Berlinale: Berlinale Profile

The Berlinale - Festival profile

Opulent, dangerous, contradictory – the Berlinale resists easy definition. Once a year, the festival captivates audiences and takes them on a cinematic journey into and around the world. The Berlinale is an invitation to encounter the most diverse milieus, lifestyles, opinions and attitudes and to put one’s own judgements and prejudices to the test; to relearn seeing and perceiving via traditional narrative forms and aesthetics never experienced before.

The Berlinale offers sudden, unexpected connections between films from all epochs and in all formats. The works create doubt, investigate the past and cast glimpses into possible futures. The Berlinale is a maze in which startling and fresh views of the world, society and one’s own individual life await. It is a journey that can be risky because it calls into question many things we take for granted. The Berlinale means getting involved - with the beautiful and admirable, but also the cruel and ugly. The Berlinale can be easy-going and playful, but also discomforting and challenging.

The programme contains no educational maxims nor overarching themes. The Berlinale is never didactic. Instead, it offers the chance to explore the world in images and sound individually. It is a gift for audiences, giving everyone the freedom to determine their own path. There is never one single Berlinale. Every visitor experiences their own festival in the films they see, the installations they view, the discussion events they attend, the selfies they capture. Berlinale means watching a film with 1,500 strangers, diving into the fray of Potsdamer Platz, turning to look, stunned, into the eyes of your neighbour after the credits have rolled. To shake your head, laugh, be incensed, delighted, happy or terrified. The Berlinale is the noisy, excited sputtering of the TV reporter at the Red Carpet, the goose-bumps on the celebrities and stars in a winter-cold, glamorous night, but also the quiet, shy whispering of a young director at their first premiere in front of a huge audience.

The Berlinale brings international cinema’s biggest stars to Berlin; the Berlinale discovers exciting new talents. The Berlinale accompanies film creatives from every discipline on their journey into the spotlight, supports careers, projects, dreams and visions. The Berlinale is an economic factor, a marketplace and a space for unrestrained artistic idealism.

The Berlinale is a public film festival. Make yourself at home.


Admittedly, for Berlinale newcomers, it can be tricky to find the right entry point into the festival. You can orientate yourself via the festival’s various programmes, each of which has its own profile:

  • The Competition is the festival’s centrepiece and screens the films that will be talked about.
  • With its selection of radically distinctive styles, the Berlinale Shorts competition sets the trends for the art house cinema of tomorrow.
  • Sexy, edgy, daring. Panorama screens extraordinary cinema, is a traditional audience favourite and - with its own audience award - has the festival’s biggest jury.
  • The Forum and Forum Expanded represent avant garde, experimental and unfamiliar cinematography.
  • Generation presents films that matter – for young cineastes and everyone else.
  • In Perspektive Deutsches Kino, directing talents screen their debut films and bring a breath of fresh air to the cinema with their individual styles.
  • Berlinale Special offers space for the extraordinary, the glamorous and the festival’s special concerns.
  • Berlinale Series offers an exclusive first look at the most exciting new series productions from around the world.
  • In the Retrospective, Berlinale Classics and Homage programmes, you can discover film history and view it anew in screenings of the highest quality.
  • The Culinary Cinema offers food for thought with films about the pleasures, but also the dark sides of food.
  • Berlinale Goes Kiez brings festival films and their casts and crews to art house cinemas.
  • NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema is devoted to the cinematic narratives of Indigenous peoples.


The public film festival is inextricably linked to the Berlinale’s industry initiatives. The festival offers industry guests various opportunities to network, find working partners, track down the current trends in the film business, discover something new and explore innovations.

  • The European Film Market is an international marketplace, a compass for the new film year and a platform for innovation and change.
  • The Berlinale Co-Production Market offers targeted matchmaking and international networking for selected projects, producers and financiers.
  • Berlinale Talents is the creative meeting place of the festival with talks and workshops for cineaste audiences and 250 selected Talents from around the world.