The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival is a project of the Haus für Poesie and 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 general, short films tell short stories or surprise us with experimental images and sounds. Poetry films, however, deal content-, aesthetic-, and form-wise, with poems. Because of their high mediality, poetry is a cross-section of art, which the film makes use of in order to create trans-media art. The genre-overarching and public-appealing form of poetry film excellently presents the diversity of poetry.

The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival is organised by the Haus für Poesie in cooperation with the Kino in der KulturBrauerei. Funded by the State of Berlin /Senate Administration for Culture and Europe and with the kind support of the Goethe-Institut, Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG and interfilm Berlin.

In 2023, the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival is inviting entries for the International Poetry Film Competition! Eligible for entry are short films, based on poems of no more than 15 minutes duration, produced in or after 2022. All languages are allowed. The competition winners will be awarded prize money. A program committee will select films for the International Competition and for all other festival programs. The winning films will be chosen by a jury composed of representatives from the worlds of poetry, film, and media.

1. Organiser and promoter of the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival is the Haus für Poesie.

2. Eligible for entry are international films which are no more than 15 minutes in duration and were produced in or after 2022. All films submitted for entry must be audio-visual versions of one or more poems. All languages are allowed.

3. Closing date for entries is 1 June 2023. Entries must include: film file (MP4 or MOV), German or English translation of the poem(s) with indication of the source, published by title and publisher and, if available, the name of the translator(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. Pay attention to the exact formatting of poems (upper/lower case, stanzas, line breaks etc.) The film file (MP4 or MOV) must arrive at the festival for preview by no later than the closing date (01.06.2023) 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 programs.

4. A program committee will select the films for the International Competition and recommend to the festival director films which could be shown in other programs 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.

5. The festival reserves the right to show films which are longer than 15 minutes. The permitted screening format is (in 2k or 4k, Flat or Scope) DCP. Only the films on the screening copies must have English subtitles.

6. 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.

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

8. All entrants will be informed by email by 1 September 2023 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 program once its participation from 1 September 2023 has been confirmed by the festival.

Overall Rating
  • Pierre Guiho

    Very proud of been part of this beautiful festival. Unfortinately, I was not able to be in Berlin, but my film was !

    December 2022
  • Beate Gördes

    Wonderful festival, organised with love and passion, with an impressive selection of international contemporary poetry films. High professional!

    November 2022
  • Leendert Pot

    It's a great small festival! Check it out.

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you very much!

  • Nicolas Monfort

    Nice festival ! Excellent Q&A after the screening, very thoughtful and relevant questions, very silly answers. Yay ! Thank you !

    November 2022
  • Marco Espirito Santo

    Super proud to have screened our short "Together" at the Zebra Poetry FF! Well organized and with a friendly and dedicated team, the festival is at the very front line of poetry films in the world. Definitely recommend it.

    November 2022