Film Submission FAQ

You can find detailed information on the submission at any time in the General Guidelines and the Technical Specifications. You can find answers to the most frequently asked questions here. However, only the current Guidelines and Technical Specifications as mentioned above serve as the binding reference.

General

What are the submission deadlines?
The deadline for registering a feature-length film is November 3, 2020, for short films it is November 17, 2020. The selection screener must also be provided within the respective deadline.

How do I submit my film to Berlinale?
You need to register your film by completing the film application form. Afterwards, you can upload the film via the website into the Berlinale Media Service.

May I submit more than one film?
Yes, you may submit more than one film but you will need to complete the application form for each film individually.

Do you accept documentaries? For which sections?
Yes, the Berlinale accepts documentaries in all its sections (Competition, Encounters, Panorama, Forum, Generation, Perspektive Deutsches Kino (German films only) as well as Berlinale Shorts).

May I apply to more than one section?
Yes, you can submit to multiple sections with only one application, but check the guidelines of the respective sections to make sure that your film is eligible.

For which sections can I submit short films?
For Berlinale 2021 short films (max. 30') can only be submitted to Berlinale Shorts. Generation will not programme any short films for the upcoming edition. German films between 30 and 60 minutes however can also be submitted to Perspektive Deutsches Kino.

Where can I submit a film to the European Film Market?
If you want to submit a film to the European Film Market please use the EFM Film Entry.

I have already registered my film but want to apply for an additional section. Do I need to fill in another application form?
No, please contact the Programme Organisation either by sending an e-mail to or by using the respective link under My Film Entry. They will add the section to your application.

I would like to add / correct the information given in my application. How can I do that?
Please send the updated information, by stating the title of the film, either per e-mail to or by using the corresponding link under My Film Entry.

Do you accept re-submissions?
No, the Berlinale does not accept films that have already been considered for past Berlinale editions.

Can I submit through "Withoutabox" or "FilmFreeway"?
No, you can only submit directly via www.berlinale.de.

Are the Berlin Independent Film Festival and/or the Woche der Kritik (Berlin Critic’s Week) part of the Berlinale?
No, both are festivals on their own and have no connection whatsoever to the Berlinale.

Do I get a confirmation on the submission of my film?
Yes, you will get a confirmation by email.

Selection Screener

My selection screener is in a technical format that is not mentioned on your list of accepted screening formats for selection. What can I do? Can I send it nonetheless?
No, please do not send selection screeners in technical formats that do not comply with the accepted formats for selection screeners. The accepted formats are: file upload via My Film Entry as well as DCP in specific cases.

If your film is available only in a different format (e.g. Blu-ray, HDCAM, QT ProRes file…), please convert it into one of the two accepted technical formats before you submit it. See Technical Specifications for Selection Screeners. If you have any additional technical questions, please contact the Berlinale Film Office at .

May I send a link (e.g. Vimeo) as selection screener?
No. The Berlinale works with neither Vimeo nor any other external streaming links during film selection, but exclusively uses her proprietary internal streaming system for selection screenings instead. But you can take the same data file that is provided on the Vimeo platform and upload it as your selection screener onto Berlinale's internal online streaming service during the online film application or later on via My Film Entry.

Do you accept trailers for selection purposes?
No, the Berlinale does not accept any trailers for selection purposes but only accepts complete versions of the registered films.

Do you accept rough cuts / works in progress for selection?
The film version that is submitted should at least have reached the stage of picture lock. Rough cuts are accepted only in rare and exceptional cases. If in doubt, please get in touch with either the festival’s Programme Organisation (programme@berlinale.de) or with the section(s) you are submitting to.

Can I send an updated version of my selection screener at a later date?
No, please do not send any updated version(s) of your already submitted selection screener – unless the festival explicitly asks you for it.

Do you need a subtitled version for the selection screenings?
Yes, the Berlinale requests an English subtitled version for the selection screenings (except if the film’s original version is English). For Berlinale Shorts, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino films in German can be submitted in their original versions without subtitles. In case of selection for the festival English subtitles will be required.

When do I have to send / upload my film?
The selection screener of your film should be received by the Festival within the aforementioned respective deadlines (November 3, 2020/ November 17, 2020).

Where do I send my film?
If you wish to send a DCP for the selection screenings please contact the Film Office in advance:
Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin
Film Office
Voxstraße 3
10785 Berlin
Deutschland'
Tel. +49 30 25920-888

Eligibility

What is meant by country of origin / of production?
The film’s country of origin / production is determined by the registered office address of the main production company and does by no means refer to the country where the film was shot! In case there are several (co-)producing companies, they have to be listed with their registered offices as well.

What is the meaning of premiere status?

World premiere The film has never been shown anywhere publicly.
Eligible for all sections
International premiere The film has only been released theatrically or presented in its country of origin, but nowhere else.
Eligible for all sections

Please note: This does not apply to German films. They may not be presented in Germany.
European premiere The film has already been shown or theatrically released outside of Europe, but never been presented in a European country. (A theatrical release or a presentation in the country of origin is permitted with the exception of Germany.)
Eligible for Panorama, Forum, Generation, Perspektive Deutsches Kino
German premiere The film has never been shown publicly in Germany.
Eligible only for German films submitted to Perspektive Deutsches Kino
No premiere The film has been presented / theatrically released internationally including Germany.
In this case, it will not be eligible for any of the Berlinale sections

Please note: German productions and co-productions have to be world premieres in order to be eligible for Competition, Encounters and Berlinale Shorts. For Panorama, Forum and Generation a European premiere is required. Films may neither have been presented in Europe nor in Germany beforehand. Perspektive Deutsches Kino requires a German premiere as minimum (no presentation at any festival / online festival in Germany beforehand).

My film has been presented at an online festival. Is it still eligible?
For the sections Competition, Encounters and Berlinale Shorts we request an international premiere. A presentation at an online festival will be tolerated as long as the streamings are only accessible in the country of origin (geoblocked).
For Panorama, Forum and Generation we request a European premiere. A presentationat an online festival will be tolerated as long as the streamings are only accessible outside of Europe / in the country of origin (geoblocked).

May I still submit my film even though it has been broadcast on television?
If the film was broadcast only in its country of origin and nowhere else, it is still eligible for Panorama, Forum and Generation. Neither Competition, Encounters, Berlinale Shorts nor Perspektive Deutsches Kino accept films with previous TV broadcasts.

May I still submit my film even though it has previously been published on the internet?
If the film’s availability on the internet was restricted to the country of the film’s origin, it may still apply for Panorama, Forum and Generation. Neither Competition, Encounters, Berlinale Shorts nor Perspektive Deutsches Kino accept films that have been available on the internet or via VOD.

My film has already been released on DVD or Blu-ray. May I still submit it?
No, it is then no longer eligible for any of the Berlinale’s sections.

A trailer of my film is already available on the internet. Is the film still eligible?
Yes, it is. A trailer does not present any breach of our regulations.

What exactly does year of production mean?
The year of production is the year when the film was completed (and does not refer to the period of shooting).

What is the maximum duration for short films?
Duration limits differ from section to section: the maximum duration for films in the Berlinale Shorts competition is 30 minutes. Perspektive Deutsches Kino (German films only!) considers any film with a duration of under 60 minutes as a short film and at the same time requires a minimum duration of 30 minutes.

If you have any further questions regarding the eligibility of your film, please contact the festival’s Programme Organisation via .

Processing fee

What is the fee for processing a film submission?
The processing fee for feature-length films is 175 Euros, for short films 75 Euros, no matter for how many sections you apply. Please check the correct currency exchange rate with your bank and note that debit cards are not accepted.

Are there any early bird discounts or additional late fees?
No, for films applying for the festival programme, there are no early bird / late fees.

Will I get the processing fee refunded if it turns out that my film is not eligible?
No, you cannot get a refund in case your film is not eligible. Therefore please carefully check the guidelines of the section(s) if the film is eligible or not prior to submitting the film!

Can I get a refund in case the festival does not take place?
The fee is requested to cover administrative costs and will not be reimbursed under any circumstance.

Do you accept PayPal payments?
No, only payment by credit card is accepted. Please also note, that debit cards are not accepted.

I do not own a credit card. What can I do?
Please get in touch with the Programme Organisation via . They will arrange for you to pay via wire transfer.

I’m a student. What are the special conditions?
It is possible to submit up to 10 short films for 250 Euros and / or up to 6 feature films for 350 Euros. Queries about collective submissions can only be made by the responsible film school employee to the Berlinale’s programme organisation at or . Unfortunately, no discounts can be granted for individual submission by students.

I want to submit my film to more than one section. Do I have to pay a processing fee for each single section?
No, for each film the processing fee is payable only once, regardless of the number of sections it is submitted to. See also "General".

Decisions and notifications

When will I be notified of the Berlinale’s decision regarding my film?
Please do understand, that selection is a very careful and sensitive process which needs time. Generally, notifications will not be sent out before the end of the year (2020).
In case of urgency - e.g invitation(s) to (an)other festivaI(s) -, please get in touch with the Programme Organisation or the section(s) you are submitting the film to in time(!), and they will do their best to deliver an earlier decision.

In case of urgency - e.g invitation(s) to (an)other festivaI(s) -, please get in touch with the Programme Organisation or the section(s) you are submitting the film to in time(!), and they will do their best to deliver an earlier decision.

If my film is not selected, may I get an explanation on the decision or any other feedback?
Please understand that the Berlinale cannot provide individual comments on their decisions as the choice of films ultimately selected has been the subject of detailed discussions under manifold criteria.

If your film gets selected

If my film is selected, when do you need the festival version?
The film’s version for presentation in the festival should arrive at the Berlinale Film Office no later than by January 29, 2021. During January / February 2021, however, some sections of the festival (except Competition and Encounters) will be offering advanced press screenings of selected films in their programmes, and it may therefore become necessary for you to provide the final version of your film some time before the above mentioned deadline. Please coordinate delivery dates directly with the section you are invited to.

What kind of subtitles do you request?
In general, non-English language films have to be subtitled in English at least – BUT: every section has its own policy of subtitles, which can be found in the respective guidelines. In any case, please get in touch with the team of the section your film has been invited into.

Contact Programme Organisation

phone +49 30 25920-444

Contact Web Support

phone +49 30 25920-800

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