The Directing students focus on various practical exercises which are parted in several smaller and three bigger films. In addition to directing scenes and short films, the directing students visit film theory seminars such as film history, storytelling, staging, research and technical aspects of filmmaking.

For the practical part of the studies, the students have the chance to pitch their own ideas to their fellow students in order to get in contact and start working on shared visions. Furthermore, they will meet with artists who are already working in the film industry to learn from their experience. The film exercises are being supported by the University by providing technical and financial assistance. The goal is to develop one’s own ‘handwriting’, discuss different perspectives, discover new ways of storytelling and to get an overlook on film history while also understand the overall process of filmmaking. Questioning one’s conduct, approach and position while being open for broader discussions is always a part of the course. 

Fist year:

  • The first two semesters are dedicated to documentary filmmaking. After several small exercises and the visitation of the world-renowned film festival DOK Leipzig, the students focus on the first bigger short film, the so called F1. They research, develop, pitch, film and edit a documentary short film with their fellow students (which study subjects like cinematography, sound, editing or producing). These films then will premiere at the University and allowed to be send to film festivals. The University offers editing, sound and gradings suits as well as craft specific mentoring and financial support. The aim is to strengthen the students’ understanding of working with other departments while exploring their own directorial approach of documentary filmmaking.

Second year:

  • The second year focuses on fictional filmmaking. It kicks off with an interdisciplinary studio practice and yet another attendance of a film festival. After that, the Directing students will develop the script for their second short film, the so called F2. They can either explore writing their own story or are able to work closely with dramaturgy and production students on coming up with a compelling script. They will experience support from storytelling professors while als practising working with actors. Since the Film University covers almost all parts of filmmaking, the Directing students will gain valuable experience in working with positions such as set designers, sound engineers or creative editors. After the pre-production, the students have several days of shooting before focusing on the post production. Like the F1, the F2 will then be shown at the University before having the chance to premiere at film festivals.

Third and fourth year:

  • After navigating within a rather tight and school-like schedule, the course now becomes a lot more loose and free. While there still will be a few obligatory seminars, other workshops and courses can now be chosen freely. The Film University offers different projects the students can apply for (like cooperation with TV channels or international exchange programs). Meanwhile the preparation for the last film, the F3, is supposed to happen too. It is up to the students if they would like to focus on a documentary, hybrid or fictional format for their final project. Just like with the F1 and F2, the key positions of the production for the final film are being occupied by fellow students. They can either apply for a TV cooperation to make a short film with a fairly big budget or focus on a short film supported by the University.

The B.F.A. program provides students with basic artistic, practical, narrative, technical, theoretical, and academic skills. Students acquire the ability to observe and create. A methodical system of exercises involving the collaboration with other programs allows them to practically test and refine their skills and to develop their individual artistic approach. The program comprises the following modules: Introductory Courses, Introduction to Film Theory and Practice, Theoretical Module I, Practical Module I, Interdisciplinary Non-fictional Film Project F1, Interdisciplinary Fictional Film Project F2, Theoretical Module II, Practical Module II – Fiction or Non-fiction, Electives, Bachelor's Thesis. The standard period of study ends after 8 semesters. After that it is possible to apply for a Master’s degree in Documentary or Fictional Filmmaking.

For details, please refer to the Study and Examination Regulations in German:

Before my studies I didn’t have the resources to understand what it means to work in a cooperative and interdisciplinary manner. My conversations with fellow Directing students, deep friendships with people from other courses and the access to films from around the world have shaped my understanding of filmmaking profoundly.

Hannah Wolny, BA Directing