For a long time, short films made in Germany were screened separately from the Festival competitions. In 1991 the first German Short Film Competition was established in Oberhausen. Right from the start, both videos and films were admitted to this competition on an equal basis. Each year, some of these are also selected to the International Competition.
Among the entries in this competition and in the other German programs one can find names such as Jürgen Böttcher, Detlef Buck, Phil Collins, Hellmuth Costard, Doris Dörrie, Andreas Dresen, Valie Export, Harun Farocki, Jeanne Faust, Werner Herzog, Romuald Karmakar, Alexander Kluge, Volker Koepp, Korpys/Löffler, Bjørn Melhus, Matthias Müller, Werner Nekes, Peter Schamoni, Ulrich Schamoni, Angela Schanelec, Christoph Schlingensief, Rudolf Thome, Adolf Winkelmann and Sönke Wortmann.
For this competition as well, an independent Selection Committee is responsible for viewing all entries and selecting the nominations. The program includes primarily premieres and German first-runs and is especially valued by foreign visitors as a showcase of German short films. Two cash prizes totalling 7.500 € are awarded. The German Competition jury awards the prize for the best German short film of the year. 3sat, a German-language satellite television station, also awards a promotional prize in combination with a purchase option.