“One of the World's Leading Indie Film Fests” - 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, William Friedkin, Ovidio Assonitis, and Peter & John Hyams 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, Matthew Modine, Sean Baker, Andrea Rau, Mattie Do, Noémie Merlant, Jen Gatien & Isild Le Besco 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 Short Film
German Independence Award - Originality, Daring, and Audacity
German Independence Award - Spirit of Cinema
Seymour Cassel Award - Outstanding Performance
Hans Ohlms Award - Best First Feature

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 31th Oldenburg International Film Festival takes place from September 11-15, 2024.

There are three submission deadlines:
Earlybird: Friday 29 March 2024
Regular: Friday 24 May 2024
Late: Friday 14 June 2024
*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 23, 2024, 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, H264 file 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 – Originality, Daring, and Audacity"
The award is decided by an international jury of film professionals appointed by the Advisory Board and Festival Director.

The "German Independence Award – Spirit of Cinema"
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.

The "Hans Olhms Award - Best First Feature"
Inaugurated in 2023, all first feature films are nominated for the award. The award is decided by an international jury of film professionals appointed by the Festival Director and the Board of Directors of the Hans Ohlms Foundation.

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 21, 2024.

The Festival agrees to cover the cost of shipping and insuring prints/hard drives in both directions. The exceptions are shipment to or from other festivals, in which case standard practice of cost sharing will apply. All prints/hard drives 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/hard drive, the obligation of the Festival is limited to compensating the producer or distributor only to the cost of making a new print. Prints/Hard drives 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
  • I went to Oldenburg for the World Premiere of my second feature film "Whenever I'm Alone With You" co directed with Vesper Egon. We felt like rockstars for 5 days. People laughed, cried, applauded...It was insane. Thank you Torsten and Deborah and Doug and Kaija and Clara and RP and Kristina and Nico and Clara and Buddy and and and and and and and.....

    October 2023
  • liel simon

    I got invited last moment, all communication went through mail. After they receive my DCP they haven’t answered any of my emails. I wasn’t let know about any option of travel or stay package for filmmakers and I wasn’t tagged or mentioned on any post. I have no idea how my screening was but I can only say it would have been nice to have more communication with the festival.

    September 2023
  • Robbie Bryan

    Been to this incredible event 3 times and it's become home away from home. The communication, Torsten and Deborah's true, passionate love of film and filmmakers make it an experience to die for. Great talent, gorgeous venues, both for screening and for filmmaker events. I couldn't recommend it more.

    September 2023

    It’s very hard to imagine a more wonderful festival experience. The curation is superb and original, the filmmaker events are intimate, inclusive, stylish and entirely unpretentious. The audience is fully engaged and curious to discover fresh indie cinema and the respect the festival has earned with the media over 30 years of consistently championing exciting, bold, relevant and often times under the radar films and talent has deservedly placed the film amongst the top film festivals in the world. I would say to any indie filmmaker “Aspire to Oldenburg!”

    September 2023
  • Ellie Foumbi

    One of the best festival experiences of my life!

    October 2022