We are thrilled to welcome the New York-based writer, journalist and documentary filmmaker Vera Graaf at the ACF London, presenting and reading from her novel ‘Hofmannsthals Enkel - Das karibische Große Filmtheater’ (Virgin Territories. Tales of a Caribbean Movie Theater).
‘Hofmannsthals Enkel’, published in 2020, tells the adventures of Vera Graaf and her life partner Michael Zimmer, grandson of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, spending the 1970’s in the Caribbean operating a movie theater on British Virgin Gorda.
The island presents the young couple with numerous obstacles, but luck has it that Hofmannsthal’s grandson is cut from a similar theatrical cloth as his illustrious ancestor and manages to turn the challenges into wonderful opportunities.
The reading is held in English and will be followed by a conversation with the author and the Austrian publisher Mona Müry, giving a closer insight into the genesis of the book as well as the author’s life with Michael Zimmer.
In the village of Rodaun, just outside of Vienna, amidst orchards and fruit trees, Hugo von Hofmannsthal conceived of the 'Grosse Welttheater'. Here he wrote the play Jedermann, later directed by Max Reinhardt – a fiery starting shot in 1920 for the renowned Salzburg Festival.
Five decades later, his grandson, a young architect and son of Hofmannsthal’s only daughter Christiane, is dreaming of another kind of theater: the big screen. He wants to start a cinema, far from his home town of New York City, on the remote island of Virgin Gorda in the Caribbean. His life companion and muse is Vera Graaf, also the chronicler of this adventure.
Virgin Gorda presents the young couple with numerous obstacles, among them Voodoo practices, an overeager bureaucracy and a moody, unpredictable audience. But luck has it that Hofmannsthal’s grandson is cut from a similar theatrical cloth as his illustrious ancestor and manages to turn the obstacles into wonderful opportunities for dramatic self-presentation and enchantment of others.
Hofmannsthals Enkel has been described as an ‘engaging and humorous tale, a fact-based novel that adds a refreshing original chapter to the great poet’s family chronicle.’
Vera Graaf spent the 1970’s in the Caribbean, first as a hippie on the beaches of St.Barthélémy in the French West Indies, then, with her life partner Michael Zimmer, grandson of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, owning and operating a movie theater on British Virgin Gorda.
As a journalist in the 1980’s and 90’s, she covered art and architecture, design and other cultural news for various German publications, such as Der Spiegel, Die Zeit and Süddeutsche Zeitung. Her documentaries Stranger from Away and Souvenirs (in collaboration with OVIDeo/Max Scott) were screened widely on television and at film festivals in the U.S. and in Canada.
Please note: Tickets are limited and need to be booked on our website in advance. You will not be able to attend the event without a pre-booked ticket.
Visitors must have a negative (rapid flow) covid test or be fully vaccinated. We ask you also to follow social distancing, wear a mask and sanitise your hands. Please do not visit the ACF if you have Covid symptoms.