Berlinale: Forum


Avant garde, experimental works, essays, long-term observations, political reportage and yet-to-be-discovered cinematic landscapes: the International Forum of New Cinema, Forum in short, is the most daring section of the Berlinale.

There are few formal limitations when it comes to the selection of films, resulting in even greater freedom. Documentaries and feature films are given equal consideration. The films in the Forum straddle the line between art and cinema.

In 2006 Forum Expanded was launched. Presenting film, video, installation and performative works on varying themes and in multiple venues across Berlin, works in Forum Expanded provide a critical perspective and an expanded sense of cinematography.

The Forum also has a website of its own:

The section’s origins lie in the International Forum of New Cinema, which was founded in the late 1960s. In that era of intense public political debate, the founders Ulrich and Erika Gregor together with the “Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek e.V.” (known today as “Arsenal - Institut für Film- und Videokunst e. V.”) wanted to transform the cinema into a place of cultural exchange – as a counterweight to the Berlinale.

In 1970 the Berlinale underwent a change including the affiliation of the Forum. Since then, the Forum has become a permanent fixture of the Berlinale programme, which contributes significantly to the diverse profile of the festival.

Right from the beginning, the Forum saw itself as a meeting place for constructive debate. The section organizes accompanying discussions and workshops and has published an exhaustive catalogue complete with background information and reviews the last years.

After Ulrich and Erika Gregor headed the Forum for over 30 years, Christoph Terhechte assumed management of the section in 2001 until he vacated his position in July of 2018. The board of directors of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art e.V., which consists of Milena Gregor, Birgit Kohler and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, took on the interim leadership of the 2019 Forum.

For all applications the General Guidelines for Film Submission and Participation apply.

1 – Eligibility

Eligible films for Forum are feature films and documentaries of at least 60 minutes running time which

  • have not been released in Europe other than in their country of origin.
  • have not been screened at any other German or European film festival. A presentation at national festivals / national showcases in the country of origin will be accepted.
  • have neither been broadcast nor presented on the internet / VOD other than in their country of origin.
  • are available in the formats DCP, QuickTime ProRes 422 or 35mm (depending on the theatre). Other formats only upon request.
  • are meant to be released in film theatres.

In case of international co-productions the main country of production will be considered as country of origin.

  • World premieres are preferred.
  • German films must be world premieres (with the exception of submissions to Perspektive Deutsches Kino).

The head of the Forum section reserves the right to settle any cases not covered by the regulations.

Forum Expanded is curated by the Forum upon invitation only and does not receive submissions.

2 – Selection and programming

The head of the Forum selects films in consensus with the selection committee.

3 – Subtitling

Films selected for the Forum are shown in their original version with English subtitles. It is recommended that a second version with German subtitles be made available to the festival.
The cost of subtitling is the responsibility of the filmmaker. In special cases, the Forum may grant financial support to cover the cost of subtitling into German.

4 – Shipping

Selection screeners material intended for the Forum should be sent to the address of the Berlin International Film Festival or directly to the Forum address:

Potsdamer Straße 2
10785 Berlin
Tel. + 49 30 26955200
Fax + 49 30 26955222

No official awards are presented in the Forum. In its early years, the section stood behind its conviction that it should keep some distance from the competitive character of the Competition. And yet independent juries do present the following awards in the Forum:

  • Caligari Film Prize: The € 4,000 award sponsored by the “Federal Association of Communal Film Work” and the magazine “filmdienst” is shared between the director and the distributor of a Forum film.
  • Prize of the FIPRESCI Jury: Award for the best film in the Forum by the international film critics’ association “Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique”.
  • Prize of the Ecumenical Jury: This award honours a director whose film shows human behavior that is in tune with the message of the Gospels, or makes viewers more receptive to spiritual, humane or social values.
  • GWFF Best First Feature Award: The award is given to a debut film from the Competition, Panorama, Forum, Pespektive Deutsches Kino or Generation sections.
  • Glashütte Original Documentary Award: The award is given to a documentary film from the Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation, Berlinale Special, Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections or the special series Culinary Cinema.
  • CICAE Art Cinema Award: The Confédération Internationale des Cinémas D’Art et Essai (C.I.C.A.E.), the International Association of Arthouse Cinemas sponsors two juries active at the Berlinale: one presents an award to a film in the Panorama, another to a film in the Forum.
  • Teddy Award: The most important queer film award is presented during the Berlinale in the categories Best Feature, Best Documentary / Essay, and Best Short Film as well as the Special Jury Award. Films from all sections of the Berlin International Film Festival compete for the Teddy Award every year.
  • Peace Film Prize: This jury watches films from all sections. The main award is sponsored by the “Peace Film Award Initiative” in collaboration with “International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War” (IPPNW) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The Peace Film Award jury can also give honourable mentions.
  • Tagesspiegel Readers’ Jury Award: The readers’ jury consists of nine members selected through an application process. The Reader’s Award goes to the best film in the Forum.

Please find more information on these and other awards of the festival at Awards and Juries.

Contact Forum

Karen Peek

Programme Coordination
Anna Hoffmann

phone +49 30 26955-200
fax +49 30 26955-222

Contact Forum Expanded

Head of Forum Expanded
Stefanie Schulte Strathaus
phone +49 30 26955-110
fax +49 30 26955-111