What is Berlinale Talents?

Established in 2003, Berlinale Talents is the festival’s talent development programme for the world’s top 250 emerging filmmakers and drama series creators. It consists of a creative Summit with talks and films; Talents Labs with workshops and mentorship tailored to specific disciplines; and numerous networking events. Berlinale Talents is not a „school“ for those taking their very first steps in the industry. Rather, our participants are working professionals, and our experts and mentors see them as equals. 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 represents the beginning of a long-lasting relationship with the Berlinale.

Who can apply?

Berlinale Talents is aimed at film and television professionals with an existing track record of work and who are willing to share their experiences with others. To be eligible, you need to have made either one feature-length film, two short films or a high-quality drama series that have screened internationally or won awards. Students are only admitted in very exceptional cases, e.g. if they have previously worked in the film business. If you don’t fulfill these criteria yet, don’t worry - simply apply for a future edition!

If you wish to apply as a distributor, sales agent or audience designer, you should have been involved in either the distribution or sale of at least two feature-length films or be responsible for a cinema space or festival, e.g. as a curator. If you’re applying as a critic, you should regularly publish film-related articles, interviews or essays on professional platforms. If you wish to apply as a distributor or sales agent, you should have been involved in either the distribution or sale of at least two feature-length films.

How will the Covid-19 pandemic affect Berlinale Talents 2021?

That’s hard to predict in this constantly evolving situation. Since networking and in-person encounters are key aspects of our events, Berlinale Talents may well be impacted by any changes to the meeting, travel and working conditions of everyone involved. The overall shape of the 2021 event will be planned in line with government guidelines and health regulations and with the Berlinale’s current strategy to offer a safe physical experience for audiences and participants in our cinemas and other usual venues in Berlin.

In order to be able to react flexibly to unforeseen circumstances and maintain our core values of diversity and inclusion, our online services will be expanded and implemented if and when activities can’t take place as planned. Please be assured that all 250 invited Talents will remain part of the 2021 selection, even if you can’t join us in person in Berlin due to health issues or travel restrictions. In these exceptional hardship cases (and at the sole discretion of Berlinale Talents), we’ll offer you flexible online alternatives for select labs, talks and networking formats. While applying for this edition, we kindly ask you for some flexibility, patience and openness. Thank you in advance - we’re all in this together!

Do you have special selection criteria?

Since “talent” is a broad term and ultimately a very individual characteristic, we don’t have “hard” selection criteria beyond the eligibility requirements set out above under “Who can apply?”. Nevertheless, there are several “soft” factors in the selection committee’s work.

Their decision takes into account aspects such as professionalism (education, professional independence, track record etc.), craftsmanship (aesthetic capacities as shown e.g. in your work sample), resonance (relations with your local communities, acceptance among festival programmers, audiences and press etc.) and the relevance of your work (willingness to take artistic risks, to overcome internal and external boundaries, and to deal with individual and social issues etc.). We also look for innovative qualities in your work (new modes of collaboration, technical innovations and other fresh approaches in your field of work). However, please be assured that we don’t check boxes and truly believe in everyone’s individual strengths, including yours. We encourage you to honestly and fully present who you are as an artist and what you think is right to move your work forward, inspire others and impact the world that surrounds you.

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

We like to ensure a reasonable balance between “hard” factors (e.g. age, gender, regions) and “soft” factors (e.g. creative and social diversity). It’s worth noting that in past years, at least 50% of our participants have identified as female, which unfortunately is not yet the case throughout the wider film industry. Nevertheless, there is no specific quota at Berlinale Talents, especially not for countries, and quality is always the decisive factor.

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

Applications for Berlinale Talents open every year in early July and end in early September. We recommend that you subscribe to our newsletter and social media channels to be notified of the next call for entries.

How can I submit a project to the Doc Station, Script Station, Short Form Station or Talent Project Market?

Depending on your field of work, you may be eligible to submit your work to one of our four labs for project development. Directors with film or drama series projects in the script stage can apply for the Doc Station, Script Station (also open to screenwriters) or Short Form Station. Producers with fully developed film projects can apply for the Talent Project Market. Please note that you may only apply for one lab per year and that you need to complete the general application as well to be able to submit your project. If you are a Berlinale Talents alum, please log in to your existing profile to apply (under the condition that you have not previously participated in the same lab).

How can I take part in one of the Studio programmes?

The Studios – for actors, cinematographers, editors, production designers, sales agents, distributors, audience designers, sound designers and score composers – do not require an additional application. Depending on your field of work, you will automatically be able to join the respective one- or two-day workshop during the Talents week.

I am a Talents alum. Can I apply again?

As an alum, there are two ways to attend Berlinale Talents a second time. You may apply with a project for the Doc Station, Script Station, Short Form Station or Talent Project Market, provided that you did not attend the same lab before. Conversely, alums who attended a lab the first time around and now want to experience the broader programme of events can re-apply to attend the Summit and various networking opportunities.

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

Yes, as a former participant of the Talents International initiatives – in Beirut, Buenos Aires, Durban, Guadalajara, Rio de Janeiro, Sarajevo, or Tokyo – you may apply for Berlinale Talents if you fulfill our application criteria. To apply, please log in to your existing Talents profile. The application form for Berlinale Talents will become available once applications open in early July.

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

Your sample of work should be about 3 minutes long and must correspond with your first field of work in the application. It should contain a maximum of two scenes (not necessarily from the same film). Please choose a sample that can be understood without the full context of the film and that illustrates your strengths. The sample should highlight your creativity rather than a certain theme or message. 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. Please note that we do not accept showreels, trailers, teasers or commercials.

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

The sample of work must be uploaded to your application profile before the application deadline. Since our servers are usually very busy and may not be able to process your upload quickly during heavy traffic, we strongly recommend that you upload the sample when you start your application and not at the end or right before the deadline.

We recommend using 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 fulfills these specs, it will be used without any conversion for the selection process. In addition to your sample of work, you may add a link to other films and files. Please make sure that the links will remain valid until the end of December. If your clip is protected, please add the password to the corresponding field in the application form.

Which projects should I include in my online filmography?

Please include all (!) finished films and drama/web series as well as projects in development to which you have contributed or are contributing in a key crew position. You may leave out projects where you have contributed e.g. as an assistant, volunteer or intern, or that have been handled by other colleagues in a company you’re working for.

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

We believe that your talent as a creative goes beyond your films. In order to get to know you and your background better, we’d like you to share some important milestones in your education, training or film-related companies and initiatives that you’re working on or perhaps even founded. If you’re teaching film classes at a university or are active in a community cinema, these details can help the jury get a fuller picture of you. As an initiative dedicated to sustainability in four key fields – Gender Equality & Diversity; Quality Education; Peace, Justice & Understanding; and Climate Action – we hope to join forces with you once you come to Berlin. So if you’re the founder of an association for female cinematographers in your country, the inventor of a solar-powered mobile cinema, or running a social project reaching out to under-served audiences, please be certain to mention these activities in the Milestones section (“Social Projects & Engagement”) of your application. If you’re invited to Berlinale Talents, we can offer you related grants and fellowships and connect you with others who share your passion and commitment.

Are there any application or participation fees for Berlinale Talents?

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

Does Berlinale Talents offer any financial assistance to its participants?

Since inclusiveness is very important to us, Berlinale Talents and our international partners (including embassies and film institutes) offer a partial contribution towards your travel expenses. For a limited number of participants who cannot afford the accommodation costs, scholarships are offered 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 email by mid-December. Please ensure that the email address you provide on your application will still be valid at that time. If your email address changes after you have 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, can I apply again for a future 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 profile on our website.

Thank you, and good luck!