shnit was founded in 2003 in Bern (Switzerland, Europe) as a two-evening event. In 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 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 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 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 35.000 visitors, shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival now definitely belongs to one of the biggest and most important annual shortfilm-events.

The culmination of the festival’s long build-up phase is undisputedly the award of the Burgergemeinde Bern. In addition to the international competition – which includes short films with a length of up to 40 minutes – and the national competitions in six PLAYGROUNDS, every year similar programmes with short film discoveries are carefully curated – masterpieces with charm and wit. The festival thus presents a programme in five sections that creates space for experiments and innovations, revealing a collection of short films that convince with their stubbornness, their aesthetic weight, their sensual power and their poetic presence. TALENT FOCUS, EVENT CIRCUS and SCHOOL EXPLORE create experiences in front and next to the silver screen. Here filmmakers, industry representatives, festival visitors and students are actively involved in the panels, workshops and forums as well as interactive events, music and special shows.

Milestones 1st – 5th edition

Name – The name shnit is used for the first time [2003]

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] 

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]

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 – 16th edition

International – The festival now runs for twelve days on five continents [2013]

Online – First online edition of the festival, featuring all nominated films [2013]

Program – shnit FINALE: the first award ceremony in New York [2013]

Service – International Competition with Subtitles in English, German, Spanish, Thai, Japanese and Russian [2014]

Official Recognition – shnit wins the prestigious cultural prize of the Burgergemeinde Bern [2014]

International – shnit SHORTS takes place in cinemas for the first time [2014]

Film Entries  – for the first time there are more than 10.000 submissions [2015]

Jury – Introduction of its own Filmacademy shnit TRIBUTE [2016]

Program – The INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION competition includes 100 films for the first time [2017]

Setup – The festival at PLAYGROUND Bern now lasts eleven days [2018]