Berlinale: Competition


What’s new, what’s important, which are the trends? - Around 25 world and international premieres every year. International stars. Promising talents. A long list of big names: Jean Luc Godard, Sidney Lumet, Konrad Wolf, Agnès Varda, Milos Forman, François Truffaut, Ang Lee, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Joel & Ethan Coen, Richard Linklater, Baz Luhrmann, Robert Altman, Jaques Tati, Spike Jonze, Oliver Stone – they’ve all come to Berlin to present their latest films. Since 1951, the Competition has been the heart of the Berlinale. For over 60 years it has been setting trends for new cinema, screening new productions from across the globe. The final selection is made by Festival Director Dieter Kosslick.

Red Carpet, glamour, fans

The Competition brings glamour to Berlin: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, Clint Eastwood, Diane Kruger, Jennifer Lopez. Renowned actresses, actors and directors stroll across the Red Carpet, encounter excited fans and imbue the festival and city with a flair of glamour.

More information about the films, stars and the exciting history of the festival you'll find in the archive.

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

1 - Eligibility

Accepted formats: DCP, 35mm or 70mm (depending on the theatre). Other formats only upon request.

Eligible are feature films of at least 70 minutes running time which

  • are intended for theatrical release.
  • have not participated at any international film festival. A presentation at national showcases in the country of origin will be tolerated.
  • have not been released commercially other than in their country of origin.
  • have neither been presented on television nor on the internet / VOD.

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

2 - Selection process and programming

The Festival Director invites films to participate in the International Competition. The Director is advised by German and international professionals. Any film submitted for the Competition may be considered for the Panorama unless specifically instructed otherwise by the applicant.

3 - Languages and subtitles

All films invited to participate in the Competition are screened in their original language with German and English subtitles.

The film’s producer is responsible for meeting the costs of subtitling and providing the subtitled version on time.
The version released in the country of origin is regarded as the original version. In the case of films in several languages, the language of the subtitles may only deviate from this directive with the Festival’s approval.

Members of the International Jury and their president are appointed by the Festival Director to award the Golden Bear and Silver Bears. The International Jury comprises at least seven German and foreign personalities. No person who has participated in the production or commercial exploitation of a film in Competition may serve on the Jury.

The Festival Director (or an authorised representative) attends the Jury’s deliberations but does not participate in voting.
The Jury’s decisions are based on an outright majority, or, failing that, by a relative majority reached in a third ballot. Jury members are sworn to secrecy. Jury deliberations and ballots are strictly confidential even after the Festival has ended.

The International Jury awards the following prices:

The Jury is obliged to award the following prizes to films participating in the Competition:

  • Golden Bear for Best Film (awarded to the film’s producer)
  • Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize
  • Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives
  • Silver Bear for Best Director
  • Silver Bear for Best Actress
  • Silver Bear for Best Actor
  • Silver Bear for Best Screenplay
  • Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution in the categories camera, editing, music score, costume or set design

Only one Bear may be awarded ex aequo. The Jury may not award more than one prize to the same film, except in the case of the acting awards.

Cross-section awards respectively awards of the Independent Juries:

To find more information on awards at the Berlinale also see Awards and Juries