The ifs internationale filmschule köln is an initiative of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Film- und Medienstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen. It was founded as a non-profit limited liability company and its current partners are the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW and the ZDF Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen.
The ifs emerged at the start of 2000 from the successful models of the Schreibschule Köln e.V. and the Filmschule NRW e.V. – with the aim of expanding the education programs on offer.
With the start of the Film Studies program with a specialization in Screenwriting, Directing and Creative Producing in 2002, the ifs internationale filmschule köln transformed itself from a mere further education school for film and TV professionals to a full study and further education institution, serving both those just making their first steps in the film world as well as experienced professionals aiming to acquire further qualifications.
A franchise contract concluded with the Cologne University of Applied Sciences has made it possible to offer our students an internationally acclaimed academic degree. Through this contract, the ifs Film Studies program has become an accredited Bachelor program the summer of 2004, making the ifs internationale filmschule köln the first publicly funded film school in Germany to offer the international "Bachelor of Arts" degree.
In the summer of 2009, our second Bachelor program »Editing Picture and Sound« commenced – a three-year undergraduate program for picture and sound editing that is unique in its form and structure. With the launch of the third year in the 2012/13 Winter Semester the program Editing Picture and Sound was as a specialized focus part of the 7-semester program Digital Film Arts. Another focus was the specialization in Visual Arts.
In 2010 the third Bachelor program »Director of Photography« was launched.
Starting in the summer semester 2015, we will offer a simplified program structure. All our six specializations – Screenwriting, Directing, Creative Producing, Cinematography, Editing Picture & Sound, and Digital Film Arts (formerly Visual Arts) – will be grouped under one program: the B.A. in Film.
In 2011 started the first Master program of the ifs, the postgraduate degree "MA Screenwriting" in cooperation with the School of Media, Music and Performance at the University of Salford, UK, and the School of Art and Media at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland.
Since autumn 2013 the ifs offers the 4-semester Master program "MA Serial Storytelling" that is about serial storytelling formats for television and the digital media.