Petra Hilsen and Claudia Speight originally founded the German Film Club as a “Deutscher Stammtisch” in 2012 to provide a forum for German native speakers and other interested community members to meet, chat and socialise. An initial group of about 10 members met on a monthly basis on Monday nights at The Great Northern Hotel. Soon the idea to include screening/discussing films and books led us to use the pub's facilities to show the club’s first movie. Sadly, The Great Northern Hotel closed on Mondays, which left the club without a venue for several months until the club started collaborating with The Royal Exchange Theatre in late 2012. The first special movie event was held in 2012 at the Tower Cinema: “Eine Kleine Filmfest” was promoted by the Newcastle Herald (who also caused the promotional misspelling) and included two German movies, “Die Wunderkinder” and “Lore” as well as an art space with various exhibits. Catering of authentic German food was provided by Oma’s Kitchen, a German restaurant in Bolton Street, Newcastle. Following the success of “Eine Kleine Filmfest” Claudia Speight initiated a German film event for schools in early 2013 in collaboration with the Goethe Institute, which led to the screening of “Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer” at the Tower Cinemas in King Street, Newcastle, with students from a Newcastle high school attending in September 2013.
NGKS was founded mid 2013 and has over 250 people on its mailing list. In our first year as a club in 2014, we had a membership of over 86.
Another collaboration with the Goethe Institute and Tower Cinema brought the “Goethe Audi Festival of German Films” to the Hunter region, screening the award-winning movie “Hannah Arendt” in April 2014. As a result of the growing interest the club needed to incorporate. In mid 2013 a steering committee was formed, made up from Claudia Speight, Petra Hilsen, Andrea Hropot, Geoff See, and Gerhard Rutsch to progress the founding of the “Newcastle German Kino Society Inc.” (NGKS).