel’s trademarks are his close bonds with his protagonists and his very own, off-key aesthetics. He always searches for unusual, less restrictive narrative formats to tell his stories. His debut Film This Ain’t California has won a host of international awards and was released worldwide.

Bester Film category Perspective Berlinale 2012.
Best Direction International Film festival Nashville
Best International Feature Santa Fe film festival
Audience Award Warshaw Film Festival
Best Documentary Cannes Independent Film Festival
Best original Screenplay und Best Film beim International Skateboard filmfestival in Los Angeles.
Best editing Deutscher Filmpreis
Best Sceenplay and Best Direction International Skateboard Filmfestival Los Angeles


A hymn to the subversive power of vitality, this fast-paced documentary takes us on a trip through the strange unknown world of the „Rollbrettfahrer“ (the translation means something as „boardroller driver“) as skateboarders were known in the GDR, a country where besides those loyal to the regime, there was also an avowed political resistance. Apart from this, there was also a movement of young rebels whose only reason was the illusion of staying young, immortal and non-committal. In THIS AIN’T CALIFORNIA three kids discover their love of skateboarding on the cracked asphalt of the GDR – a mad-cap, even unacceptable sport that was perhaps so incredibly exciting because of its nuttiness. This punk fairy-tale created by a bunch of kids who luckily possessed sufficiently manic levels of energy to record their lives on a super 8mm film, shows us life in GDR life as it has never seen before. The film follows its three main protagonist from their childhood in the seventies, through their turbulent teens in the eighties right up to that autumn of 1989, when they were already twenty and suddenly everything they had known up to that point was about to change forever.

—Helen Brüseke


Drehbuch: Marten Persiel, Ira Wedel
Produktion: Ronald Vietz, Michael Schöbel
Musik: Lars Damm,, Troy Von Balthazar
Kamera: Felix Leiberg
Schnitt: Maxine Goedicke, Toni Froschhammer, Bobby Good

Programm Pop-Up Kino