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Braunschweig International Film Festival (BIFF) is an annual audience festival focusing on young European cinema and film music.

BIFF’s 34th edition (2-8 November 2020) consists of the long-time successful core programmes and of side sections reflecting current topics. The festival will comprise about 100 features, 160 shorts (incl. video art ), six film music concerts, talks and an industry programme and plans to reach more than 28.000 in admissions with its over 200 events. Its 33rd in 2019 welcomed an of 27.500 visitors and 330 professionals.

Year-round film and film education activities and cooperation with regional and European partners serve to keep up the awareness between the festival editions. Cooperation with European festivals (eg. Lodz, Aubagne, Wroclaw, Gent, Barcelona, Quinzaine) and European Institutions (e.g. European Film Academy, Eye Film Institute, Icelandic Film Institute, Czech Film Center, Lithuanian Film Center, Flanders Image, The British Film Institute) and associations (FERA, ECSA) position BIFF in the industry calendar.

Nine Awards – 53.500 Euros

1. DIE EUROPA for outstanding performance of an European actress/actor · 20.000 Euro (festival award)
2. DER HEINRICH for best director of a first/second European feature film · 10.000 Euro (audience award)
3. VOLKSWAGEN FINANCIAL SERVICES FILM AWARD for best director of a first/second European feature film · 10.000 Euro (jury award)
4. DIE THILDA for best female director · 5.000 Euro (jury award, funded by the audience)
5. BRAUNSCHWEIGER FILM PRIZE for best German speaking newcomer actor/actress · 3.000 Euro (jury award)
6. GREEN HORIZONS AWARD for best film on sustainability · 2.500 Euro (jury award)
7. KINEMA for best first/second French-German feature · 2.000 Euro (French-German youth jury award)
8. HOME MATCH AWARD for best feature film related to the region of Braunschweig · 1.000 Euro (jury award)
9. WHITE LION - Lifetime Achievement Award for a European film composer · not endowed


DIE EUROPA · Retrospective
8 feature films. Award for an European actress or actor for his/her excellent acting and outstanding contribution to European film culture. Prize money: 20.000€ combined with an homage/retrospective and an interview with a journalist as well as the audience.

DER HEINRICH · Competition for European First and Second Features
10 feature films. Audience award, German premieres by European newcomer directors. Screenings with German subtitles produced by BIFF in the presence of the directors and/or cast.

  • Der Heinrich Prize money: €10,000 to be shared between director and German distributor.
  • Volkswagen Financial Services Film Award Prize money: €10,000 for the director.

Programming is focused on presenting films by a wide variety of European countries. Every year this competition contains a max. of 1 German and 2 French speaking films which are at the same time part of the KINEMA competition. 6-7 films in total are from countries with low audiovisual capacity.

6 unreleased debut and second features in French or German language. Bilingual French and German jury consisting of up to six young adults. Prize money: 2.000€ for the director.

New International Cinema
12 international cinéma d’auteurs, mainly European co-productions as well as festival winners of Cannes, Locarno, San Sebastián, Karlovy Vary, Venice. Focus on countries with low audiovisual  capacity.

Prime Time
6 upcoming arthouse crowd pleasers by renowned directors. This section will present films which are about to have their national theatrical release.

New German Films
8 unreleased feature films from German speaking countries. Screenings in presence of directors and/or main cast. The award, endowed with 3.000€, is given to the Best German speaking Newcomer Actor/Actress.

Dok & Essay - International Documentaries (new section)
8 new documentaries and essay films focused on the themes of art & science. Screening in presence of the directors. New format: talks with scientists and artists.

Green Horizons
The festival presents up to 5 documentaries and one fiction film focusing on sustainability. The “Green Horizons Award” (prize money: 2.500€ for the director) will be awarded to the film, which achieves the biggest impact by being well-made as well as fact-based.

Special “Togetherness – A contemporary perspective on Ensemble Films” (working title)
In times of the Corona Crisis, the microcosms of groups, families, teams as cinematic topic seems to be more relevant than ever before. In recent years, many filmmakers have shifted their focus from single protagonists to the life of groups, ensembles, families, associations, parties, institutions, companies and teams in order to capture the diversity of human relationships in a changed world. In a multi-protagonist film, all actors are equally important, so that a polyphony of voices supersedes the single voice of a “hero”. The history of cinema is abounding in Ensemble-Films in their many forms (drama, romantic comedy, thriller, etc. for example films by Robert Altman, John Cassavettes, Thomas Vinterberg and Frederico Fellini). BIFF will dedicate its thematic program to the dynamic contemporary forms of the Ensemble film with a series of 8 new films, which will reflect the genre’s strengths in representing the socio-economic, societal, cultural, and interpersonal changes of human interactions in a globalized world.

 …at Midnight
BIFF’s genre film section will be dedicated in 2020 to Postcolonialism.
Since its inception in 2014 the festival’s genre film section “at Midnight” has become a lighthouse for fans of sophisticated genre cinema. Each year BIFF presents five feature-length films that focus on one specific topic. Enduring the corona crisis Europe is confronted with the repercussions of its colonial past more directly than ever. And just recently young filmmakers have adopted the horror genre as a means to contribute to the postcolonial discourse. The colonized will come back to haunt the colonizers each and every midnight at BIFF 2020.

Home Match
Up to 8 features and 10 shorts by regional filmmakers or films shot in the BIFF’s region. The festival organizers nominate 6-8 films (min. runtime of 40min) which will run in the competition for the HOME MATCH AWARD (prize money: 1.000€ for the director).

Film & Music section
Lifetime Achievement Award WHITE LION for an outstanding European film composer with a  retrospective of 8 films as well as a masterclass/talk event and a portrait film concert with the State Orchestra Braunschweig.
Opening film concert in cooperation with the State Orchestra Braunschweig. BIFF will be opened this year with the Austrian film BEETHOVEN by Hans Otto Löwenstein (1927), for which BIFFs new cooperation partner ARTE/ZDF has commissioned a new “pastiche” score to composer Malte Giesen (*1988). This combination of one of the oldest German orchestras, a young composer, Beethovens music and a European cooperation of partners, stands for the intended shift of BIFFs future music programs towards an exchange between different musical generations in time and space on an European level. As the lockdown interrupted the circle of Beethoven concerts by the State Orchestra Braunschweig, the screening will mark a welcoming additional celebration for the planned reopening of concert halls in the fall season.
Five film concerts: Silent films accompanied by different ensembles with different musical colours: classic orchestra, orchestra with jazz elements, contemporary music, electronic pop.  
Such as a screening of MENSCHEN AM SONNTAG with the experimental score by one of Icelands most renowned bands: MÚM. Their new score, which was commissioned by the British Film Institute for the Bluray edition of MENSCHEN AM SONNTAG in 2019 demonstrates the inventiveness and current interest by a younger European generation in composing and playing music for silent film cinema.
Sound on Screen: up to 6 music documentaries dealing with contemporary bands/musicians, as well as legends of music history.

Short film programmes: Focus on European Film
160 short films, VR/360° shorts, music videos in 8 programmes containing outstanding programmes from other festivals like Kölner Kurzfilmfestival, Short Waves Poznan, FIFAubagne, Nord Shorts, O!PLA, including compilation of winning shorts from Berlinale, Cannes, Venice, Oberhausen, Tampere, Oscar short films, SHORT MATTERS! A separate programme is dedicated to the universities of the region: Braunschweig University of Art, Ostfalia, Hannover: New works by film class students.

ndustry Programme
In 2020, BIFF is planning a wide range of Industry relevant topics.

Following up on the festival’s “Green Horizons” film section BIFF is planning lectures on Green Film and Festival Making. Therefore the festival will invite founders of new technologies and initiatives which support the film team to organize the film set and the organisation of film festivals in a much more sustainable way. The focus will be on streaming platforms, new delivery and cloud services for film productions and festivals. One of the major questions will be: how will we handle the growing amount of data (eg due to the event of 4K and growing numbers of streaming platforms) and what are the consequences for green filmmaking?

Due to the Corona-crisis a selection of well-known film critics, scientists, filmmaker and artists will discuss the impact for the future of the industry and especially European Arthouse Cinema. How do filmmakers, distributors, producers and the audience deal with the paradoxes of the current developments (e.g. streaming as an answer or dead end road for cinema?) How can distributors and festivals develop combined hybrid new strategies, online AND live, to promote European films independent from major streaming companies?

BIFFs new cooperation with ARTE/ZDF in the frame of the live film-music concerts will be presented through a lecture about silent film and music with a focus on young composers and musicians working in this highly successful field (e.g. the current trend of new silent film concerts series in many concert halls like Elbphilharmonie, Konzerthaus Berlin among others).

Most of these events will be held in English. Holders of the BIFF industry passes have free entrance. The promotion of the programme will start in June 2019 in order to reach the film students before the summer break as the Industry Days can be credited by students of Braunschweig’s universities.


Braunschweig International film festival

Festival presentation: 

festival showing 160 long/short films to 23.000 spectators.

Offers three competitions:

- THE HEINRICH award for European debut & second features (10.000 Euro)
- THE LEO for the best combination of sound/music and image in a short film (2.000 Euro)
- the French-German youth award KINEMA for the best debut film

Main award of the festival is THE EUROPA for outstanding performances of a European actress or actor and her or his contribution to European film culture (10.000 Euro). Hanna Schygulla, Bruno Ganz and John Hurt received the EUROPA in recent years.

The festival's second focus is "Music & Film" with film concerts, a portray of a composer and a music master class. Reknown composers like Michael Nyman, Carl Davis, Craig Armstrong and Zbigniew Preisner have been guests of this programme.

Other programmes are "New International Cinema", "New German Film" and an extensive short fiml programme.

European Films
Silent films
Animated Films
Digital / DVD
Fiction Features
Short films
Festival Info
Price info: 
6,50 Euro
Opening hours: 
11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Last attendance: 
Number of journalists: 
Next Festival Dates: 
11/09/2010 - 11/14/2010
Is the Festival open to the public ?: 
Does the Festival have a market?: 
Does the Festival have a competition ?: 
Festival Submission
Submission accepted on 
Film call for entry start day: 
Film call for entry deadline: 
Festival Contact
Festival Director Name: 
Volker Kufahl
Festival Director E-mail: 
Festival Press Contact Name: 
Frank Terhorst
Festival Press Contact Email: 
E-mail for Webmaster: 
Festival Organization
Internationales filmfest Braunschweig e.V.
Neue Strasse 8
Zip code: 
+49-531-70 220 20
+49-531-70 220 299


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About filmfrank

Terhorst Frank
(Braunschweig International film festival)



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