Berlinale: Berlinale Shorts

Berlinale Shorts

With its selection of radically distinctive styles, the Berlinale Shorts competition sets the trends for the art house cinema of tomorrow. The short form is the wild heartbeat alongside the feature-length film competition.

The Berlinale Shorts competition presents world and international premieres which compete for the Golden and Silver Bears as well as the €20,000 Audi Short Film Award and a nomination in the European Short Film category at the European Film Awards. The Golden Bear grants the winning film the right to compete for a short film Oscar®.

The programme reflects the unique qualities of the short form: radically and unrestrainedly addressing aesthetic, social and political issues, being the seismograph of a critical engagement with the present, and giving the film auteurs of tomorrow room for experimentation. Berlinale Shorts presents both renowned contemporary artists and filmmakers and young talents on the brink of being discovered. In her selection of the competition films, the curator is advised by an international selection committee.

Every year, the section also screens film classics which relate to current topics and tendencies in cinematic art, placing the programme in a wider cultural context. In the discursive "Notes on Cinema" events, political strategies are developed with the specific aim of anchoring the short form in society.

In collaboration with local partners, Berlinale Shorts is present at festivals and events around the world throughout the year with Berlinale Spotlight programmes.

A close connection between the market and the audience is essential for the future of film and filmmakers. Innovation requires investment. Without partners there is no future. During the festival, industry players are brought together with the artists of tomorrow. Many films in the programme find a distributor or sales agent during the festival. The Arte Kurzschluss short film magazine programme is responsible for the purchase of a number of films.

Since the foundation of the Berlinale in 1951, short films have screened on an equal footing in the Competition and, since 1955, have also been awarded a Golden Bear. Many filmmakers and artists who have now gone down in film history presented their first works at Berlin.

The founding of the International Forum of New Cinema in 1970 created a new opportunity to present the short form. Ever since, alongside animations, feature films and documentaries in the Competition , avant-garde, experimental and essay films have also screened. Ten years later, under the leadership of Moritz de Hadeln, the festival was further expanded by the Info-Schau, which later became the Panorama. In addition to documentary and feature films, this section screened short films with an explicit focus on international queer perspectives.

In 1992 there was a scandal: the eleven-member international jury considered none of the short films in the competition to be of sufficient quality to win a Bear. In that year, there was no award winner. When the festival directorship passed to Dieter Kosslick, the short film arrived in the 21st century. From 2003 a separate international jury was appointed to award the Golden Bear for Best Short Film. 2007 saw the foundation of an independent short film section which has been named Berlinale Shorts in 2008. And thus the special significance of the short form for cinematic art was strikingly highlighted. Since 2008 Maike Mia Höhne has led the section as its curator.

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

For short films in the section Generation, the specific regulations of that section apply.

1 – Eligibility

Eligible for the Berlinale Shorts competition are fiction, documentary, experimental and animation films up to a maximum length of 30 minutes (including credits).

Accepted formats: DCP, QuickTime ProRes or 35mm (depending on the theatre). Other formats only upon request.

To be eligible

  • films must not have been screened at any international film festival prior to the Berlinale. A presentation at national showcases in the country of origin will be tolerated. .
  • films must not have been released commercially outside their country of origin.
  • films may not have been broadcast nor presented on the Internet / VOD

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

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

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

2 – Selection and programming

Invitations for the films to participate in the Berlinale Shorts competition are extended by the Festival Director in agreement with the section’s curator.

3 – Versions and subtitling

All films, including German-language films, are shown in their original version with English subtitles.
The producer is required to meet the costs of subtitling.

The original version is the version shown (or which will be shown) in the country of origin.

The International Short Film Jury comprises a minimum of three German and international personalities.

No person involved in the production or commercial exploitation of a selected film may serve on the jury.

The Festival Director or an authorised representative may be present during the jury’s deliberations but does not take part in the voting. The jury members are sworn to secrecy. The jury’s discussions and ballots are strictly confidential, even after the end of the festival.


The International Jury is obliged to award the following prizes to short films in competition:

  • Golden Bear for Best Short Film
    The winner of the Golden Bear qualifies for being eligible for next year's short film Oscar®.
  • Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film)
  • Audi Short Film Award, endowed with € 20,000, enabled by Audi

The jury also appoints the Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards.

Films from the Berlinale Shorts competition may also be nominated for the Teddy Award Best Short Film.

You'll find more information about awards at the Berlinale on Awards and Juries.