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Skateboarding becomes a metaphor for freedom in this prize-winning love letter to the subversive power of youth.

East Germany in the 80s. For three teens - Nico, Dirk and Dennis - life in the GDR was dominated by skateboarding. But in a nation where “the streets were not for playing around”, skating was as much a revolutionary act of defiance as it was a spectacular sport.

Using a rush of super-8 films, animations, re-enactments and archival footage all set against a delirious punk soundtrack, This Ain't California follows the three through adolescence and into adulthood on the eve of reunification. Director Marten Persiel imbues the film with a stylistic confidence that won it the Dialogue en Perspective Prize at the 2012 Berlinale.

Through the lenses of the skater kids amongst the Stasi, This Ain't California offers a rare glimpse into East Berlin counterculture.

D Marten Persiel P Ronald Vietz, Michael Schöbel S Ira Wedel, Marten Persiel Dist Management of Doubt L German w/English subtitles TD DCP/2012