Established in 2003, Berlinale Talents is the festival’s talent development programme for the world’s top 200 emerging filmmakers, drama series creators and key players of the cinema industry. It consists of a creative Summit with talks and films; Talents Labs with workshops and mentorship tailored to specific disciplines; and a Think-Tank with 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.
Every year in February, Berlin becomes the home for filmmakers and industry representatives alike who attend the Berlinale programme sections and the European Film Market to present their latest work. With links to both the business and artistic components of the festival, the Summit of Berlinale Talents is a six-day onsite event in presence of everyone invited (2023: 18-23 Feb).
The project development labs are composed of two steps: the group meetings and individual mentorship sessions take place online prior to the festival period, in late January. During the Berlinale, the lab participants also attend the Berlinale Talents Summit and present their projects at the European Film Market.
Since networking is a key component of Berlinale Talents in general, all other participants will also begin to get to know each other in January during some shorter online encounters.
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 at least one feature-length film OR two short films OR a high-quality drama series or TV movie that have screened in festivals or been widely streamed. 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 be publishing film-related articles, interviews or essays on a regular and professional basis.
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 under "Who can apply?". Nevertheless, there are several soft factors in the selection committee’s work. Their decision will take 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.
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 and creativity are always the most convincing arguments.
Applications for Berlinale Talents 2023 open on July 4 and end on September 1. We recommend that you subscribe to our newsletter and social media channels to be notified of the next call for entries.
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 at script level may apply for Doc Station, Script Station (also: screenwriters), or Short Form Station (also: VR, XR and crossmedia projects); producers with fully developed feature-length film projects may 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 alumna/alumnus, please log in to your existing profile to apply (under the condition that you have not previously participated in the same lab).
As much as Berlinale Talents supports collaborative processes in general, an application for the Labs or the Summit as a duo is not possible. The simple reason is that with only 10 seats available per Lab, but hundreds of applicants, we’d like to give as many different projects and participants the chance to attend. Though it is technically possible, we also recommend to refrain from two individual Lab applications with the same project. However, your co-writer or -director is of course most welcome to try the general application for the Summit in parallel. In that case, the application would be considered individually and carefully by our main committee.
The Studios for actors, cinematographers, editors, production designers, digital set designers, sales agents, distributors, audience designers, sound designers and score composers do not require an additional application. Depending on the field of work you apply with, you will automatically become part of the corresponding one or two-day workshops during the Talents week.
As an alumna/alumnus there are two options 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, given that you did not attend the same lab before. Vice versa, former attendees who first came to Berlin for a Lab and now want to experience more of the general Berlinale Talents programme, can also re-apply again and attend the Summit and various networking opportunities.
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 login to your existing Talents profile. The application form for Berlinale Talents will be available once the application opens by beginning of July.
If you have previously started or made an application with a 1st or 2nd field of work (e.g. director, producer ...) you now like to change, please write an email including a short explanation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Talent Admin will adjust your database entry accordingly.
The 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 is understandable without the full context of the film and that proves what you are capable of. 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. We do not accept showreels, trailers, teasers or commercials.
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 in short time, we strongly recommend to upload the sample at the beginning and NOT as the last step of your application process or shortly before the deadline. 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 sample of work, you may add a link to other films and files. Please make sure that the links remain valid until end of December. If your clip is protected, please add the password to the corresponding field in the application form.
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 to which you have only contributed e.g. as an assistant, volunteer, intern or that have been handled by other colleagues in a company you are working for.
As a creative, your talent is certainly not only to be found in your films. In order to get to know you and your background a bit better, we’d also love you to share some important milestones of your educational training and the film related companies and initiatives 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, this information helps 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 too. Once invited to Berlinale Talents, we can offer related grants and fellowships and connect you with others who share your commitments.
The Talents Reflections are an integral part of the Summit programme and selection is not an additional process. If you apply as a director, screenwriter or producer to Berlinale Talents, you can be considered. To express your interest, please pick one of your projects in development and answer two related questions; additional material is not needed. We'll choose around 10-15 people and will inform you along with the general invitation. Participants of the Talents Labs cannot attend the Reflections.
Working on a project can become stuckin' complicated sometimes. This goes in particular for work born during the pandemic when there were generally less opportunities to move things forward, but can also be down to individual doubts about one's creative decisions or other very practical choices to make in story and project development.
With the Talents Reflections, we invite you test and trust the power of the many and benefit from the solution-finding that can only emerge in collective environments like Berlinale Talents. Different from traditional mentorships, no one will read your script or budget plan and there's no pitch. The Reflections follow the principles of collegial advice, and as one of the chosen participants you simply present a well-articulated problem and then listen to the other Talents’ hypothesis on how they would solve what seems to be your unsolvable challenge. With a rapid changing of perspective to include these new opinions (and likewise offering your point of views on other Talents' tasks) our goal is to draw the bigger picture together, enabling you and everyone else to “unstuck” your work yourself.
There's no participation fee for Berlinale Talents. If invited, you will have to cover your accommodation and your travel costs as well as daily expenditures during your stay in Berlin. Several regional film institutes and foundations around the globe offer support schemes for participants of Berlinale Talents. In hardship cases, a number of Talents can also apply for our travel grants.
Berlinale Talents is an initiative funded by public entities, partners from the industry and its own communities. So that we can continue to offer our services, all applicants contribute a service fee as part of their first application. Since we'd like to encourage you to try again if your first application is not successful or if you want to join our Talents Labs as an alumni, your initial fee automatically includes a second application round if it falls within the following five years.
There are three rates for the application Service fee: the Standard Rate of 20 Euro, the Solidarity Rate of 25 Euro or more, and the Reduced Rate of 10 Euro.
Why three rates? The Standard rate covers our costs. Those who can afford a little extra have the opportunity to pay a Solidarity Rate, which in turn covers some of the costs of those under more financial strain, allowing those applicants to pay the Reduced Rate. At Berlinale Talents, our entire ethos is based on supporting one another in whatever way we can, and this is one more practical way for you to do so. The decision of what rate you pay has no influence on your chance of being selected and is entirely yours, no proof of income required.
The payment of the Service Fee is incorporated into the application process. It is the final step, carried out directly before you submit your application. You can currently choose between Mastercard, VISA and American Express as your payment method. In case credit card payment is restricted in your country or you face other problems with the system, please reach out early enough before the deadline to the Talent Administration via email@example.com for help.
We aim to notify all applicants of the outcome of their application by mid-December.
Yes, you may apply again for a later edition. We encourage you to do so as your initial service fee automatically covers your second application if it falls within the following five years. Please note that old application profiles will be deleted after a five year period. If you decide to apply again after that time, please create a new application profile on our website.
Got more questions? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org