The Berlinale, along with Cannes and Venice, counts as one of the oldest and most important competitive festivals in the world. It is also a public festival selling more than 332,000 tickets to the city’s cinephiles.

Every year, the Festival presents about 400 films, including some 100 short films, the vast majority of which are world or European premieres. The Berlinale is a very dynamic, cosmopolitan and full-service film festival with many elements that are of significant interest to the Canadian film industry and filmmakers. For 2021, adjustments in the festival structure, the film programming and the total number of invited films will be defined by the festival management as the current situation evolves.

In 2020, 18,518 visiting professionals from 132 countries — including 3,447 journalists — attended the Festival.

Festival Sections and Sidebars open to Canadian films

New Canadian films are eligible for consideration in different sections of the Berlinale, each with its own unique profile.

Official Competition

In recent years, Canada has often presented films in this prestigious section including Ghost Town Anthology (Répertoire des villes disparues) by the director Denis Côté in 2019.

In 2021, the International Jury will award prizes in a gender-neutral way. Instead of the awards for the Best Actor and the Best Actress, a “Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance” and a “Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance” shall each be awarded on a gender-neutral basis.


Encounters is new section aiming to foster aesthetically and structurally daring works from independent, innovative filmmakers. Its goal is to support new perspectives in cinema and to give more room to diverse narrative and documentary forms in the official selection.


This program strives to showcase world,international and European premieres of independent and art-house productions.

In 2017, Sylvain L’Espérance’s documentary, Combat au bout de la nuit, was selected.


Generation features filmsfor children and a young audience. No short films will be presented in 2021.

Last year, Pompeiby John Shank and Anna Falguères was presented in this section as well as many short films.


Forum presents films that beat a new, unconventional path in filmmaking.

Berlinale Shorts

The Short Film Competition proposes an eclectic selection that explores the trends of the genre.

The Spirit Keepers of Makuta'ayby Yen-Chao Linwas selected in this section in 2019 as well as The Crying Conch (Le cri du lambi)by Vincent Toi in 2017.

Berlinale Special and Gala Special

The festival honours great cinema personalities and immerses audiences in cinematic history with these two programmes.

In 2017, Maudie by Aisling Walsh was selected in Berlinale Special. In 2019, Jennifer Baichwal & Edward Burtynsky were invited to present Anthropocene in this section and in 2020 Philippe Falardeau presented My Salinger Year.