Berlinale: How to Berlinale

How to Berlinale
A short guide to film submission

Online submission for 2021 will be activated in autumn.

Please note that all information currently given on these pages refers to the Berlinale 2020 and is supposed to offer a general insight into film entry procedures.

Sections and Programmes

The Competition is the centrepiece of the Berlinale and the festival’s calling card. With around 20 titles, it provides a detailed picture of the cinema as it is and as it will be. Whether from established or up-and-coming directors, films in the Competition present the best of the year’s selection.

Encounters is a competitive section aiming to foster aesthetically and structurally daring works from independent, innovative filmmakers. Its goal is to support new perspectives in cinema and to give more room to diverse narrative and documentary forms in the official selection.

Glamour and popular films in the Gala Premieres, new propositions by established authors presented out of competition, a spotlight on current topics and the honouring of notable film personalities – Berlinale Special is one of the festival’s most versatile programmes.

Berlinale Series offers audiences an exclusive first look on the big screen at the most exciting new series productions and the latest developments in serial storytelling from around the world.

Berlinale Special and Berlinale Series are upon invitation only and do not receive submissions.

Sexy, edgy, daring. Panorama is part of the official Berlinale programme and has its own audience award. Press, industry and the audience share their cinematic experience in all Panorama screenings.

The Forum and Forum Expanded are independent Berlinale programmes curated and organised by the Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art. They are a reflection of the medium of film, social and artistic discourse and aesthetic obstinacy. The Forum’s main programme concentrates on contemporary international productions without differentiating between features and documentaries. Presenting shorts and full-length films, a group exhibition and various event formats, Forum Expanded provides a platform for filmic positions from a wider artistic environment. Forum Expanded does not accept submissions. Contact:

Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus, two competition programmes screening state-of-the-art international cinema for young audiences – and for everyone else. Epic narratives and fleeting moments, flights of fantasy and bitter realities. Coming-of-age stories: awesome, wild and angry, heartfelt and headstrong. Contact:

The competition of the Berlinale Shorts celebrates the short format (max 30 min) in all its variety. The films are a seismograph of our times, they play with the conventions of storytelling and lay down new tracks in the vast field of cinematic possibilities. Contact:

Perspektive Deutsches Kino (Perspectives on German Cinema): the name says it all. The section opens up various perspectives on the German film landscape. The journey into the future of filmmaking begins here, for directors and producers as well as for all the other film disciplines. Contact:

Requirements valid for all submissions

  • Submission:
    available from mid September only via
  • Deadline for submission:
    November 8, 2019 for feature-length films / November 15, 2019 for short films
  • Processing fee:
    € 175 feature-length films / € 75 short films
  • Date of completion:
    within the 12 months prior to the festival
  • Premiere Status:
    World premieres are given priority, however, the sections have different requirements (see list (63 KB)).
  • Categories:
    All sections accept fiction films, documentary forms, animation as well as experimental films but no industry films or commercials.
  • Accepted formats for selection:
    Data file upload or DCP. See technical specifications
  • Formats for festival presentation:
    DCP or QuickTime ProRes. 35mm and other formats only upon request. See technical specifications
  • Documentation for submission:
    Duly completed entry form (including short synopsis and cast and credits)

Please check our General Guidelines for Submission and Participation as well as the specific terms and conditions for each section..
Film submission for the European Film Market at

"How to Berlinale"-Download

The "How to Berlinale" short guide including a table of the submission requirements for each section can be downloaded here:

How to Berlinale, PDF  (63 KB)