B-Fest – Open Air B Movie Festival in Cologne

B-Fest is a free movie festival where you can’t be sure what film will be shown. And it also promised entertaining b movies. A no-budget festival for low-budget films?

The festival has a selection of nine films – all cheap, all terrible, but entertaining. Not all films are shown though. A member of the audience spun a wheel with numbers 1 to 9. Three films were shown, with a five to ten minute break in between. The venue wasn’t one of Cologne’s movie theaters: NeuLand.

NeuLand
NeuLand

NeuLand (NewLand) is a place I never heard about until now. Located south of Cologne’s central city, it’s a strip of land that seems wild, forgotten and probably due for a redevelopment. There is a fence around the area and the only entrance has a key lock. Unless there’s an event or you happen to be one of those people having access, you won’t be able to get in.

The city of Cologne had (and still has) plans for this area. But plans were delayed and changed. In 2011, 200 people decided to plant plants there. The result was what is called a „Zwischennutzung“ in the German language: The temporary usage of an area for something else.

In this case, the area is used to grow fruit and vegetable, and do various ecological-social projects. For years, access was unrestricted. Unfortunately, a minority didn’t use the place as a somewhat wild garden. The reason for the lock is because of the few people who just love to trash places.

That’s why the area is only open during specific hours or events such as the B-Fest.

B-Fest Entrance

Spinning the Wheel

Since I didn’t know anything about the area before, I was surprised how small the movie area was. Some people brought chairs, others a blanket. But there isn’t space for a lot of people. I was lucky when after twenty minutes into the first film, someone left and I could enjoy the rest of the first film.

The first film was Future Force from 1989. This is like the essential 80s trash film: It’s set in the future, a villain dressed in white, dozens of one-liners, somewhat future tech and a cop who’s also the executioner. The LAPD has been replaced by COPS (Civilian Operated Police Systems) who received bounties on criminals. David Carradine plays John Tucker, one of the best cops. He also has a remote-controlled weaponised arm – that’s the future bit.

B-Fest Future Force

All films were shown in English language with no subtitles. The second movie was Hard Ticket to Hawaii, but I left after Future Force.

NeuLand has a café and a popcorn machine. Everything’s free, but they are happy to take donations.

There isn’t much time left to see the NeuLand area: It will become the temporary site of a school, before eventually an elementary school will be built there. Fortunately though, this story has a happy ending: Another plot of land has been promised – permanently. The new site will be smaller, but NeuLand will continue.

This was the first B-Fest, a second one hasn’t been announced yet.

B-Fest NeuLand

B-Fest Location + more info

NeuLand website (German)
https://www.neuland-koeln.de/

NeuLand Café

Mia Jaap

Journalist, developer and passionate about Japanese and Korean language. Loves to travel in Japan, but is open to explore the major and lesser known sights of Germany.

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