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For more than twenty years, the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival has been committed to bring «short» masterpieces to the big screen.

shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival is a premier venue for the exhibition and celebration of short films. The festival is an exceptional twelve day event with a unique concept – a transnational film festival simultaneously taking place in multiple cities on five continents worldwide, with three main components: shnit PLAYGROUNDS, lasting twelve days and taking place in all of our PLAYGROUND cities around the world, shnit SHORTS, in embassies, cultural centers and cinemas all around the world, and our shnit FINALE awards ceremony in Amsterdam. 

The international competitions WORLDWIDE COMPETITION and INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION  includes five award categories and attracts award-winning short filmmakers from around the globe. As a result, shnit presents a competition program of exceptional quality and density. 

In addition, each PLAYGROUND presents National Jury and Audience Awards, in a CLOSING NIGHT ceremony held one week before the FINALE in each PLAYGROUND city.

In its twelve years of existence, shnit has become a major international short film festival that reinvents itself in ever new forms. What started as a local initiative in in the heard of Europe is now a transnational event that connects and inspires makers and fans of short films across the globe. With its cinematic treats and air of celebration of the art of the short, shnit fascinates over 30.000 visitors around the world and is fast becoming spoken of as one of the most exciting short film festivals in the world.


Right from the start, shnit has dedicated itself to celebrating and sharing the exciting world of short film. shnit embraces diversity, originality and exchange between creators and an audience from different cultures and backgrounds. It is one of our main goals to actively increase the perception of short filmmaking by creating a multi-platform event for high quality short films. The festival feels blessed with an enthusiastic and supportive audience around the world, which continues to grow each year.

Along with the international competitions and the national competitions, the festival curates programs presenting around 200 short films of all genres, out of competition. Fiction, documentary, animation, experimental and more; shnit has made its mark for its bold selections, its sly, edgier take on the world and its perpetually raised eyebrow.  A collection of masterpieces with charm and wit – but perhaps most importantly, with a raw humanity. 

In addition, shnit ENCOUNTERS takes filmmakers, professionals and visitors into a playground beyond the silver screen: masterclasses and panels as well as interactive events and concerts. shnit offers a unique opportunity for filmmakers and industry representatives to connect, converse and conduct business beyond geographical borders. Filmmakers explore their craft, meet professionals and gain valuable insight into the world of short films.



Short films are attractive for their dazzling diversity and their impressive precision. Fuelled by artistic expression and limited only by their runtime, short films transcend traditional storytelling. They are a significant and popular way artists can connect with audiences. From documentary to animation, narrative to experimental, the abbreviated form is no longer just for the novice. Since its foundation, shnit has aligned its brand with a professional selection of high quality films. 

We believe that a film’s success is dependent not on its budget or genre, but on its core vision and the creativity with which it communicates that vision. Programs consist of these diverse visions assembled in an order and rhythm so that even in contrast each is mutually complimentary.


026_HISTORY_shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival

shnit was founded in 2003 in Bern (Switzerland, Europe) as a two-evening event.

June 2003, a colorful mix of short films from a colorful VHS cassettes, 35mm film and mini DV tapes flickered across the big screen for the first time. After this successful initiation, the open competition for fresh, cheeky and original short films was launched again in the following year and already took an international scope: a whole evening was dedicated to short films from India.

The official recognition of the young cultural event followed in winter with an honor youth award of the Burgergemeinde of Bern to the organizers. During 2005, the board took the decision to found a proper festival and to celebrate the best short films from all over the world. The first festival catalogue appeared in the form of a card game and the international competition shnit OPEN welcomed the first official jury to award a prize.

In 2006, the number of visitors doubled again and the festival date was moved to October. The winners were honored with the brand-new trophy «THE FLAMING FAUN» and the new location Aula im PROGR was equipped with 200 pink cinema seats.

To celebrate the first five years of shnit, the festival was extended by one day and opened with the SLAM MOVIE NIGHT in 2007. New sections enriched the film program with an impressive variety. The growing audience now also had the possibility to watch short films in different cinemas of Bern’s city center.

In 2008, shnit reached new heights, became Switzerlands most visited short film festival with 15.000 visitors and now also bestowed the highest prize money in ist field. Furthermore, three jury prizes in three time categories were awarded in the international competition shnit OPEN for the first time.

The festival rapidly expanded to a multi-day, multi-city short film festival as Cologne (Germany, Europe) joined shnit in 2009. With the expansion to Cape Town (South Africa) in 2010 shnit evolved to a multi-continent festival and now screened 300 short films in 164 shows and different activities, registering over 20.000 visitors.

In 2013 the festival was presented for the first time as a twelve-day event. After the screening of the international competition shnit OPEN by now seven PLAYGROUNDS the nominated films of the five categories could be watched online during five days. And with the exclusive awards ceremony shnit FINALE in New York, the festival experienced yet another premiere! With more than 30.000 visitors worldwide, shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival now definitely belongs to one of the biggest and most important annual shortfilm-events.

In 2014 shnit was awarded the cultural prize of the Bernese statutory corporation Burgergemeinde Bern, a crowning achievement in the festival’s history, with the award ceremony taking place in September 2014 on the Bundesplatz of the Swiss capital.  

2014’s Jury President is multiple Oscar-winner Paul Haggis. He presents the FLAMING FAUN at shnit FINALE in New York.  In addition, Olivier van der Hoeven marks his tenth anniversary as Festival Director. shnit 2014 takes place in PLAYGROUNDS Bangkok, Bern, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Cape Town, Kyoto, Moscow and San Jose. 

The international competition was given a new structure in 2019 and is now divided into the WORLDWIDE COMPETITION and the INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION. The INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION will now also present themed programmes. 

2020: The festival has been hit hard structurally and financially by the global covid pandemic and the performance bans. Many of the volunteers have also reorganised during this time and some of them were unable to continue their work. Nevertheless, a programme of the highest quality was presented every year and the festival has been slowly but steadily recovering ever since. 

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Milestones 1st – 5th Edition

Name – The name shnit is used for the first time
Style – Flourescent magenta is the chosen color of the festival (2003)
Awards – Introduction of the audience award (2003)
Print – The first festival catalogue is published (2005)
Program – All films are now shown digitally (2005)
Awards – Introduction of the first jury award (2005)
Audience – Over 1.000 festival visitors registered (2005)
Award – Launch of THE FLAMING FAUN award (2006) 

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Milestones 6th – 10th Edition

Film entries – For the first time more than 1.000 submissions are registered (2008)
Awards – Three jury awards are now bestowed in three time categories (2008)
Prize Money – The prize money is increased to 40.000 CHF (Swiss Francs) (2008)
Style – The legendary magenta bicycles for the promotion campagn appear (2008)
International – A further city is immersed in magenta: Cologne, Germany (2009)
Film Entries – For the first time more than 4.000 submissions are registered (2011)
Program – A new category appears in the competition: short films up to 40 minutes (2012)
Prize Money – The prize money is increased to 100.000 USD (2012)


Milestones 11th – 15th edition

Online – First online edition of the festival, featuring all nominated films (2013)
Program – shnit FINALE: the first award ceremony in New York (2013)
Official Recognition – shnit wins the 2014 cultural prize of the Burgergemeinde Bern (2014)
International – shnit CINEMAS takes place for the first time (2014)

Film Entries – For the first time more than 10.000 submissions were registered (2015)
International – The festival now runs on five continents, registering over 35.000 visitors (2016)
Fashion – The festival presents exquisite evening wear for women with the THINK ABOUT SHNIT collection (2017)