“One of the World's Leading Indie Film Fests” - The Hollywood Reporter, 2021

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 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

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 30th Oldenburg International Film Festival takes place from September 13-17, 2023.

There are three submission deadlines:
Earlybird: Friday 31 March 2023
Regular: Friday 26 May 2023
Late: Friday 16 June 2023
*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 18locarno, 2023, 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.

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, 2023.

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
  • Ellie Foumbi

    One of the best festival experiences of my life!

    October 2022
  • Tiernan Williams

    I've been to a few festivals to say the least all over the world. As an independent filmmaker, I have to say thank God there is a Torsten and Deborah in the film industry. This festival is the best one I have ever been to, hands down. I mean it's beyond description how professional it is and the way they treat filmmakers is incredible. I'm proud to say that without any questions all of our World Premieres for our up and coming projects will hopefully be in Oldenburg. I simply can not recommend this festival enough. It's run by a team of film lovers who reminds you why it's so important to follow your passion. This is a REAL filmmakers festival and in my opinion the most important one on the circuit too, in so many ways. Thank you Team Oldenburg and keep up the unreal work you are all doing❤️

    September 2022
  • The festival was amazing! From communication with guests to selected program, with all filmmakers events. Every screening was a pleasure. I`m so glad I could visit it this year and hoping I`ll go back the next one.

    September 2022
  • Scott Monahan

    I left my heart in Oldenburg in September of 2021. From the moment you land till the moment you leave you are met with warmth, open hearts, and care. The people of Oldenburg are some of the loveliest people I have met, the staff of the festival was so incredibly warm and welcoming, and you are treated like Hollywood royalty whether you are there for your first project or there for a retrospective of an entire career.

    This is truly an independent film festival run by a festival director who embraces you, opens up this city and festival that he loves so much to you, and lets you be free to be whoever you are. To put it simply, there was life before Oldenburg, and there is now my life after. I have made lifelong friends, connections, and found a film festival to call home.

    Scott Monahan
    Director of Anchorage
    Winner of the 2021 German Independence Award for Best Film.
    Dakota Loesch won the 2021 Seymour Cassel Award for Best Actor.

    January 2022
  • Great festival, with people who know how to party! Fantastic theater where the award ceremony took place. Highly recommended.

    October 2021