The festival shows about 400 films during the event, and 25 of those will be selected to compete for special awards like the Golden and Silver Bears. These films come from over 120 countries, making this a truly international competition. The Jury Panel that selects the films to be seen at the festival and to compete in the contest is often presided over by famous actors and directors, including people like Isabella Rossellini.
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The deadlines for films will depend on whether or not the film is a feature or short film. Generally, feature films are due by the end of October while short films are due by the middle of November. Two competitions in the festival only accept entries by invitation only. Those are the Gala Special and the Berlinale Special. Generally, entries will be by directors or filmmakers that are well-known to the festival.
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The Panorama category is open to new films by renowned directors. This is where they showcase their new films. Or, it is open to debut films or filmmakers of the art-house scene.
The German Cinema features German films in the hopes of promoting these films to an international audience.
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While the previous film categories were specifically for filmmakers who have already made a name for themselves, the following categories are open to new filmmakers. The Forum category focuses on young filmmakers from around the world who are looking to make a name for themselves. The Forum Expanded is a mix of film and visual arts and how they overlap. Again, these categories are invitation only.
The Berlinale Shorts features short films from around the world, and award winners in this category will be selected by the International Jury. The Generation category is open to films geared towards children and youth.
The Perspektive Deutsches Kino is open new German filmmakers, and the goal of this category to help these filmmakers get exposure for their films. The Culinary Cinema is open to films that focus on environmental and food topics. This category is also invitation only.
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Film Submission Rules
Films must have been completed within one year of the start of the festival. The fees for feature films are around $160, and the fees for short films are around $65. Films that are making their premiere at the festival will be given preference.
Films are accepted in the following formats: Beta Sp, 35mm, HDCam, DVD and Digibeta. Besides the film, filmmakers must also submit a completed entry form, which can be downloaded from the website, and the following: production company details, the director’s resume, synopsis and a cast and crew list.