05. - 12.06.24           De

Rules & Terms



The International Filmfest Emden-Norderney is an independent film festival primarily for European feature, documentary and short films, with a program focussing on north-western European and German language productions / co-productions.

The Festival intends to promote the interest in European film culture, and in particular to, increase mutual understanding and cooperation not only at European, but also at national and regional level through the screening of strongly committed contributions on social, political and cultural topics. Set against this background the International Filmfest Emden-Norderney also wishes to present audio-visual productions that adequately reflect Lower Saxony both as a region and as a media location.

The selection of films for the official program takes place after being previewed by a selection committee. The subsequent decision on an invitation and the allocation to a section of the program is made by the respective section management in accordance with the Festival management, who also decides on screening dates.



The Festival program is centered around competitions for European, and in particular north-western European and German-language feature, documentary and short films. To be eligible for a nomination the film should have significant involvement of at least one country of the north-western European territory such as

United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Austria, Switzerland, Germany.

As the International Filmfest Emden-Norderney sees itself as an audience festival, the film competitions - except for the Creative Energy Film Prize and the Norderney Angel - Integration Prize of the Island of Norderney (jury prizes) - are all decided by audience vote.

Non German-language competition films are screened in their original language(s) with German subtitles. In exceptional cases the screening of a German dubbed version or a version with English subtitles may be permissible.

A total of approximately 20 films are included in the competition section for feature films (minimum length 65 min.). Competition invitations and nominations for individual film awards are carried out by the Festival management. Films may be nominated for a maximum of two out of four audience award competitions. A nomination for the Creative Energy Jury Award is not affected.

The competition films for the East Friesian Short Film Award and the Engelke Short Film Award are grouped together to form a film program of adequate length. Invitations are decided on by the management of the short film section.

Competition films are rated by the audience with the aid of voting cards. The voting cards in the feature film competitions contain information about the nominations.


All film awards decided on by the audiences are presented to the directors of the winning entries. In exceptional cases the Festival management may decide on a different recipient.

2.2.1. SCORE Bernhard Wicki Award – International Main Competition

The annual SCORE Bernhard Wicki Award is our main international competition for extraordinary feature films from mainly north-western European and German-speaking countries and is decided on by audience vote. The award goes to the top three feature films with the highest audience rating in the competition. The award itself was named after the great director Bernhard Wicki (1919-2000). With this award the Festival honours his services to German filmmaking as well as to the development of the Emden Film Festival in the years 1990 to 1999.

The SCORE Bernhard Wicki Award has a purse of € 15,000 (1st prize € 10,000, 2nd prize € 3,000, 3rd prize € 2,000) provided by SCORE Tankstellen- und Mineralöl GmbH Emden.

2.2.2. Special Awards

The Festival management can nominate competition films for special awards if the applicable criteria are fulfilled. The special awards are:

DGB Film Award
for a feature or documentary film displaying an exceptional level of social commitment. This includes topics such as work, equality, migration and integration, health, protection or other serious social problem scenarios. The DGB Film Award has a purse of € 7,000 provided by the Lower Saxony regional organization of the German Trade Union Federation DGB.

Focus Future Award
for an international feature or documentary film that deals in a special way with future-oriented problem scenarios, visions and utopias and stimulates discussion about the shaping of the future. The prize money of € 5.000,00 goes to the director of the film nominated by the festival for the Focus Future Award, which receives the highest rating by the audience during the competition screenings. The prize is provided by the Ökorenta Group, Aurich.

NDR Newcomer Award
for a first or second full-length feature film by a German-language director. Previous documentaries or short films are not taken into consideration. The NDR Newcomer Award has a purse of € 5,000 provided by the NDR – Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Landesfunkhaus Lower Saxony.

2.2.3. Short Film Awards

The Festival conducts the following competitions in the short film section:

East Frisian Short Film Award
This award goes to the short films voted most popular among the productions nominated for this competition. The East Friesian Short Film Award has a purse of € 4,000 (1st prize € 2,500, 2nd prize € 1,000, 3rd prize € 500) provided by VGH Versicherungen, Regionaldirektion Emden.

Engelke Short Film Award
This is an award for the best short film from the perspective of a young audience. The nomination of the short films for the Engelke Film Award is conducted by an independent preview and nomination commission called by the section management and made up of school students, apprentices and young adults. The Engelke Short Film Award has a purse of € 2,500 provided by the Sparkasse Emden.

2.2.4. Emden Screenplay Award

The competition for the Emden Screenplay Award is open to previously unfilmed German-language feature film screenplays. Nominations and prize winners are decided by a jury called in collaboration with the Grimme-Institut, Marl. Special regulations apply to the competition for the Emden Screenplay Award. The Award itself has a purse of € 12,000 (prize winner: € 10,000; nominees: € 1,000) provided by the logistics company Seehafenspedition Jakob Weets, Emden.

2.2.5. Emden Actor’s Award

Every year the International Filmfest Emden-Norderney presents the Emden Actor’s Award in recognition of an outstanding and distinguished actress/actor from German, German-language or north-western European film. The Festival also organises a special series of up to five representative films starring the honoured artist. The Emden Actor’s Award has a purse of € 5,000, provided by the Dirks Group Emden.

2.2.6. A Writer’s Workplace by the Sea

The island of Norderney annually awards a one-week stay on the island in a luxury apartment to one of the festival's film guests for material and project development. The award intends to acknowledge an outstanding achievement of a younger German-language film maker in competition.

A festival-internal jury consisting of representatives from the festival management, the festival location Norderney and the management of the German Series and the Short Film Section decides on the awarding of prizes. Presence at the film festival is a prerequisite for the award of the prize. No application possible.

2.2.7. The Norderney Angel - Integration Award of the Island of Norderney

The “Norderney Angel” - Integration Award of the Island of Norderney is endowed with € 5,000.00 and awarded by Staatsbad Norderney GmbH to a film production that convinces in terms of content and quality in the thematic area of xenophobia, exclusion, racism and intolerance. The Award appreciates films that contributes to a more complex view and a more differentiated opinion and engage for integration, diversity and the coexistence of people of different cultures or religions. A selection committee proposes three German-language films for the integration prize. An independent expert jury, appointed by Staatsbad Norderney and the festival management, can supplement this selection with their own suggestions.

Film proposals can be submitted by the film and television industry, the festival management and the jury. The minimum length is 65 minutes and the total length must not exceed 180 minutes. The film or series should be completed no earlier than July 2023.

A theatrical release in Germany or a broadcast by a German TV station prior to the current festival date is irrelevant for a nomination. An additional nomination for another festival competition is possible if the admission requirements are met.


In addition to the films in competition, the festival also presents

  • special series on countries, subjects and outstanding personalities in film
  • highlights from the European film industry,
  • highlights of World Cinema,
  • films for children and families
  • diverse programs of short films related to specific subjects, individuals or regions.



The nomination of all films for the individual competitions is subject to the Festival management.

4.1.1. Nomination Restrictions

Films participating in more than one competition in other German film festivals as well as films not intended for cinema distribution cannot be nominated for the Bernhard Wicki Award. Only feature films may be nominated for the SCORE Bernhard Wicki Award, the NDR Newcomer Award as well as the Creative Energy Award. Documentary films can be nominated for the DGB Film Award and the Integration Award of the Island of Norderney “The Norderney Angel”.

4.1.2. Minimum Length

Films will be taken into consideration from a minimum length of 65 minutes in total.

4.1.3. Completion and Theatrical Release

International and German premieres receive preferential consideration. If the German premiere does not take place within the framework of the festival, it must not have taken place before the preceding Film Festival. Theatrical release in Germany or transmission in German television should not have taken place before the start of the Festival. The Festival management reserves the right to grant exemptions to this rule in special cases.

4.1.4. Formats

Admissible formats for feature film competitions are: DCP, Blu-ray. Permission for the use of other formats must be explicitly granted.


The nomination of short films for the competition for the East Friesian Short Film Award is the prerogative of the management of the short film section. The section management calls a nomination committee comprised of school students, apprentices and young adults in accordance with the Festival management.

International and German premieres receive preferential consideration. If the German premiere does not take place within the framework of the festival, it must not have taken place before the preceding Film Festival.

4.2.1. Minimum Length

As a rule, the short films should be no longer than 15 minutes (for the East Friesian Short Film Award) or no longer than 30 minutes (for the Engelke Short Film Award). Exceptions may be granted to this rule in the case of films marginally longer than stipulated. Such exceptions can only be granted by the section management in consultation with the Festival management.

4.2.2. Formats

Admissible formats for short film competitions are: DCP, Blu-ray. Permission for the use of other formats must be explicitly granted.


4.3.1. Subtitles

German subtitles are required for a film in competition. If such subtitles don’t exist, the Festival may offer to contribute towards the production cost. The Festival will forward any subtitles produced within this context to the production company or distributor for their further marketing measures in order to help promote the film in the German-speaking territories.

4.3.2. Determination of Award Winners

The award winners in the competitions for the SCORE Bernhard Wicki Award, the DGB Film Award, the NDR Newcomer Award, the AOK Film Award and the short film awards are determined via voting cards submitted by the audience. The voting cards enable audience members to rate a film (1 to 5 stars) and are collected at the end of the screening.

The ratings on the valid voting cards are totalled for each competition film (not for each screening) and divided by the total number of voting cards submitted, resulting in an average rating that is independent of audience numbers and comparable with all other competition films.

The film awards go to the directors of the nominated films with the highest average audience rating.

4.3.3. Presence of Filmmakers

The Festival management expects the director(s) from films in competition, or an adequate representative from the film’s staff, to attend at least one film screening as well as the Awards Ceremony, the latter being a binding requirement. Costs for travelling and accommodation within Europe will be covered by the Festival.

4.3.4. No Legal Claim

The awarding of Festival film awards is not open to any legal claim. No claims can be derived from the regulations in paragraphs 657-661 of the German Civil Code (BGB). No legal right of appeal exists.



All film submissions require a completed entry form, to be found online on our website (www.filmfest-emden.de), along with a screening link (please make sure the link is valid until the end of the festival) or a preview copy (DVD/BluRay). Films with incomplete registration forms will not be taken into further consideration.

After a film has received an invitation the following material have to be submitted: a brief synopsis, photo and short biography & filmography of the director as well as high-resolution film stills and – if available – press material and/or a director’s statement.

For films in competition the festival will also require additional preview copies/screening links for internal festival preparation purposes (Q&A, talks). Permission to pass on the copy/link to the festival staff involved is regarded as given with the registration of the film.

Once a film is invited into a competition, the festival, furthermore, needs to be provided with a representative film excerpt of approximately 30 seconds length to be used in the context of the festival.


In the case of possible further rights owners, producers, distributors or other organisations or persons who register a film explicitly confirm that such persons have also agreed to the film's participation in the festival.

For competition entries that receive an award, the screening right for an additional screening (short films) respectively an excerpt of approximately 45 seconds (feature-length films) at the Gala Awards Ceremony is regarded as being given on submission of the film. Award winning films also require the consent for up to two additional repetitions within the festival programme in order to present them as the prize winners.


The submission deadline for registration forms and film entries is March 15th, 2024. Promotional material (e.g. posters, flyer) should only be sent once the film has been accepted and officially invited to the festival.


In view of the large number of submissions, registration documents cannot be returned. All submitted documentation and preview copies will be destroyed six months after the Festival has ended. A preview copy of each film that has won an award will remain in the Festival’s archive.


Submitters of films not considered for this year’s program will normally be notified at the latest 3 weeks prior to the start of the Festival by email.  



If no other explicit arrangements have been made, the submitter will bear the costs for transportation of the screening copy to the Festival. For its part, the Festival will bear the costs for the return of the film copy. Individual arrangements must be made in writing if copies need to be forwarded to other festivals, particularly overseas. Postal packages from countries outside of the European Union must display the following notice:



 All copies and promotional material should be sent by May 25th, 2024 to the following address:

Filmfest Emden gGmbH – Festival Office –

An der Berufsschule 3, D-26721 Emden, GERMANY

Screening copies of invited films and any necessary keys (KDM) should arrive 10 days prior to the start of the festival. An adequate time for testing must be ensured.

The screening copy will be returned within two weeks after the end of the festival.


Films are insured to the value of their copies for the entire period of the Festival. Insurance cover includes the period from receipt of the copy to its return to the sender or to the return address as stated in the registration details. The Festival must be notified in writing of any damages to the copy that may have occurred during the Festival within 14 days of its return.


The Festival management reserves the right to decide on all cases not included within these regulations on an individual basis as well as to grant exemptions in special and well-founded cases.

These regulations exist in English and German versions. In case of doubt, the German-language version applies.


The registration of a film automatically implies recognition of these regulations.

Jan 2024
(all rights reserved)