General Guidelines for Submission and Participation

1 Introduction

The Berlin International Film Festival (hereafter referred to as “Berlinale”) is organised by the Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin GmbH. The Berlinale is a major public cultural event and, with typically over 330,000 tickets sold and the participation of around 20,000 professional visitors from more than 100 countries, including more than 3,500 journalists, it is one of the international film industry’s most important events. The Berlinale programme usually consists of around 400 films and comprises the Official Programme (Competition, Encounters, Berlinale Shorts, Panorama), the Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections, as well as the Forum, which is organised independently by the Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art.

Films can be submitted to one or more of the sections mentioned above. The person responsible for the accuracy of the information given in the online film submission form (hereinafter called “the submitter”) selects the appropriate section(s) during the film submission process.

Retrospective and Homage do not receive submissions. For more information on the special programmes Berlinale Special, Berlinale Special Gala and Berlinale Series (Official Programme), as well as Berlinale Classics and Forum Expanded please visit the respective profiles.

In addition to the Official Awards of the Berlinale, several independent juries present awards within the context of the festival.
Overview Awards & Juries

The Berlinale is a FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) accredited festival and is subject to its guidelines.

2 Submission Guidelines

2.1 General Regulations

  • Only films that have been registered can be considered for selection.
  • Film registrations are accepted exclusively online at www.berlinale.de.
  • Submission deadlines (the following deadlines must be met without exception):
    Feature-length films: registration of films and receipt of selection screeners by November 3, 2020
    Short films: registration of films and receipt of selection screeners by November 17, 2020
  • Films which have been submitted and viewed for previous editions of the Berlinale may not be registered again.
  • Only films completed within the 12 months prior to the start of the festival may be registered.
  • Except for German films, a theatrical release as well as a festival participation in the country of origin will be accepted. The same applies to a participation at an online festival as long as the streamings are only accessible in the country of origin (by means of “geoblocking” technology). World premieres are preferred. Kindly note the respective premiere status minimum requirements of each section. Further information on the definition of the various premiere status can be found in the FAQ.
  • While feature length films need a minimum running time of 60 min, Berlinale Shorts accepts films up to 30 min. Films for Perspektive Deutsches Kino (German productions only) need a minimum length of 30 min, features start with 60 min.
  • Documentary forms can be submitted to all sections.
  • The Artistic Director of the festival reserves the right to rule on any cases not provided for in these guidelines individually.
  • Every submitter will receive a written notification about the result of the selection screening.
  • Details regarding film registration for the European Film Market can be found at www.efm-berlinale.de.

2.2 Processing Fee

Films will only be considered for selection after the processing fee is received. The fee is requested to cover administrative costs and will not be reimbursed under any circumstance. Please carefully check our guidelines before submitting. The fee for submitting a feature length film is 175 Euros (7% VAT included) regardless of the number of sections for which the film is entered. The fee for short films is 75 Euros.

Payment methods
Payment of the fees can only be made online by credit card during the film registration process.

Visa, MasterCard and American Express are all accepted.

Special conditions for film schools:
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 .

Individual student submissions will be charged the processing fee at the aforementioned rates. A discount cannot be granted.

2.3 Selection Screeners

For selection screenings all films have to be submitted in their original version with English subtitles unless the original version of the film is English.

For Berlinale Shorts, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino films in German language can be submitted in their original versions without subtitles. In case of selection for the festival English subtitles will be required.

Films can be submitted to the festival via file upload on the Berlinale website after the online film registration process is complete.

The other accepted technical format for selection screenings is DCP.

If you wish to send a DCP for the selection screenings please contact the in advance.

In any case, before sending the selection screener, please ensure that it complies with the festival’s technical format specifications for selection screeners (file upload, DCP).

By submitting the online film registration form, the submitter agrees that, for organisational purposes, the festival retains submitted selection screeners until the end of the festival’s current edition (effective date: March 31, 2021). The submitter also agrees that selection screeners (except DCPs) will be made available online in encrypted form to selected festival employees for the purpose of film selection.

If an invitation is extended, the Berlinale will also use the corresponding selection screener(s) for internal festival preparations.

Shipment
Selection screeners not submitted via file upload should be sent to the following address:
Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin
Film Office
Voxstraße 3
10785 Berlin
Germany
Tel. +49 30 25920-888

All shipping costs, including customs fees, must be borne by the submitter or their authorised representative. Shipments sent via international courier services must clearly indicate on their waybill that all costs for duties and taxes are to be billed to the sender.

All shipments from outside the European Single Market must get customs clearance before being imported to Germany. For this purpose all shipments sent by courier from outside the EU must have three copies of proper customs documentation, containing all the necessary information (i.e. proforma/commercial invoice), attached on the outside of the package together with the courier’s waybill.

If you are shipping via international post, a customs declaration label (CN22 or CN23 customs declaration) must be affixed to the outside of the package.

The declared value for customs refers to the value of the physical medium only and should generally not exceed 20,- Euros. Please also note that a value of 0,- Euros won’t be accepted by German customs authorities.

Shipments sent without proper customs documentation can be withheld by customs and subjected to an ex post customs clearance, which may lead to additional costs that must be met by the submitter.

Storage
The Berlinale will bear the costs for the storage and insurance of film media for the period during which such media is within its area of responsibility. In the event that a medium is damaged or gets lost during this period, the Berlinale’s liability is limited to the costs for replacement of the damaged component (in the case of DCP [digital cinema package] for instance, the cost of the data carrier/hard disk). In the case of the medium being found to be damaged upon its return shipment, a notice of damage or claim for damages, respectively, must be received by the Berlinale within 14 days of the return shipment of the medium.

Return Shipment
All media submitted for selection screenings will not be returned unless by specific request and paid for by the applicants themselves. Requests must be sent no later than two months after the end of the festival to . All media that has not been requested by two months after the festival end, will be destroyed if no other arrangements have been made beforehand.

2.4 Declaration of Rights Upon Submission of the Film

The Berlinale will only accept the submission of a film if the submitter is the holder of all usage rights to the film necessary for the submission and use of the film within the context of participation in the Berlinale, as specified in paragraph 4 of the General Guidelines for Submission and Participation, and if the submitter can also effectively grant the Berlinale these rights. The Berlinale reserves the right to demand appropriate proof of these rights and to reject the submission upon failure to provide it.

3 Guidelines for Selected Films

Only officially selected films can participate in the Berlinale. The invitation to participate is issued by the Artistic Director of the festival or the section heads, respectively.

Programming of the selected films is likewise made by the Artistic Director of the festival or the heads of each section, respectively, and is final. Each film can be screened up to five times during the festival in Berlin. In addition, participants can authorise additional screenings of the selected film during the festival in the appropriate section on the Participation Form.

To participate in the Berlinale, the submitter (hereafter or after signing the participation form respectively referred to as "the participant") must accept the invitation in writing, submit the final festival version of the film by the deadline and provide the festival with the supplementary documents, media and information.

Every film presented in the Berlinale programme receives a certificate of participation following the festival.

3.1 General Regulations

No film may be withdrawn from the festival programme after its participation has been publicly announced. During the festival, no participating film may be screened outside the festival venues prior to its official presentation at the festival.

Participation in the festival requires the unconditional adherence to all regulations set out in these guidelines. Producers, distributors and other people or organisations submitting a film must ensure that any third parties connected to the production agree to its participation in the festival. Additional terms and conditions of participation apply for the individual sections.

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

3.2 Participants' Obligations

No film may be withdrawn from the festival programme after its participation has been publicly announced. During the festival, no participating film may be screened outside the festival venues prior to its official presentation at the festival.

Participation in the festival requires the unconditional adherence to all regulations set out in these guidelines. Producers, distributors and other people or organisations submitting a film must ensure that any third parties connected to the production agree to its participation in the festival. Additional terms and conditions of participation apply for the individual sections.

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

3.3 Presence in Berlin

The Berlinale expects the invited films’ directors and leading actors to attend the presentation of their films in Berlin when possible. The festival is not in the position to cover travel expenses, although a certain number of hotel rooms are made available. The Berlinale Guest Management will take care of arrangements for your stay.

3.4 Official Logo and Advertising

The participant must ensure that the official festival logo is clearly visible on all advertising and promotional measures for the participating films. The Berlinale provides specific logos for each section of the programme. Please direct any enquiries by e-mail to the respective section.

3.5 Required Documents, Media and Information

3.5.1 Participation Form

As soon as a film is invited to the Berlinale programme, the submitter must confirm their acceptance of the invitation by completing and signing the Participation Form and returning it to the Berlinale. The form is available for download on the “My Account / My Film Entry” webpage once the invitation has been issued.

3.5.2 Festival Version of the Film

The final festival version of the film must be delivered to the Berlinale by the deadline. The festival’s current technical format specifications as well as information regarding the delivery of media can be found in the Technical Requirements.

Storage
The Berlinale will bear the costs for the storage and insurance of film media for the period during which such media is within its area of responsibility. In the event that a medium is damaged or gets lost during this period, the Berlinale’s liability is limited to the costs for replacement of the damaged component (in the case of DCP [digital cinema package] for instance, the cost of the data carrier/hard disk). In the case of the medium being found to be damaged upon its return shipment, a notice of damage or claim for damages, respectively, must be received by the Berlinale within 14 days of the return shipment of the medium.

Return Shipment
Media delivered to the festival will only be returned upon specific instruction by the participant and solely at the participant’s own expense.

3.5.3 Film Information

After a film has been invited and the participant has completed, signed and returned the Participation Form, the information given during the film submission process (director, production, actors) must be confirmed and/or supplemented and sent to the Berlinale by e-mail.

3.5.4 Press and Promotional Material

Acceptance of the invitation obliges the participant to provide press and promotional material and to authorise its release for the uses stated in clauses 3.5.4.1 and 3.5.4.2 of these General Guidelines for Submission and Participation.

3.5.4.1 Photos, press kits, posters

The participant must provide the following material:

  • film stills (minimum width 1600 pixel & minimum height 1100 pixel, JPG/TIFF) and a portrait of the director (minimum width 400 pixel & minimum height 550 pixel, JPG/TIFF) – with captions – in electronic form
  • film poster in electronic form (300dpi JPG of 13x18 cm), five printed copies no larger than DIN A1 (59 x 84 cm)
  • press kit as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file (max. 3 MB, printed copies following consultation with the respective section)

The Berlinale will pass on this material to third parties for the purpose of editorial coverage of the Berlinale, time-limited to March 25, 2021.

The images will also be used for the Berlinale’s publicly available print products (festival publications) and online media (websites, apps, social media channels) where they will remain available without any time or territorial restrictions.

3.5.4.2 Film and audio clips for TV, radio and online media coverage

The participant agrees to provide various film and audio clips for use in journalistic coverage of the Berlinale on TV, radio and in online media (including podcasts and other multimedia formats as well as social media channels) in suitable formats via file upload.

The participant will receive the necessary login details required for file uploads around three weeks before the start of the festival.

The material will be made available to the press for use as a download or in other formats. The Berlinale will make the aforementioned clips available to TV and radio stations and online media. These third parties may use them until April 30, 2021 for the purpose of editorial coverage of the Berlinale.

Please note the information about the technical requirements of the film and audio clips, PDF (418 KB).

In addition, the clips may be used for the Berlinale’s online media (websites, apps and social media channels) and may remain available there without time or territorial restrictions.

3.5.5 Trailer or Film Excerpt for the Berlinale's Online Media

It is possible for the participants to provide a 30-120 second trailer or film excerpt for the presentation of their film in the Berlinale’s online media.

The trailer or film excerpt may be made available by the Berlinale for public use within the context of their online media (websites, apps, social media channels) – without any time or territorial restrictions – including in the form of a non-downloadable file (streaming) or editorial contributions.

The language of the trailer/film excerpt must be English, or the original language with English subtitles.

3.5.6 Film Version for Public Relations Activities and/or the Berlinale's Internal Archive

The participant has the opportunity, via the Berlinale Media Service (see the following clauses), to create and release a watermarked streaming version of the invited film for use in the Berlinale’s public relations activities (3.5.6.1) and/or to be entered into the Berlinale’s internal archive (3.5.6.2).

3.5.6.1 Public relations activities via the Berlinale Media Service

Screenings in the context of the Berlinale’s public relations activities are held by the Berlinale Media Service – a secure and exclusive area made available by the Berlinale. The Berlinale uses the Media Service for the preparation of the current festival and for the public relations activities for selected films. Time-restricted access to films via the Berlinale Media Service is granted on an individual basis to selected persons upon request or personal invitation by the Berlinale.

User Groups, Scope and Period of Access

By releasing a video file for use in public relations activities in the context of the Berlinale Media Service, the participant agrees to it being made available without territorial restrictions and under the stated conditions to the following user groups:

  • selected press representatives (upon request / personal invitation by the Berlinale)
  • selected film industry professionals (upon personal invitation by the Berlinale)
  • the Berlinale's educational initiatives (only applicable for films selected for the Generation festival section)

Availability window (if not agreed otherwise): from the date of agreement to March 31, 2021.

3.5.6.2 The Berlinale's internal archive

It is in the long-term interests of the Berlinale to save a digital copy of every participating film in its internal archive in order to keep it as a reference point for the identity of the festival and its programming work as well as for the profile of its sections. The films in the Berlinale archive are exclusively available to the festival’s employees for internal use.

3.5.6.3 Security and monitoring

Each film is made accessible as an encrypted data stream using certified DRM systems (Multi-DRM), including a watermark and personalised authorisation via the Berlinale’s "My Account" system.

The Berlinale obliges all users to protect their account from access by third parties as well as not to use the contents made available to them for any purpose other than ones expressly contractually permitted, in particular not to record them, neither wholly nor in part.

The Berlinale is not liable in cases where the users themselves are responsible for a violation of these obligations, nor in cases of a misuse of the Berlinale Media Service or the “My Account” system by third parties.

3.5.6.4 Confidentiality

A film’s screening via the Berlinale Media Service equates to a “private screening” and thus does not affect its premiere status. There will be no public announcement of which films have been released for use via the Berlinale Media Service. The participants, as well as all users of the Berlinale Media Service, must treat information about a film's availability via the service as strictly confidential.

Reviews of films celebrating their world premiere during the festival may only be published after the beginning of the first public screening of the film (start of the screening + 30 minutes).

3.5.6.5 Changes to the Berlinale Media Service

The Berlinale reserves the right to change or terminate the services offered by the Berlinale Media Service at any time. The Berlinale will inform the participants of such an event in good time.

By releasing a film to the Berlinale Media Service, the participant fully accepts the terms and conditions presented here in their entirety.

4 Usage Rights

The participant grants the Berlinale free of charge the non-exclusive, sub-licensable right without any territorial restrictions to use the film as well as the press and promotional material mentioned in paragraph 5.3.4 and the trailer/film excerpt mentioned in paragraph 3.5.5, for the purpose of the presentation of the film at the Berlinale, in particular for this purpose to copy the film wholly or in part, not limited to the originally used image and sound storage medium, to distribute, publicly display, screen or broadcast it, to make it available for access and to enter it into electronic databases and data networks. This granting of rights is valid for the use of the film in the context of the Berlinale Media Service until March 31, 2021, and for the disclosure of the press material to third parties for use in the context of journalistic coverage until March 25 / April 30, 2021.

The granting of the following rights is valid indefinitely but can be revoked at any time: use of the film in the Berlinale’s internal archive; use of photographs for the Berlinale’s publicly accessible print and online media according to paragraph 3.5.4.1; use of the trailer/film excerpt according to paragraph 3.5.5.

The participant declares and guarantees that he/she is the holder of all usage rights necessary for the use of the film in the context of this agreement and that he/she is in a position to effectively grant the Berlinale these rights. The participant affirms that any third parties involved in the production and distribution of the film have agreed, where necessary, to its use in the context of the Berlinale as specified in this agreement. The participant guarantees that by using the film in the context of this agreement, no rights of third parties, including persons depicted in the film, are infringed.

The participant indemnifies the Berlinale from all claims by third parties, in particular by third party copyright holders, which may be pursued against the Berlinale. Any impairment of the rights granted here which the participant may become aware of must be communicated immediately to the Berlinale. The Berlinale is entitled to take appropriate measures to defend itself against claims by third parties or to pursue its rights. The participant will coordinate their own measures with the Berlinale in advance. The indemnification also comprises the reimbursement of costs incurred by the Berlinale as a result of any necessary legal pursuit of its rights and/or legal defence, provided they are not reimbursed by third parties. Other claims by the Berlinale regarding a breach of warranty remain unaffected.

5 Liability of the Berlinale for Selection Screeners and Festival Media

The Berlinale has unlimited liability for damage to the extent that the cause of damage is based on an intentional or grossly negligent breach of duty by the Berlinale or one of its legal representatives or agents. The Berlinale is liable for ordinary negligence solely in the case of a breach of duty, the fulfilment of which is essential to the achievement of the purpose of the contract and upon which the contracting party may regularly rely (material obligation) and to the extent that the Berlinale would typically have been expected to be aware of such damages based on the circumstances prevailing upon conclusion of the contract. Liability on the part of the Berlinale is excluded in all other cases. This applies likewise to its agents and other parties acting on its behalf. This limitation of liability does not apply to damage claims from injury to life, limb and health, the assumption of a quality guarantee or a fraudulent concealment of defects by the Berlinale. Possible legal liability privileges in favour of the Berlinale, e. g. pursuant to §§ 7-10 TMG (Telemediengesetz [German Telemedia Act]), remain unaffected.

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