Everything looks great but what is Berlinale Talents?

Established in 2003, Berlinale Talents is the festival’s talent development programme for the world’s top 250 emerging filmmakers. It consists of a creative summit with talks and films; Studios and Project Labs tailored to specific disciplines; and numerous networking events.

Berlinale Talents is not a “school” - the participants are working professionals and the experts and mentors are seen as colleagues. During six packed days, you’ll come into contact with hundreds of new ideas and numerous like-minded people. For many participants, Berlinale Talents is a life-changing experience, and for everybody it is the beginning of a long-lasting relationship with the Berlinale.

Who can apply for Berlinale Talents?

Berlinale Talents is aimed at film and television professionals in the early stages of their careers. You should have made either one feature-length film, two short films or a high-quality TV series that have been screened internationally or won awards. Students are only chosen in very exceptional cases, e.g. when they have already worked in the film business before and come with a promising track record of films or series. If you don’t fulfill these criteria yet, don’t worry. Simply apply in another year.

If you wish to apply as a distributor or sales agent, you should have been involved in either the distribution or sale at least two feature length films. If you apply as a Film Critic you should have published at least three film related articles in the last year.

Do you have special selection criteria?

As “talent” is a broad field and in the end a very individual characteristic we don’t have overall selection criteria. Nevertheless, there are of course soft criteria, which are integrated in the selection committee’s work. Aspects like “professionalism” (completed apprenticeship, professional independence, first track record, etc.), your “resonance” (interrelations with local and broader communities you are working with/for, acceptance among festival programmers, audiences and press, etc.) and the “relevance” of your work (willingness to take artistic risks, overcoming internal and external borders, dealing with important individual and social issues, etc.) play a role in the committee’s discussions. We also look for innovative aspects in your work (interdisciplinary teamplay, original technical approaches, unusual attempts with regard to dramaturgy, editing, composition, mise-en-scene etc.). However, we truly believe in everyone’s individual strengths and we encourage you to apply with what you are and what you think is “right” to move film forward, touch people and deal with the world that surrounds you.

Is there a quota e.g. for specific countries or fields of work?

For Berlinale Talents, we like to ensure a reasonable and good balance between hard (e.g. age, sex, countries, etc.) and soft factors (creative and social diversity, etc.). Nevertheless there is no specific quota, especially not for countries, and quality is always the most convincing argument. By the way, almost 50% of our participants are female, which is unfortunately not yet the case everywhere in the film industry.

When can I apply for the next edition of Berlinale Talents?

The application for Berlinale Talents opens every year in early July and ends in early September. We recommend that you subscribe to our newsletter to receive the next call for entries in time.

How can I submit a project to one of the project labs?

Depending on your field of work, you may be eligible to submit a project to one of our four project labs. Before you can do so, please complete the general application first! The additional project lab application form will be available on your application profile.

Please note that you may only apply for one project lab per year! Directors may apply for Doc Station, Short Form Station, or Script Station; Producers may apply for the Talent Project Market; Screenwriters may apply for the Script Station.

If you are a Berlinale Talents alumnus/alumna you may apply directly for one of the project labs (under the condition that you have not previously participated in the same lab). The project lab applications are available on your Berlinale Talents profile.

How can I take part in one of the Studio programmes

The Studio programmes do not require an additional application. Depending on the field of work you apply with in the general application, you will be automatically considered for the corresponding Studio programme.

I am a Talents alumna/alumnus. Can I apply again?

As an alumna/alumnus there are two options to attend Berlinale Talents a second time. You may apply with a project for one of the Project Labs (Doc Station, Script Station, Short Form Station, Talent Project Market), given that you did not attend the same lab before. Vice versa, former attendees who first came to Berlin for a Project Lab and now want to experience more of the general Berlinale Talents programme, can also re-apply again and attend the Summit programme.

I participated in one of the Talents International programmes. Can I still apply for Berlinale Talents?

Yes, as a former participant of a Talents International programme, you may apply for Berlinale Talents (if you fulfill the application criteria). To apply please login to your existing Talents profile. The application form will be available once the application opens on July, 1st.

How should I choose my main sample of work for the general application?

The sample of work must correspond to the first field of work you apply with. It should contain a maximum of two scenes (not necessarily from the same film). The sample should be approximately 3 minutes in length.

Choose a sample that shows what you are capable of! The sample should highlight your creativity rather than a certain theme or topic. All scenes that contain significant non-English dialogue must include on-screen English subtitles. A translated list of dialogue on paper is not sufficient. The sample’s sound/soundtrack should not be altered from the original film. Please make sure, that you are the copyright owner and/or have obtained the consent of any other copyright owner(s) for the usage of the work sample.

We do not accept showreels, trailers, teasers, music videos or commercials.

How can I make my sample of work available, and what are the technical specifications?

The main sample of work must be uploaded to your application profile before the application deadline (September 2nd). Please do not wait until the last application day to upload your sample, since our servers will be very busy and may not be able to process your upload in time. It is recommended to use a movie file with Quicktime/MPEG4 video compression in h.264 codec with a variable compression (bit rate of at least 2000 kbp/s) and AAC audio at 128 kbit/s. If your uploaded file corresponds to at least these criteria, it will be used without any conversion for the selection process.

In addition to your main sample of work, you may add a Vimeo link to another work sample (again, no showreels, trailers, teasers, music videos or commercials). Please make sure that the link is valid until the end of December. If your clip is password protected, please add the password to the corresponding filed in the application form.

Which projects should I include to my online filmography?

Please include all finished film and television/web series projects as well as projects in development to which you have contributed/are contributing in a key crew position (i.e. not in an assistant position).

What should I share about me and my career in the Milestones section of the application?

As a filmmaker your talent is certainly not only to be found in your films. In order to get to know you and your backgrounds a bit better, we’d also love you to share some important milestones of your educational training and the film related companies you are working at or even have founded. If you are teaching film classes at university or engage with others in a collective cinema space twice a week, these information also help the jurors to get the “full picture” of you. As an initiative dedicated to sustainability in four key fields – Gender Equality & Diversity; Quality Education; Peace, Justice & Understanding; Climate Action – we’d love to join forces with you once you come to Berlin. So if you are for example the founder of an association for female cinematographers in your country, the inventor of a solar powered mobile cinema, or the brain behind a social project reaching out to indigenous audiences … please mention that in the Milestones section (“Social Projects & Engagement”) of your application as well. Once invited to Berlinale Talents, we’ll come back to this and connect you with others who share your commitments.

Are there any application or participation fees for Berlinale Talents?

No, Berlinale Talents does not charge any application of participation fees. If invited, you will have to cover a part of your travel costs (more information below) as well as other expenditures during your stay in Berlin.

Does Berlinale Talents offer any financial assistance to its participants?

Berlinale Talents offers free accommodation for the days of our programme as well as a partial contribution towards your travel expenses which is determined on a case-by-case basis and at the sole discretion of Berlinale Talents.

When will I find out if my application was successful?

We will contact you via e-mail before the end of December. Please make sure that the e-mail address you provided on your application will be operational at that time. If your e-mail address changes after you’ve filled out the application, please let us know. We will not be held responsible for any failed delivery of notification! If you haven’t heard from us by January, please contact us at talents@berlinale.de for an official notification.

If rejected, may I apply again for a later edition?

Yes, you may apply again for a later edition. Please note that old application profiles will be deleted after each application period. If you decide to apply again, please create a new application profile on our website.