Berlinale: Berlinale Shorts

Berlinale Shorts

The short film is radical and independent, at times controversial, disturbing, testing the limits of our comprehension. It is as multi-layered as the possibilities offered by its creation. It can be an open-ended question, a bold thesis, a sketched thought or a carefully staged drama. The short film often carries the seed of the stylistic and thematic characteristics that will later become the signature style of the artist. The much smaller production budget requires uncompromising exploration and contributes to the formation of an individual style.

Since 1955, the Berlinale awards the Golden and the Silver Bear for short films, since 2003 with a dedicated international jury, which developed out of the Panorama Short Film Jury, founded in 1990. In 2006 the short film programmes of Competition and Panorama were merged into a single section. With the introduction of a separate section, the festival management wanted to underscore the importance of short films for the film industry in general.

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 422 or 35mm (depending on the theatre). Other formats only upon request.

To be eligible

  • films must not have been screened at any festival or similar public event outside their country of origin prior to the Berlinale. Screenings at national festivals or events with national focus in the country of origin do not preclude a film from selection.
  • 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 Nominee 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.