The international orientation is an essential part of the profile of the ifs internationale filmschule köln. In a globalised industry, the teaching of international perspectives, contacts and intercultural skills is of particular importance for future filmmakers and media professionals.
The ifs is a member of the international association of the film and television colleges CILECT and of the European sub-association GEECTas well as the network ELIA – European League of Institutes of the Arts.
International Master's programs, professional training and teaching
The ifs offers three international Master’s programs in English:
The MA Serial Storytelling enables talented screenwriters, producers, directors and other media professionals to intensively explore the theory and practice of serial storytelling for TV and digital platforms. It supports students in the research and conception of innovative narratives as well as new formats and distribution channels.
With the MA Digital Narratives, which started for the first time in autumn 2016, the ifs enables committed media professionals to deal artistically and academically with cross-platform narratives in digital media.
In autumn 2018, the MA 3D Animation for Film & Games started for the first time as a part-time cooperation program of the Cologne Game Lab of the TH Köln/University of Applied Sciences and the ifs. This Master’s program begins annually and is characterised by a practice-oriented curriculum, scientific contextualisation, industry proximity and an international orientation.
In the Summer School Screenwriting, which is a three-week intensive course for screenwriting beginners, participants deal intensively with the technical and artistic aspects of screenwriting. At the end, they develop their own short film script.
The ifs is one of the partner schools of the new European training program Eureka Series, which is being run jointly with the French festival Séries Mania in Lille and the film schools La Fémis (France), ECAM The Madrid Film School (Spain), Lodz Film School (Poland), Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Italy) and Westerdals (Norway). Eureka Series is designed as a 14-week full-time program for 12 European TV series writers and producers – with the aim of jointly developing transnational projects that can be realised as European co-productions.
Numerous international industry experts teach in seminars and workshops at the ifs. and ifs students also have the opportunity to attend English language courses with a focus on film.
Professors, lecturers and staff at the ifs expand their international network through regular participation in international industry events, festivals, conferences, workshops and academic symposia.
The ifs regularly organises excursions to international industry events at home and abroad for its students and professional training participants.
Editing Bild und Ton — School-of-Sound-Konferenz (London, Großbritannien)
VFX & Animation — Annecy International Animation Film Festival (Annecy, Frankreich)
Kamera — Camerimage Filmfestival (Toruń, Polen)
Regie & Kreativ Produzieren (Auswahl) – Sunny Side of the Docs (La Rochelle, Frankreich)
MA Serial Storytelling
Film Festival Cologne / European Series Day (Köln, Deutschland)
Clash of Realities (Köln, Deutschland)
Series Mania (Lille, Frankreich)
Seriencamp (München, Deutschland)
Série Series (Fontainebleau, Frankreich)
MA Digital Narratives
Clash of Realities (Köln, Deutschland)
Transmediale (Berlin, Deutschland)
Re:publica (Berlin, Deutschland)
International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) (Amsterdam, Niederlande)
World Congress of Science & Factual Producers
Some students shoot their films abroad, either as part of a bilateral exchange program or as part of their graduation films. Feature and experimental films have been shot on location in Spain, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Turkey, Morocco, Israel and Bangladesh.
ifs films at international film festivals
Many of our student films have screened at renowned international film festivals, including festivals in Beijing, San Francisco, Berlin, Oberhausen, Dresden, Saarbrücken, Munich, Paris, New York, Rhode Island, Beirut, Prishtina, Tirana, Istanbul, Pune, Chennai, Reykjavik, San Sebastián, St. Petersburg, Montreal, Krakow, Bangkok, Auckland and Sydney.
Numerous ifs films have also won international awards – the crowning example: the ifs graduation film »The Swing of the Coffin Maker« by Elmár Imánov (director) and Eva Blondiau (producer) was awarded the Student Academy Award – the »Student Oscar« – in Los Angeles in the category »Best Foreign Film« in bronze.
A total of 27% of ifs students are international students. Many of them come from Latin America, the Middle East, the USA, Great Britain and the EU.
The ifs offers its international students comprehensive counselling – before their arrival in Germany, during and at the end of their studies. They also have the opportunity to access the resources for international students of the TH Köln/University of Applied Sciences .
Since 2020, the ifs has nominated a selection of international students for the DAAD Prize, which is awarded each year to an international student at the TH Köln/University of Applied Sciences for exceptional academic achievement and social commitment.
Bilateral exchange programs - mobility window
Against the background of consolidating the respective career aspirations and expanding international activities and cooperations, the ifs has set up a mobility window that creates free space for internships and semesters abroad.
The mobility window is available to BA FILM students in the 4th, 5th OR 6th semester, depending on how it can be integrated most sensibly into the individual study plan. When selecting the destination, students can fall back on one of our current international partner universities.
Current international partnerships
ERASMUS – Partnerships
Kingston University (London, UK)
Hochschule Luzern (Luzern, Switzerland)
RICTS (Brussels, Belgium)
Non-European partner universities for student and staff mobility
Beit Berl College (Beit Berl, Israel)
Seoul Institute of the Arts (Seoul, South Korea)
Other partner universities
Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Italy)
ECAM The Madrid Film School (Spain)
FAMU (Prague, Czech Republic)
FTII (Pune, India)
Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia)
La Fémis (France)
Lodz Film School (Poland)
Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (Budapest, Hungary)
Universidade Lusófona (Lisbon, Portugal)
CILECT, International Association of Film and Television Schools (Global)
ELIA, European League of Institutes of the Arts (Europe)
GEECT, European sub-association of CILECT (Europe)
Aubagne International Film Festival (Aubagne, France)
Flanders International Film Festival (Gent, Belgium)
Series Mania (Lille, France)
Série Series (Fontainebleau, France)
Multilateral projects to date
The ifs offers its students optional participation in European educational programs during their studies and has taken part in a large number of multilateral European projects in recent years.
Previous multilateral projects have included:
Double Gaze (2017/18) – intercultural documentary film project of the ifs with the Beit Berl College in Israel, in which students from both schools made four short films together in Germany and Israel.
EPAS (2016-2018) – Pilot project for a new degree program, European Master of Arts in Sound (EMAS), developed by a consortium consisting of the KASK School of Arts Ghent, the HoGent in Belgium, the Netherlands Film and Television Academy in Amsterdam, the ifs, the ENSATT Lyon in France, the School of Sound/UK and the Flanders and Aubagne Film Festivals.
ESSEMBLE (2011-2017) – the Erasmus+ funded European educational program ESSEMBLE consisted of several workshops teaching the integration of visual effects in the storytelling process. The programme was implemented from 2011 to 2017 by the Universidade Lusófona in Lisbon, the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (MOME) in Budapest, the LUCA School of Arts, Sint-Lukas in Brussels and the ifs.
CIAKL (2012-2013) – CIAKL (Cinema and Industry Alliance for Knowledge and Learning) was an EU-funded program that taught entrepreneurial skills to film students and alumni. The cooperation network consisted of the Universidade Lusófona in Lisbon, the University of Theatre and Film (SZFE) in Budapest, the Universidade de Vigo in Spain, the Tallinn University Baltic Film and Media School in Estonia and various international industry partners. As part of this program, a pilot project, the ifs Media Entrepreneurship Lab, took place from October 2012 to February 2013.
Hives (2012) – international omnibus project realised by students from five European film schools: the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb, the Sam Spiegel School in Jerusalem, the National Film and Television School in the UK and the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague.
Summer School People on Sunday (2010-2011) – for students of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and alumni of the ifs, in which short films were shot in German-American teams in the style of the film “People on Sunday” (1930) and combined in a compilation.
A Triangle Dialogue (2007-2008) – intercultural documentary film project in cooperation with the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem and the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing in Warsaw, which resulted in a compilation of documentary short films. Three workshops in Jerusalem, Warsaw and Cologne accompanied the making of a total of seven documentaries.
Reflection (2005) – the first international cooperation between the ifs and the Polish Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing in Warsaw, which resulted in a compilation of 12 documentary short films on small-town life in Germany and Poland.
If you would like more information about our international programs or to discuss a possible collaboration, please contact our international relations manager.