Competitions | Manifesto

The competitions in the context of the festival

The FiSH – Filmfestival im StadtHafen presents the artistic diversity of a film year, brings international filmmakers and audiences together and offers the opportunity to discover the characteristics and commonalities of young film cultures. With the German competition JUNGER FILM and the Northern European competition OFFshorts – Young Baltic Cinema, two programme components have been established that focus on filmmaking both here in Germany and in the Northern European region. Complementary, state-wide competitions are the project competitions Medienkompetenz-Preis MV and the music video competition PopFiSH.

  • The mere admission of a film to the competitions, is a distinction of cinematic quality and originality.

  • FiSH is an audience festival that enables film makers to experience their own films in high technical image and sound quality and a resonating space of at least 150 to 300 film enthusiasts

  • FiSH is a discursive festival that enables film makers to experience their own films in public jury discussions, film discussions on stage and in subsequent expert and debating discussions by the audience.

Admission to the competitions

One of our aims is to reach out to as many young filmmakers up to the age of 26 as possible, both nationwide and in Northern Europe, and to invite them to submit their films in the festival’s competitions.

Films are admitted under the following conditions:

  • films may not be older than two years

  • the directors may not be older than 26 years at the time of the film’s completion, whereby the participation of older people in the film production is not a criterion for exclusion

  • films have to be non-commercial, (i.e., films that are not made for profit or in other economic contexts – such as commissioned production)

  • which are not longer than 30 minutes

Film competitions and selection committees

The competition programmes are intended to capture the interesting artistic currents and innovations of a film year in terms of content and form. The members of our selection committee are expected to be aesthetically tolerant and to have a wide range of interests in the reception and evaluation of different contents and aesthetic forms of expression.

Selection criteria

  • the film has “heart and soul”, i.e. it is thematically relevant and authentic, it tells its audience something that the filmmakers are not indifferent to, but on the contrary so stirring and tremendously important that the audience can feel it

  • the cinematic narrative is fresh and unconventional, at best original and innovative, the film language is well crafted

  • the film has the potential to grip the audience, to entertain and challenge them, to excite and agitate them, to provoke reactions and thus discussion

  • the decisive criterion is the narrative content in priority over the narrative form, as far as this can be distinguished at all

Award juries

the expert juries, which are as diverse as possible, award the prizes in the various competitions to films that meet the above criteria in discussions that are rich in discussion and open to the public on stage.


Last revised in September 2023 by the FiSH Festival Team.


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