The MA Film is aimed at young filmmakers from audiovisual creative fields (including directing, producing, cinematography, editing, sound design, screenwriting, production design).

The goal of the Master's Programme is to expand the film-aesthetic possibilities of the students through an innovative curriculum by creating a framework in which film projects exploring a range of socially relevant topics are created in a co-creative, and anti-hierarchical atmosphere of learning.

Key areas

  • co-creation as a project development and learning method
  • formation of one's own aesthetic signature
  • critical analysis of the role of visuality in constructs such as race, gender, class, sexuality, and ability 
  • holistic approach to filmmaking: acquiring valuable interface competences by taking on key roles in the production process 
  • development of an individual project concept through artistic research

The MA programme refines students' cinematic language through creativity-oriented, co-creative training and strengthens their position as a filmmaker through industry connections and networking.



The programme emphasizes social relevance and theories of critical thinking. Students will be enabled to reflect on their own positioning in their filmic practice while simultaneously engaging with the political, cultural and social implications of what produces, disrupts and/or expands the visual field of representation in the imagery.

In its two-year curriculum, the MA Film combines four central elements:

1. Project orientation
During their studies, students go through several project phases. They develop innovative film projects in co-creation, two of which are realized during the course of the programme. In addition,  artistic research is promoted to develop an individual project concept to be presented to the industry after completing their studies.

2. Practical orientation 
The project work is flanked by practical courses on the topics of script development, mise-en-scène, production, post-production as well as evaluation and marketing strategies.

3. Contextualization
Theoretical modules enhance the practical content with critical and systemic thinking so that issues of social relevance and the role of social responsibility within the film industry are placed in a broader context.

4. Presentation/networking:
Film projects, pitches/presentations to industry representatives, networking events and an international  student exchange experience including a joint project with UNSCA - University of North Carolina School of the Arts specifically promotes access to the international film industry and the expansion of the students own networks.

Also, supported by renowned filmmakers, artists and academics, the students further develop their artistic personalities and their forms of cinematic language expression.

In the full-time Master's Programme in film, young media professionals expand and deepen their theoretical and practical knowledge in order to challenge and enrich audiences with their work. 

The programme provides an artistic creative field for research in preparation for an industry that is facing increasingly complex conditions and must respond to them with new content, aesthetic forms, working methods and structures.

Graduates of the MA FILM are able to identify socially relevant topics and thus enrich the industry with innovative aesthetic and production-related concepts. They are trained to recognize, develop and implement new processes and formats. As directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, producers, editors and sound designers with comprehensive knowledge in methods of managing creative collaboration, they are able to work directly implementing ideas from others or their own, in the audiovisual industry. The knowledge of cooperative processes, production-related aspects and new media enables the students to affirm their status as artists and, furthermore, to occupy key positions in audiovisual media production.

Filmmakers from audiovisual creative fields (e.g. directing, producing, cinematography, screenwriting, production design or editing) with a strong team spirit. Also important is an interest in innovative co-creative working methods as well as socially relevant topics to be explored in artistic research investigation. Applicants must have a BA or an equivalent or higher degree and at least one year of relevant professional experience.

In justified exceptional cases, applicants with exceptional artistic skills whose CVs lack one or more of these formal requirements may request to enroll in the programme as advanced training participants.


The 4-semester full-time Master's Programme consists of the following modules:


Including the master's project, these modules explore various project phases during the course of the programme, each with a different focus in terms of content and building in complexity. This way film projects are developed practically and realized together in the group.


The Critical Thinking modules serve to develop an artistic positioning of the filmmaker. Through an examination of various contemporary art and film movements, students analyze social issues and the artistic relevance of the medium of film.


Critical Thinking 1:

  • Positioning of the students as a group through the creation of an artistic manifesto
  • Collaborative development of a methodology for cooperation in development and realization of collective artistic projects
  • Conception and discussion of the individual artistic/creative project

Professional practice and co-creative project work 1:

  • Experimentation with co-creative, iterative artistic teamwork
  • Project-based specialized practical lessons offering relevant key skills in the areas of screenwriting, directing, cinematography, production and editing
  • An exchange programme with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking (UNCSA) is planned, which will include the development, realization and post-production of a co-creative short film project


Critical thinking 2:

  • Critical analysis and further development of the artistic manifesto
  • Encouragement of creative as well as critical thinking among students through joint reflection on their social responsibility as artists and on the relationship between art and society 
  • Continued exploration through critical analysis and classification of current audiovisual and cultural case studies of the development of the medium of film and its continued innovative development. 
  • Further development of the individual project concept

Professional practice and co-creative project work 2:

  • Team finding, material and project development for a comprehensive, co-creative final project (short; documentary or feature film)
  • Mise-en-scène
  • Documentary film direction
  • Acting direction
  • Pre-visualization


Critical thinking 3:

  • Critical analysis of the developed collective film projects
  • Presentation and feedback on individual project concepts

Professional practice and co-creative project work 3:

  • Production and shooting preparation, aesthetic concept, resolution and filming
  • Audience design, revision of grant proposals and project applications
  • Evaluation, marketing strategies including identifying an audience
  • Collaboration with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking (UNCSA).


  • Completion of filming and post-production of final co-creative projects
  • Bridging seminars: Preparation for entering the workforce and networking
  • Project presentation
  • Final oral exam (master colloquium)

The MA Film is a four-semester, full-time Master's programme with 120 ECTS.


6 weeks of attendance per semester (classes usually five days per week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. / 5 p.m.)
11 - 12 weeks of project time and critical thinking classes (online teaching and self-study or teamwork plus project consultation)


Approx. 2 weeks of compulsory attendance (plus oral exam and project presentation)

After successful completion of the Master's exam, the academic degree "Master of Arts" (M. A.) is awarded.

Each module is concluded with an exam, usually a sample of work by which students demonstrate the progress of their co-creative work. For individual modules, this is supplemented by an essay or term paper.

At the end of the programme, a filmic project is prepared as a master's thesis and supplemented by an oral exam (colloquium).

The master's project in the MA Film serves the co-creative development of an innovative film narrative that has been developed and designed in the previous modules as a group. In the colloquium, aspects of the presented co-creative project work are discussed in depth in the form of a professional discussion.


Exchange Programme with the School of Filmmaking at UNCSA University of North Carolina - School of the Arts


UNCSA's School of Filmmaking is one of the most prestigious film schools in the US and Canada ( The MA FILM is already collaborating online with their MA Film Music Composition as part of their current final projects. This collaboration, initiated by Prof. Ciro Cappellari and Prof. Deborah Lavine, Dean of UNCSA's School of Filmmaking, will now be taken to the next level: students of MA FILM will develop their first co-creative short film project together with UNCSA students during their first semester and realize it during a 10-day residency at UNCSA in North Carolina in January 2024.

"This collaboration will embrace a broad swath of filmmaking disciplines including writers, directors, cinematographers, editors, and composers. International exchanges foster lifelong artistic collaborations that allow students to grow artistically and professionally as they work together."
Deborah LaVine, Dean School of Filmmaking UNCSA



Foto Prof. Ciro Cappellari

Prof. Ciro Cappellari

Professor Cinematic Storytelling In A Social Context

Author, Director, DoP a. o. ABDULLA IBRAHIM: A STRUGGLE FOR LOVE (Adolf Grimme Award), SCHWARZFAHRER (Oscar®)


Foto Jana Cisar
© Coline Cisar

Jana Cisar

Independent film producer and production manager
Foto Sarah M. Lewis-Cappellari
© Ciro Cappellari

Sarah Lewis

Cultural Producer, Teacher and Performance Artist
Foto Nancy Rivas

Nancy Rivas

Script Supervisor, Assistant Director and Director
Foto Uli Schueppel
© schueppel-films/P.Morosan

Uli Schueppel

Filmemacher & Medienkünstler
The collaborative work on cinematic projects and the collective approach among the students offers me new insights, perspectives and experiences. The exchange with experienced filmmakers and the close collaboration with them is a very valuable part of my studies. Also, the close relation to the professional world and the practical film exercises are important knowledge, which we can receive and take with us.

Johanna Menschner

Student in the MA Film

Johanna Menschner
Originally, I wanted to do a Master's programme in directing. However, the MA Film offered me much more. Through the interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, my view and attitude as a filmmaker as a whole were questioned and changed. The frequent discussions with my fellow students honed and deepened this attitude.

Sergej Waldrat

Student in the MA Film

Sergej Waldrat

Studying in Cologne

Studying in the Media Land North Rhine-Westphalia

Cologne, a city with a 2000 year heritage, is a buzzing media hub. A third of Germany’s TV programmes are produced in Cologne. Key TV and radio stations, numerous renowned film and TV production companies, and more than 70 print and digital publishing companies are based in the city, drawing a creative and artistic crowd. In addition, a large and still growing number of exciting international productions are made in Cologne and NRW.

The ifs is located in the creative and media quarter Schanzenstraße in Cologne-Mülheim – next door to TV production companies, studio facilities, publishing houses, a radio station and the municipal theater.

Fees & Financing


The tuition fees for the MA Film are 2,750 euros per semester for EU citizens and 3,750 euros for non-EU citizens. This includes a contribution of 250 euros to the ifs support association.

The ifs is a cooperation partner of the TH Köln and all ifs students are enrolled at the TH Köln and can use the services offered by the TH, such as the semester ticket for public transport, access to the TH's International Office or to the sports courses and facilities.

Any further questions? We will be happy to help!

Janina Jansen

Coordination of interdisciplinary events


Office of Student Affairs and Examination Office

0221 920188226