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 2021, 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 2020, 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, ‘going to Pasárgada’ by the poet Odile Kennel. 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

As the child of a German-French city partnership Odile Kennel (*1967) grew up bilingual. She now lives as a poet, novelist and translator for French, Portuguese, Spanish and English in Berlin.

Her novel Mit Blick auf See (dtv, 2017) was nominated for the Alfred Döblin Prize. The most recent publication is her poetry collection Hors Texte (Verlagshaus Berlin, 2019). The most recent translations are: Raquel Nobre Guerra: Senhor Roubado (hochroth, 2019) aswell as Angélica Freitas: Der Uterus ist groß wie eine Faust (Elif-Verlag, 2020).

Going to Pasárgada was created as a response to the short documentary film “O poeta do castelo” (literally: The Poet of the Castle) by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade (1932–1988) about the Brazilian poet Manuel Bandeira (1886–1968).

In it, Manuel Bandeira reads, among others the poem "vou-me embora para Pasárgada." Pasárgada is the imaginary, personal space of happiness, where everything is better, and there is everything you could ever wish for. (Trigger warning from the author: the poem was written in its time and contains traces of sexism).

The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival is hosted by the Haus für Poesie in cooperation with Urania Berlin.
It is sponsored by funding from the Land Berlin / the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe and from the Federal Foreign Office, and gratefully acknowledges the kind support of the Goethe-Institut, Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co KG and interfilm Berlin.

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

Eligible for entry are international films which are no more than 20 minutes in duration and were completed after 31 December 2019. 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 2021. Entries must include: film file (MP4 or MOV), a completed entry form, 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 (1.7.2021) 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 (in 2k or 4k, Flat or Scope) 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 2021 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 2021 has been confirmed by the festival. The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival will be taking place from 25 to 28 November 2021 in Berlin.

Overall Rating
  • Jim Hall

    Muffy Drake Productions/Podcast is honored that one of our FilmPoems was selected to the most prestigious Film Poetry festival in the world. The ZEBRA strives to include all voices, including ours. Thank you!

    October 2021
    Response from festival:

    Dear Jim, Thank you very much! We really appreciate it. All the best, your ZEBRA team

  • Excellent festival, very much enjoyed the selection of films curated

    August 2021
  • I gave 3 stars for hospitality and 4 for overall rating as it was virtual because of lockdown laws in Germany.

    February 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your review. We all very much hope that the festival will take place again as a real life festival in November.

  • Bettina Henningsen

    Tolles Festival, sehr gute Kommunikation und professioneller Umgang.

    February 2021
    Response from festival:

    Vielen Dank für die positive Bewertung. Wir arbeiten ständig darin, das Festival zu verbessern.

  • Mariola Brillowska

    super super super super super

    January 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you very much and best wishes!