“The Biggest Little Fest In Europe” - The Hollywood Reporter

Rated among the top 5 Film Festivals worldwide for Independent Films by American film critic Chris Gore in his esteemed “Ultimate Film Festival Guide”, and ranked “Top 25 Coolest Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker, Oldenburg has fostered its success with a strong commitment to innovative and Independent filmmaking.

“If there's anything that could be considered the Promised Land of Independent Cinema in Europe today, it is Oldenburg.” - Accred - L'actualité des festivals de cinéma

Labelled ‘the German Sundance’ by Variety, Hollywood Reporter, and Screen International, amongst others, Oldenburg has evolved while preserving its intimate atmosphere and founding purpose: to celebrate and support the diverse voices and visions of independent filmmakers, to honor the creativity of the artists upon which the Festival depends, and to create a unique experience and inspiring meeting place for filmmakers, audiences, and media professionals.

“Oldenburg - renown for its determination, cinephilia, and openness for the extremes - impresses with its brilliant programming.” - GRIP

Additionally, in an effort to raise awareness and build bridges between worlds through the common language of film, Oldenburg is the only Film Festival in the world that annually screens part of its regular program to incarcerated individuals who share the experience with members of the general public in an actual high-security Prison environment, known as ‘The Alcatraz of the North’.

“Oldenburg thrives as a discovery channel.” - Screen International

In addition to supporting the discovery of new artists, Oldenburg has hosted the German Premieres of films by such acclaimed filmmakers as Darren Aronofsky, Brian De Palma, Steven Soderbergh, Michael Polish, Johnnie To, Chan-wook Park, Monte Hellmann, & Takeshi Kitano amongst others. Guests of honor have included Jim McBride, Larry Clark, Philippe de Broca, Andrzej Zulawski, Ken Russell, Jerry Schatzberg, James Toback, Radley Metzger, Ted Kotcheff, Phedon Papmichael, George Armitage, Christophe Honoré, Edward R. Pressman, & Bruce Robinson who have all attended the festival for Retrospectives of their work.

“Just as impressive as the films was the festival itself, which, under the inspired direction of Torsten Neumann, combined intelligent cinephilia with a laid-back atmosphere of democratic equality.” - Sight and Sound

Nicolas Cage, Seymour Cassel, Asia Argento, Keira Knightley, Deborah Kara Unger, Mira Sorvino, Bobcat Goldthwait, Michael Wadleigh, Joanna Cassidy, Luke Wilson, Ben Gazzara, Stacy Keach, Amanda Plummer, Keith Carradine, Sean Baker, & Matthew Modine are amongst many who have attended as honored guests or for Tributes in their honor.

“Alongside Venice and Toronto, Oldenburg is considered one of the most important Autumn Festivals for Independent Cinema” - de Telegraaf

Rated #1 in Germany on The Most Important Autumn Film Festivals List for and by the German Film Industry (Blickpunkt Film), and #3 internationally after Venice & TIFF, Oldenburg is regarded as “one of the most important European festivals for independent cinema" (Tagesschau).

“Oldenburg is a pilgrimage for cineastes.”- Die Zeit

German Independence Award - Best Film
German Independence Award - Best First Film
German Independence Award - Originality, Daring, and Audacity
Seymour Cassel Award - Outstanding Performance
German Independence Award - Best Short Film

1. General Information

The Oldenburg International Film Festival is a non-competitive film festival, curated to provide a platform for unique discoveries and the bold and innovative works of both established and emerging filmmakers worldwide. With a tradition of covering film in all its aspects, feature films, short films and documentaries of all origins are embraced.

2. Key Dates and Submission Deadlines

The 28th Oldenburg International Film Festival takes place from September 15-19, 2021.

There are three submission deadlines:
Earlybird: Friday 02 April 2021
Regular: Friday 28 May 2021
Late: Friday 18 June 2021
*Please note – submission fees are non-refundable

3. Festival Sections

Festival sections include the following categories:
Independent, International, Midnite Xpress, Shorts, Retrospective, Tribute.

4. Selection of Films and Notification

The Oldenburg International Film Festival selection committee decides which films will participate in the Festival. The committee's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Selected films will be notified by August 15, 2021, approximately.

5. Film Length

Submitted short films should not be longer than 49 minutes; submitted feature films must be longer than 49 minutes.

6. Screening Format

For screening purposes DCP, Blu-ray, ProRes all PAL European standard.

7. Entry and Eligibility

At the time of entry (if not submitted via FilmFreeway) a preview DVD (PAL or NTSC) should be sent at the sender's expense to:
Oldenburg International Film Festival
Lange Strasse 53
26122 Oldenburg
or via a secure link to: submissions@filmfest-oldenburg.de

Along with the screener we welcome you to send us the following material:
* a detailed synopsis of the film
* the biography, filmography and a recent photo of the director
* photographs or transparencies of the film
* press materials and posters
* a listing of participation and awards received at any other film festivals.

The Festival is not responsible for returning support material and DVDs.

To be eligible for consideration, submissions must meet the following requirements:

* All films must be available in German, English or with English subtitles if not in German or English.

* Films must NOT have been (or will not be) broadcast on television or publicly distributed or made available online in Germany before the Festival dates.

8. Awards

The "German Independence Award – Best Film"
All films selected for the Independent section are nominated for the award. The award is voted for by cinemagoers attending public screenings.

The "German Independence Award – Best First Film"
Eligible are all first Feature Films in the Festival program. The award is decided by an international jury of film professionals appointed by the Advisory Board and Festival Director.

The "German Independence Award – Originality, Daring, and Audacity"
All films selected for the Midnite Xpress section are nominated for the award. The award is decided by an international jury of film professionals appointed by the Advisory Board and Festival Director.

The “Seymour Cassel Award- Outstanding Performance ”
Named in homage to indie icon and longtime Festival friend and supporter, Seymour Cassel, the award honors a Female and Male actor for ‘Outstanding Performance’. All performances by artists in films selected for competition in the Independent Section are eligible for nomination. The awards are decided by an international jury of film professionals appointed by the Advisory Board and Festival Director.

The "German Independence Award – Best Short Film"
All films selected for the Short Film section are nominated for the award. The award is decided by a jury of film professionals appointed by the Festival Director.

Note: Winners of the above awards consent to include the logo of the Festival and corresponding award laurels when advertising the film (i.e) on posters and in advertisements.

9. Shipping – for selected films only

If selected, the exhibition copy of your film must be available for shipment from August 18, 2021.

The Festival agrees to cover the cost of shipping and insuring prints in both directions. The exceptions are shipment to or from other festivals, in which case standard practice of cost sharing will apply. All prints will be returned to the address indicated by the sender within three weeks of the last day of the Festival.

10. Liability

In case of loss or damage to a print, the obligation of the Festival is limited to compensating the producer or distributor only to the cost of making a new print. Prints are fully insured during the period of possession by the Oldenburg International Film Festival, normal wear and tear excepted.

The Festival Director has the right to rule on all cases not foreseen by these regulations as well as allowing for exceptions. By submitting the entry form the assigned accepts these regulations.

Overall Rating
  • Great festival, with people who know how to party! Fantastic theater where the award ceremony took place. Highly recommended.

    October 2021
  • Myat Noe

    WOW! Real Indie film festival of Europe indeed. Unpretentious, caters to both audience and filmmakers. I am glad and honored to represent my short "Almost Love" and Seymour Cassel Award for Best Performance winner "What Happened to the Wolf" in their world premiere. The PR team, Guest Relation team, Tech, Administrative made all of us feel welcome in a casual, free, relaxed manner. Networking is superb as well. Hospitality flawless!

    September 2021
  • Somtow Sucharitkul

    This festival was a life changer for all of us who participated. Thank you many many times over.

    September 2021
  • Oldenburg is a remarkable festival. I hope to do it again.

    September 2020
  • Absolute amazing festival team. … They spend so much time and effort to host us, present us, connect us and our movie "Adamstown" with the audience, press and folks from the industry. … From transportation to accommodation we were welll supported. Also parties and networking events have been a nice. … It also helped, that they selected not only great movies but also nice filmmakers. :)

    September 2019