Berlinale: General Guidelines

General Guidelines for Submission and Participation

Online submission for 2018 will be activated in early September.

Please note that all information currently given on these pages refers to the Berlinale 2017 and is supposed to offer a general insight into film entry procedures.

The General Guidelines for Submission and Participation provide binding regulations for all matters and procedures from film submission to the participation of a film in the festival. Here you can find out what needs to be completed by which deadline, which rights' clearances are required and which materials need to be provided to the Berlinale.

The additional special requirements of the individual sections – regarding premiere status, running time, subtitling etc. – can be found on the corresponding webpages of the Competition, Berlinale Shorts, Panorama, Forum, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections.


The Berlin International Film Festival (hereinafter referred to as “Berlinale”) is organised by the Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin GmbH. The Berlinale is a major public cultural event and, with over 330,000 tickets sold and the participation of around 20,000 professional visitors from more than 100 countries, including more than 3,800 journalists, it is one of the international film industry’s most important events. The Berlinale programme consists of around 400 films and comprises the Official Programme (International Competition, Out of Competition, Berlinale Shorts, Panorama), the Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections, as well as the Forum, which is organised independently by the Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art.

Films can be submitted to one or more of the sections mentioned above. The person responsible for the accuracy of the information given in the online film submission form (hereinafter called “the submitter”) selects the appropriate section(s) during the film submission process.

It is not possible to submit a film to any of the curated programmes Berlinale Special, Berlinale Special Gala and Berlinale Special Series (Official Programme), Retrospective, Homage, Culinary Cinema, NATIVe and Forum Expanded.

In addition to the Official Awards of the Berlinale, several independent juries present awards within the context of the festival. Overview Awards & Juries

The Berlinale is a FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Association) accredited festival and is subject to its guidelines.



  • Only films that have been registered can be considered for selection.
  • Film registrations are accepted exclusively online at
  • Submission deadlines (the following deadlines must be met without exception):
    Feature-length films: registration of films and receipt of selection screeners by October 31, 2016
    Short films: registration of films and receipt of selection screeners by November 15, 2016
  • Late submissions can only be made with the express approval of the respective section head.
  • Films which have been submitted and viewed for previous editions of the Berlinale may not be registered again.
  • Only films completed within the 12 months prior to the start of the festival may be registered.
  • World premieres are preferred.
  • German films must be world premieres (with the exception of submissions to the Perspektive Deutsches Kino).
  • The Festival Director reserves the right to rule on any cases not provided for in these guidelines.
  • Every submitter will receive a written notification about the result of the selection screening.
  • Details regarding film registration for the European Film Market can be found at


Films will only be considered for selection after the entry fee is received. The fee for submitting a feature length film is € 150 (7% VAT included) regardless of the number of sections for which the film is entered. The fee for short films is € 60.

Payment methods
Payment of the fees can only be made online by credit card during the film registration process.

Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted.

There are special conditions for film schools and film institutes. Please contact the Programme Organisation at for further details.


Films are to be submitted in their original version for the selection process. Films in German and English do not require translation. Films in other languages must be subtitled in either German or English.

Films (both shorts and feature-length) can be submitted to the festival via file upload on the Berlinale website after the online film registration process is complete.

Other accepted formats for the selection screenings are Blu-ray and DVD (region free / all regions) as well as DCP. Any other format is permitted only upon consultation.

If you are registering a film for more than one section and the selection screener format is Blu-ray or DVD, you are kindly requested to submit one disc per section.

DCPs can also be delivered by digital file transfer via upload to the Aspera servers of the Berlinale. The service is free of charge but you will need to have a broadband internet connection (> 50Mbit upstream). Please contact the Film Office () for access details and upload instructions.

You can find the festival’s technical format specifications for selection screeners (file upload, Blu-ray, DVD, DCP) at the following link.

By submitting the online film registration form, the submitter agrees that, for organisational purposes, the festival retains their film’s selection screener(s) until the end of the festival’s current edition (effective date: February 28, 2017). The submitter also agrees that submitted Blu-rays and DVDs will be made available online in encrypted form to selected festival employees for the purpose of film selection.

If an invitation is issued, the Berlinale will use the corresponding selection screener(s) also for internal festival preparations.

Selection screeners not submitted via upload should be sent to the following address:

Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin
Film Office
Voxstraße 3
10785 Berlin
Tel. +49 30 25920-888
Fax +49 30 25920-899

The full cost of sending the material, including customs fees and insurance, must be borne by the submitter or their authorised representative. All shipments must be sent prepaid. Shipments sent through international courier services must clearly indicate on their waybill that all costs for duties and taxes are to be billed to the sender. Please note, that any charges for shipping incurred by the Festival will be invoiced back to the sender with an additional € 25 administrative charge.

All shipments from outside the European Single Market must get customs clearance before being imported to Germany. For this purpose all shipments sent by courier from outside the EU must have three copies of proper customs documentation, containing all the necessary information (i.e.: proforma/commercial invoice), attached on the outside of the package together with the courier’s waybill.

If you are shipping via international post, a customs declaration label must be affixed to the outside of the package instead.

Shipments sent without proper customs documentation can be withheld by customs and subjected to an ex post customs clearance, which may lead to additional costs that must be met by the submitter.

Blu-rays and DVDs should be marked as "Sample" and with the following declaration: "For cultural purposes only. No commercial value". Their declared value for customs should not exceed € 10.

Removable HDDs for submission of DCPs are usually shipped with an averaged customs value of € 150.

The Berlinale will bear the costs for the storage and insurance of film media for the period during which such media is within its area of responsibility. In the event a medium is damaged or gets lost during this period, the Berlinale’s liability is limited to the costs for replacement of the damaged component (in the case of DCP [digital cinema package] for instance, the cost of the data carrier/hard disk). In the case of the medium being found to be damaged upon its return shipment, a notice of damage or claim for damages, respectively, must be received by the Berlinale within 14 days of the return shipment of the medium.

Return Shipment
All media submitted for selection screenings will not be returned unless by specific request and paid for by the applicants themselves. Requests should be sent as early as possible, and no later than two months after the end of the festival, to with explicit shipping instructions as well as information about the preferred mode of payment.

Upon explicit demand, the selection screener may also be destroyed by the Berlinale. In this case it is similarly necessary to send the respective instruction to within two months after the festival.

After this period all unfinished versions of films will be deleted and the remaining media will be archived in the reference collections of Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen for the sole purpose of on-site documentation and research - excluding any loan or public presentation, in order to protect the interests of the filmmakers and the producers.


The Berlinale will only accept the submission of a film if the submitter is the holder of all usage rights to the film necessary for the submission and use of the film within the context of participation in the Berlinale as specified in paragraph 4 of the General Guidelines for Submission and Participation and if the submitter can also effectively grant the Berlinale these rights. The Berlinale reserves the right to demand appropriate proof of these rights and to reject the submission upon failure to provide it.



Only officially selected films can participate in the Berlinale. The invitation to participate is issued by the Festival Director or the section heads, respectively.

Programming of the selected films is likewise made by the Festival Director or the heads of each section, respectively, and is final. Each film can be screened up to five times during the festival in Berlin. In addition, participants can authorise a sixth screening of the selected film during the festival in the appropriate section on the Participation Form.

To participate in the Berlinale, the submitter must accept the invitation, submit the final festival version of their film by the deadline and provide the festival with the supplementary documents, media and information.

Every film presented in the Berlinale programme receives a certificate of participation following the festival.


No film may be withdrawn from the festival programme after its participation has been publicised. During the festival, no participating film may be screened outside the festival venues prior to its official presentation at the festival.

Participation in the festival requires the unconditional adherence to all regulations set out in these guidelines. Producers, distributors and other people or organisations submitting a film must ensure that any third parties connected to the production agree to its participation in the festival. Additional terms and conditions of participation apply for the individual sections.

The Director of the Berlinale reserves the right to rule on any cases not provided for in these guidelines.


The Berlinale expects the invited films’ directors and leading actors to attend the presentation of their films in Berlin. The festival is not in the position to cover travel expenses, although a certain number of hotel rooms are made available. The Berlinale Guest Management takes care of arrangements for your stay.


The participant must ensure that the official festival logo is clearly visible on all advertising and promotional measures for the participating films. The Berlinale provides specific logos for each section of the programme. Please direct any enquiries by e-mail to .


3.5.1 Participation form

As soon as a film is invited to the Berlinale programme, the submitter must confirm their acceptance of the invitation by completing and signing the Participation Form and returning it to the Berlinale. The form is available for download on the “My Account / My Film Entry” webpage once the invitation has been issued.

3.5.2 Festival version of the film

The final festival version of the film must be consistent with the technical specifications stated by the participant on the Participation Form and delivered to the Berlinale by the deadline. The festival’s current technical format specifications as well as information regarding the delivery of media can be found at the following link (290 KB).

The Berlinale will bear the costs for the storage and insurance of film media for the period during which such media is within its area of responsibility. In the event a medium is damaged or gets lost during this period, the Berlinale’s liability is limited to the costs for replacement of the damaged component (in the case of DCP [digital cinema package] for instance, the cost of the data carrier/hard disk). In the case of the medium being found to be damaged upon its return shipment, a notice of damage or claim for damages, respectively, must be received by the Berlinale within 14 days of the return shipment of the medium.

Return Shipment
Media delivered to the festival will only be returned upon specific instruction by the participant and solely at the participant’s own expense. More detailed information about shipment and return shipment can be found at the following link (290 KB).

3.5.3. Film information
After a film has been invited and the participant has completed, signed and returned the Participation Form, the information given during the film submission process (director, production, actors) must be confirmed and/or supplemented and sent to the Berlinale by e-mail.

3.5.4 Press and promotional material

Acceptance of the invitation obliges the participant to provide press and promotional material and to authorise its release for the uses stated in clauses and of these General Guidelines for Submission and Participation. Photos, press kits, posters
The participant will provide film stills and a portrait of the director – with captions, in electronic form (300dpi JPGs, 13 x 18 cm) –, five posters up to DIN A1 (59 x 84 cm) and a press kit as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file (max. 3 MB). The images will be used in the Berlinale’s publically accessible print products (festival publications) and online media (websites, apps) where they will remain without any time limit or territorial restrictions. In addition, the material will also be made available to third parties for use in journalistic coverage of the Berlinale up to and including March 20, 2017. Film and audio clips for TV, radio and online media coverage
The participant agrees to provide different film and audio clips for use in journalistic coverage of the Berlinale on TV, radio and in online media (including podcasts and other multimedia formats) in suitable formats via file upload.
The participant will receive the necessary login details required for file uploads around three weeks before the start of the festival.

Information about the technical requirements of the film and audio clips can be found at the following link (65 KB).

The materials will be made available to the press for use as a download or in other formats. The Berlinale makes the mentioned clips available to TV and radio stations as well as online media who may use them until March 20, 2017 for the purpose of editorial coverage of the Berlinale.

3.5.5 Film excerpt for the Berlinale's online media

It is possible for the participant to provide a 30-60 second film excerpt (not a trailer!) for the presentation of their film in the Berlinale’s online media.
The film excerpt may be made available by the Berlinale for public use within the context of their online media (in particular websites and apps) – without any time or territorial restrictions – including in the form of a non-downloadable file (streaming).

3.5.6 Film version for public relations activities and/or the Berlinale's internal archive

The participant has the opportunity, via the Berlinale Media Service (see the following clauses), to create and release a watermarked streaming version of the invited film for use in the Berlinale’s public relations activities ( and/or to be entered into the Berlinale’s internal archive ( Public relations activities via the Berlinale Media Service
Screenings in the context of the Berlinale’s public relations activities are held by the Berlinale Media Service – a secure and exclusive area made available by the Berlinale. The Berlinale uses the Media Service for the preparation of the current festival and for the public relations activities for selected films. Time-restricted access to films via the Berlinale Media Service is granted on an individual basis to selected persons upon request or personal invitation by the Berlinale.

User Groups, Scope and Period of Access
By releasing a video file for use in public relations activities in the context of the Berlinale Media Service, the participant agrees to it being made available without territorial restrictions and under the stated conditions to the following user groups:

  • selected press representatives (upon request / upon personal invitation by the Berlinale)
  • selected film industry professionals (upon personal invitation by Berlinale)
  • the Berlinale's educational initiatives (only applicable for films selected for the Generation festival section)

Availability window (if not agreed otherwise): date of agreement to February 28, 2017

For every film, users of the Berlinale Media Service will be shown direct contact details (e-mail address and telephone number) of a representative of the film. The participant can update these contact details at any time up until February 28, 2017. The participant is responsible for the accuracy of this information and authorises the Berlinale to publish it in the context of the Berlinale Media Service’s presentation of the film. The participant consents to users of the Berlinale Media Service making direct contact with them via the provided information. Berlinale internal archive
It lies in the long-term interests of the Berlinale to save a copy of every participating film in its internal archive in order to keep it as a reference point for the identity of the festival and its programming work as well as for the profile of its sections. The films in the Berlinale archive are exclusively available to the festival’s employees for internal use. Security and monitoring
Each film is made accessible as an encrypted data stream using certified DRM systems (Multi-DRM), including a watermark and personalised authorisation via the Berlinale’s "My Account" system.

The Berlinale obliges all users to protect their account from access by third parties as well as not to use the contents made available to them for any purpose other than ones expressly contractually permitted, in particular not to record them, neither wholly nor in part.

The Berlinale is not liable in cases where the users themselves are responsible for a violation of these obligations, nor in cases of a misuse of the Berlinale Media Service or the “My Account” system by third parties.

The system is monitored, i.e. all actions by users and festival staff are logged (date, quantity and duration of viewings) by the Berlinale. This data will only be used for evaluation and security purposes. Upon request, a viewing report (names of users and number of viewings per film) is provided to the film’s rights holder at the end of the availability period. Confidentiality, Data Protection
A film’s screening via the Berlinale Media Service equates to a “private screening” and thus does not affect its premiere status. There will be no public announcement of which films have been released for use via the Berlinale Media Service. The participants, as well as all users of the Berlinale Media Service, must treat information about a film's availability via the service as strictly confidential.

Reviews of films celebrating their world premiere during the festival may only be published after the beginning of the first public screening of the film (start of the screening + 30 minutes). Changes to the Berlinale Media Service
The Berlinale reserves the right to change or terminate the services offered by the Berlinale Media Service at any time. The Berlinale will inform the participants of such an event in good time.

By releasing a film to the Berlinale Media Service, the participant fully accepts the terms and conditions presented here in their entirety.


The participant grants the Berlinale free of charge the non-exclusive, sub-licensable right without any territorial restrictions to use the film as well as the press and promotional material mentioned in paragraph 5.3.4 and the film excerpt mentioned in paragraph 3.5.5 for the purpose of the performance of this agreement, in particular for this purpose to copy the film wholly or in part, not limited to the originally used image and sound storage medium, to distribute, publicly display, screen or broadcast it, to make it available for access and to enter it into electronic databases and data networks. This granting of rights is valid for the use of the film in the context of the Berlinale Media Service until February 28, 2017, and for the disclosure of the press material to third parties for use in the context of journalistic coverage until March 20, 2017.

The granting of the following rights is valid indefinitely but can be revoked at any time: use of the film in the Berlinale’s internal archive; use of photographs for the Berlinale’s publicly accessible print and online media according to paragraph; use of the film excerpt according to paragraph 3.5.5.

The participant declares and guarantees that he/she is the holder of all usage rights necessary for the use of the film in the context of this agreement and that he/she is in a position to effectively grant the Berlinale these rights. The participant affirms that any third parties involved in the production and distribution of the film have agreed, where necessary, to its use in the context of the Berlinale as specified in this agreement. The participant guarantees that by using the film in the context of this agreement, no rights of third parties, including persons depicted in the film, are infringed.

The participant indemnifies the Berlinale from all claims by third parties, in particular by third party copyright holders, which may be pursued against the Berlinale. Any impairment of the rights granted here which the participant may become aware of must be communicated immediately to the Berlinale. The Berlinale is entitled to take appropriate measures to defend itself against claims by third parties or to pursue its rights. The participant will coordinate their own measures with the Berlinale in advance. The indemnification also comprises the reimbursement of costs incurred by the Berlinale as a result of any necessary legal pursuit of its rights and/or legal defence, provided they are not reimbursed by third parties. Other claims by the Berlinale regarding a breach of warranty remain unaffected.


The Berlinale has unlimited liability for damage to the extent that the cause of damage is based on an intentional or grossly negligent breach of duty by the Berlinale or one of its legal representatives or agents. The Berlinale is liable for ordinary negligence solely in the case of a breach of duty, the fulfilment of which is essential to the achievement of the purpose of the contract and upon which the contracting party may regularly rely (material obligation) and to the extent that the Berlinale would typically have been expected to be aware of such damages based on the circumstances prevailing upon conclusion of the contract. Liability on the part of the Berlinale is excluded in all other cases. This applies likewise to its agents and other parties acting on its behalf. This limitation of liability does not apply to damage claims from injury to life, limb and health, the assumption of a quality guarantee or a fraudulent concealment of defects by the Berlinale. Possible legal liability privileges in favour of the Berlinale, e. g. pursuant to §§ 7-10 TMG (Telemediengesetz [German Telemedia Act]), remain unaffected.


Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin
Programme Organisation
Potsdamer Straße 5
10785 Berlin
phone +49 30 25920-444
fax +49 30 25920-499