In the field of directing, the ifs offers the specialization »Film Directing« in the Bachelor’s program Film. In addition, within the framework of our further education camps there are regular workshops on selected topics for directors. Directors can also apply for the Masterclass Non-Fiction and the Master’s program Digital Narratives.
Specialization in »Directing« in BA Film
Only through a personal artistic vision good directors can bring their stories to life on camera. The aim in the Specialization in Directing is to recognize this specific talent, cultivate it and give it expression in the form of an individual artistic signature style. Along the way, students learn in practical exercises and project work with students of other specializations to shape and coordinate all aspects of staging and production: from the screenplay to the acting, the image and sound design, the production design and editing and right down to the music and the visual effects.
Parallel to working on fiction film, students explore documentary storytelling and thereby the entire spectrum of possibilities that lies between fiction and reality and the wide range of related forms of aesthetic expression. This also involves addressing social contexts and issues.
In addition to learning the craft and skills of filmmaking, the program paves the way to an understanding of the art of film as well as the interaction between the trades and crafts involved, thus enabling students to confidently assume responsibility for a team in the future. (ok)
Next application phase: from winter 2019/2020
Next start of studies: summer semester 2021
The 7-semester Bachelor’s program is modular and consists of:
- Specialization modules that convey the artistic and technical expertise for the aspired occupation.
- Project modules, in which students, both independently and through interdisciplinary collaboration, complete projects from the idea to the finished screenplay or film.
- Comparative Media Studies modules and personal skills seminars that transfer film and media theory knowledge as well as social and interpersonal skills
Every good director has a core issue, a very personal way of looking at the world and the things in his or her environment. The program at the ifs aims to discover, promote, and protect that particular personal world view and style of each student, providing intensive support in the initial stages. As the creatives responsible for the overall identity of the film, directors are involved in all aspects of the filmmaking process. From the idea to the screenplay, to staging the actors in space, to the picture and sound design, montage, film music, through to completing a film, they can create a work defined by this vision. Or in documentary filmmaking, their vision carries through the entire filmmaking process, from finding the idea, conducting the research and preparing the treatment, to engaging with the protagonists, deciding on the narrative and cinematic tools and methods, and finalizing the film.
Directors are visionaries who tell their idea of the story but are always open to the ideas of other team members. Their work is to develop every aspect of the filmmaking process in cooperation with their team. This collaborative teamwork with the other disciplines necessitates the ability to follow a clear line and, together with the producer, to lead and guide the work of all those involved in the film in order to create a solid and cohesive end product. On the other hand, the ability to be transparent and open for all artistic impulses that come from the other team members is fundamental.
At the ifs, students will experience in depth every aspect of this complex process of interdisciplinary work in cooperation with all the other departments. However, the art and practice of multi-skilled work and communication always follows the search for answers to the questions »What story do I want to tell?« and »Why do I want to tell it?«. The first year focuses mainly on the fundamental principles of narrative storytelling, research methods, on comprehending, questioning and investigating the basic concepts of cinematic work, on the impact of creative decisions on the production process, and on the basics of directing actors and staging.
Examining the role of the director within the structure of the professional teamwork is also a key subject right from the start.
In the second year of the program, the relationship between the director and the actors is further developed. Sharpening one’s vision to see the requirements and possibilities of picture composition and the dramatic effectiveness of sound design becomes increasingly important. The focus shifts more on project work, and helping the students develop their own ideas, recognize their personal strengths and preferences, and cultivate principles and values for their own work.
And, last but not least, the program teaches students resilience and the ability to give and receive feedback.
Professionalizing communication and self-reflection skills are an important aspect of the last semester of study, which concludes with the development of strategies for the formation of a viable professional network.
Film is teamwork. And yet the quality is defined by the successful implementation of the director’s overall concept. Teaching this ability is our common goal at the ifs.
Comparative Media Studies
Comparative Media Studies explore the film medium’s relationships to other media and their presentation and narrative forms, and particularly to the competing audiovisual media of theater, television and digital games as well as to the fine arts, photography, literature and music. In both the theoretical reflections and the practical exercises, specific attention is given to the aesthetic and cultural consequences of digitization for production, distribution and reception of audiovisual, cross-media and trans-media content.
Film History and Film Analysis
This subject area explores the different dimensions and elements that touch, cross and merge paths in film: space and time, perspective and montage, picture and sound, light and color, on and off-screen, and the perspectives of the characters, the camera and the audience. The focus is on investigating the media conditions for cinematic aesthetics as well as reflecting on their historical transformation.
A significant part of the studies and the learning takes place in the project work, which is defined by an intensive and close collaboration between the 7 specializations. Each semester includes a project phase, during which students experiment, practice and produce work. The requirements vary as there are both fiction and non-fiction film projects. The project work consists of both independent components as well as interdisciplinary teamwork with other students and cooperation partners. The complexity of the project work increases during the course of the studies up to the final graduation films. The professor committee decides on the production of each of the projects. Students also have the opportunity to work on independent projects alongside their studies with the support of the ifs.
Personal Skills and Professional Career Orientation
All the semesters include modules for personal skills training and professional career orientation. Coaching sessions and teacher feedback on various studies and team processes promote personal and professional development. Students are encouraged to reflect on their own artistic work from an interdisciplinary perspective, in the context of other works of art, and as part of the social discourse. Students receive targeted support to develop and cultivate their own artistic personality, as well as their social and communication skills (negotiation skills, self-reflection, team cooperation, conflict strategies). Case studies exploring the various job profiles (national/international) and knowledge of the requirements of a business startup serve as guidance on future careers and professional opportunities. Visits to festivals and conferences promote the development of industry networks.
Bachelor Project and Thesis
Students prepare their Bachelor graduation project and thesis at the end of their studies, which is supplemented by an oral examination also known as a colloquium. For the Screenwriting specialization, the BA graduation project consists of writing an original screenplay for a feature-length film. The BA graduation project for the specializations in Film Directing, Creative Producing, Director of Photography, Editing Picture & Sound, VFX & Animation, and Production Design consist of a production project and a written thesis. The colloquiums will bring together the different parts of the BA project in a technical discussion and explore individual aspects in depth.
Fields of Study
The following fields of study at the ifs are represented by professors:
- Screenwriting and Dramaturgy
- Directing – For fiction narratives in audiovisual media
- Directing – For documentary narratives in audiovisual media
- Creative Producing
- Camera – Feature Film
- Camera – Documentary Film
- Editing Picture & Sound
- VFX & Animation
- Production Design
- Comparative Media Studies
- Film History and Film Analysis
- Serial Storytelling (MA)
- Digital Narratives (MA)
Our professors are experienced academics and professionals who, alongside their teaching responsibilities, also produce screenplays, documentaries and feature films as well as conduct research work. A wide range of lecturers from both the German and international film industries further supports the main academic teaching staff. An active involvement in the film industry and a professional participation in film and applied media discourses are requirements for a teaching position at the ifs.
Every module is completed with an examination, and is graded. The examinations can take the form of assignments, papers, work samples, written tests, presentations or oral exams.
After successfully completing the Bachelor Examination, students are awarded the »Bachelor of Arts« (B.A.) academic degree.
The study workload is assessed using a credit point system, according to the principles of the European Credit Transfer System. 30 credits are awarded per semester. In the standard 7-semester period of study, 210 credit points are required to achieve the »Bachelor of Arts« degree. The BA Film program is a fulltime study program. Courses usually require 80 percent compulsory attendance.
The Bachelor’s program Film offers the following specializations:
Screenwriting, Film Directing, Creative Producing, Director of Photography, Editing Picture & Sound, VFX & Animation, or Production Design.
full time / every two years
Bachelor of Arts
Number of Participants:
Fees & Financing
Tuition fees per semester:
One-time registration fee:
Contribution to the »Friends of the ifs Society« per semester:
For financial assistance to cover tuition fees and/or living expenses, second-year students may apply for an interest-free loan from the Student Education Fund, which is run by the »The Friends of the ifs Society«. Approval of the interest-free loans is based on the applicant’s financial situation and the funds available. Repayment of the loan begins six months after graduation/termination of studies.
In addition, from the second academic year until the end of the Bachelor’s program, the »The Friends of the ifs internationale filmschule köln Society« currently awards five scholarships for outstanding academic achievements to students of the Bachelor’s programs. These scholarships include the payment of tuition fees and a monthly allowance towards the cost of living until the end of the Bachelor’s program (up to 15,000 euros).
Students in the Bachelor’s program Film are generally eligible for “Bafög”, the Federal Student Financial Aid Program. The responsible Federal Student Financial Aid Office decides upon applications for student state loans or grants. A prerequisite for the application is the enrollment at the University of Applied Sciences Cologne), the ifs cooperation partner (tuition fee for the Summer Semester 2019: 270.50 euros). This grant includes all the services of the University of Applied Sciences Cologne as well as the semester ticket. Both German and foreign students are eligible applicants. Foreign students must observe Bafög § 8.
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