The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival has been around since 2002. It was the first and is the largest international platform for short films based on poetry - the poetry films. Every year, it offers poets, film and festival makers from all over the world a platform for creative exchange, brainstorming and meeting with a broad audience. With a competition, film programmes, poetry readings, retrospectives, exhibitions, performances, workshops, colloquia, lectures and a children's program, it presents in various sections the diversity of the genre of poetry film.

In 2020, the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival is inviting entries for the international competition to find the best poetry films! Eligible for entry are short films produced in or after 2018, which are based on poems and are no more than 20 minutes in duration. All languages are allowed. The competition winners will be awarded prize money.

A programme committee will select films for the International Competition and for all the other festival programmes from among the entries. The winning films will be chosen by a jury comprising representatives from the worlds of poetry, film and media. ZEBRA is also inviting you to make a film interpretation of this year’s Festival Poem, ‘LETHE’ by the poet TJ Dema. The directors of the three best film interpretations will be chosen by the programme committee and invited to come to Berlin where they will have the opportunity to present their films at the festival and discuss them with the poet.

The Festival Poem may be used only for the purpose of film interpretation within the scope of this call for entries. For any other use at other festivals or on other platforms, etc. the film makers must obtain the rights from the rights holders. Text and audio of the poem can be found on

Organiser and promoter of the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival is the Haus für Poesie in co-operation with interfilm Berlin.

Eligible for entry are international films which are no more than 20 minutes in duration and were completed after 31 December 2017. All films submitted for entry must be audio-visual versions of one or more poems. All languages are allowed.

Closing date for entries is 1 July 2020. Entries must include: film file (MP4 or MOV), a completed entry form, German or English translation of the poem(s) (PDF, Word), a digital film still (JPEG or TIFF, HiRes Foto), very brief content summary of max. 200 characters incl. spaces (Log Line), biography (poet), biography and filmography (director). All texts must be provided in digital form. The film file (MP4 or MOV) must arrive at the festival for preview by no later than the closing date (1.7.2020) and will be retained for archiving. All submitted films which comply with the rules will automatically be considered for selection for the competition and the various programmes.

A programme committee will select the films for the International Competition and the competition for the film interpretation of the Festival Poem. It will also recommend to the festival directors films which could be shown in other programmes in the festival. A jury comprising representatives from the worlds of poetry, film and media will decide on the award of the principal prizes. Persons involved in the production and utilisation of any competition entry may not be members of the jury.

The festival reserves the right to show films which are longer than 20 minutes. The permitted screening format is DCP. Only the films on the screening copies which are not in English must have English subtitles.

The jury’s decision will be by simple majority. The jury’s will hold its deliberations and voting in camera and its members are obliged to secrecy.

Prize money will be given to the directors by bank transfer.

All entrants will be informed by email by 1 September 2020 of the results of the selection viewing. Please make sure that your email address is stated correctly and legibly. No enquiries will be answered about the selection process before that date. No film may be withdrawn from the competition programme once its participation from
1 September 2020 has been confirmed by the festival. The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival will be taking place from 19 to 22 November 2020 in the Kino in der KulturBrauerei
in Berlin.

Overall Rating
  • Das Festival war einfach super.

    September 2020
    Response from festival:

    Hallo Enrico Lummitsch,

    vielen Dank! Wir freuen uns sehr über Deine Bewertung und Deinen Kommentar.

    Beste Grüße

    Dein ZEBRA Team

  • Katia Sophia Ditzler

    Always a great festival, superb organization, wonderful ambiance, and a passionate festival team that loves what it does.

    August 2020
    Response from festival:

    Hello Katia,

    Thank you very much for your rating and your review.

    Best wishes

    Your ZEBRA Team

  • Betina Kuntzsch

    Great festival with poetry films!

    December 2019
    Response from festival:

    Liebe Betina,
    vielen Dank für Deine lieben Worte und die tolle Bewertung. Es war uns eine Freude, Deinen Film auf dem Festival präsentieren zu dürfen.
    Ein spätes herzliches Dankeschön!
    Dein ZEBRA-Team

  • Fiona Tinwei Lam

    I came from Vancouver, Canada as my animated short was selected for screening. The Schlosstheatre is a wonderful, comfortable old theater with good refreshments and snacks. The screenings were very diverse and interesting. Staff were helpful in booking the festival hotel and arranging rides back to our hotel from the theater. Muenster has a terrific art gallery and farmers' market, with bike paths everywhere. It's the city where the Treaty of Westphalia was signed, and where the Anapbaptists took over the government for a year during medieval times.

    October 2018
    Response from festival:

    Dear Fiona,
    thank you for your kind words and it was a pleasure screening your film. We hope to see you at our next Festival!
    Your ZEBRA Team

  • Vanessa Heeger

    Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend but my overall experience was great. It was a pleasure!

    October 2018
    Response from festival:

    Dear Vanessa,
    thank you for your kind words and it was a pleasure screening your film. We hope to see you at our next Festival!
    Your ZEBRA Team