The M.F.A. program aims at the professionalization of students' directing skills. Under the supervision of university professors and with the input of expert guests from the film industry, students further develop their ability to combine dramaturgy, acting, language, images, and music to create a filmic work of art.

The Directing M.F.A. program requires students to focus on either documentary or feature filmmaking. The focus of study chosen during the application process must be pursued throughout the entire program. The program is directed at students who have successfully completed a degree program in the field of filmmaking and can present filmic works revealing an individual artistic approach.

During the first two semesters, students focus on developing their own material and regularly work on it small student groups. This provides the opportunity to extensively analyze and discuss material – from the first idea to the finished film – in a safe setting.

Practical workshops as well as the creation of exercise films allow students to explore all aspects of filmmaking and to esthetically shape films while dealing with different genres. Students gain insights into the economic aspects of filmmaking and expand their ability to motivate and lead a team in the making of a film. The graduation project allows them to develop their own artistic position and serves as a "business card" helping them to get into the film industry. In the second and third year of study, the M.F.A. program also encompasses special courses focusing on artistic research.

The program comprises both full-time and part-time study. The standard duration of the program is six semesters (120 credits), with a workload of 30 credits in each of the first two semesters (full-time) and a workload of 15 credits in each of the remaining four semesters (part-time).

When working with students, my goal is for each individual to find his or her own strengths and preferences in a playful approach to their first cinematic works. This goal is most likely to be achieved through as much trial and error as possible. Developing concepts. Filming. Making. Failing. Moving on.

Stefan Schwietert
Professor for Documentary Film Directing

Focus Documentary Film

The Directing M.F.A. program with a focus on documentary film considers itself a laboratory in which students team up with the teaching staff and fellow students to develop and test new forms of documentary storytelling. While this is a serious venture, the program also encourages students to experiment and play. Focusing on story development in both group and one-to-one sessions, students establish a personal connection to "their" stories. Each subject requires the development of a unique, individual artistic approach. Eventually, these approaches are turned into (cinematic) documentaries, web documentaries, or other audiovisual works.

The program gives students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge in the field of directing. Theoretical and practical exercises enable them to test their skills and put them into practice. The film university's structure allows for top-level teamwork with students enrolled in the school's Production, Screenwriting, Cinematography, and Editing programs.  To assist in the financing and co-production of graduation projects, the university helps students establish contacts with relevant production companies, film funding institutions, and TV broadcasting companies in Berlin – and, thanks to the international networks of the school's professors, in other federal states, Austria, or Switzerland. 

Contact: Stefan Schwietert, Professor of Documentary Directing

Degree: Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Program Duration: 6 semesters (120 credits; 2 semesters full-time, 4 semesters part-time)

Program Entry: Winter term

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