Head of International Office
Tel:+49 7141 969 82 194
Twenty-eight years after it was established, the Filmakademie is opening an international office in a move that expresses the institution’s commitment to internationality, to broadening horizons and to working in global networks (see press release in this publication). Behind this is a vision of Baden-Württemberg as a centre for the media industry; the region’s global connections in the field of animation represent an inspiration for all other areas of film and media work.
Before international networks can be established on an industry level, however, it is down to us as a practice-oriented university to lay the foundations through personal contact between our students and their fellow students around the world. That is how relationships and trust are established – that is the basis on which artistic and business connections can flourish. Now, as a high priority, internationalisation also offers the Filmakademie an opportunity to synchronise the activities of the core area and the Animation Institute more closely. Through the world-leading FMX – Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Immersive Media, which is organised by the Animation Institute, there exist strong contacts with top-class specialists who can enhance the curriculum of the entire school in spectacular fashion. Conversely, the International Office has extensive knowledge of the global film school landscape, from which animation students will benefit when it comes to studying abroad.
In turn, mobility – personal, physical and individual – is the instrument at the heart of a sustainable internationalisation based on personal contacts. At the time of writing, this foundation, the freedom to travel we enjoyed before the COVID-19 crisis, seems as if it might have disappeared for good. The rapid and overwhelming developments we are currently experiencing may make the Filmakademie’s vision of internationalisation seem almost like a counter-cyclical enterprise. But does that mean it would be wiser to focus the film school’s diverse provision more strongly on the German-speaking market again? No.
We are taking on the challenge and are planning ahead for what is admittedly an uncertain future where it is possible to travel freely once again. In dialogue with our numerous partners we are sensing, however, that there is no going back to how things were before the crisis. Many institutions are using this enforced break to review structures and processes, and to consider how these may be changed. In this respect there also dwells within this crisis an opportunity to question existing structures and to adapt to changing realities.
With this in mind, the Filmakademie is preparing to take an important step: as of winter semester 2022, project-based study courses at the Filmakademie will be bilingual and open to applicants with a command of either English or German. If we look for a silver lining, the current travel restrictions are creating the necessary space for the changes and preparations that are required here: regulations are being adjusted, language courses are being offered to staff, and a number of processes are being scrutinised before all project-based study courses are made bilingual.
In a parallel development, we will also be increasing the number of outgoing students taking semesters abroad. The target of integrating a mandatory year abroad into all courses of study represents a real paradigm shift. While in the past it was possible upon request to leave the academy for a year to study abroad, in future students will be required to submit an explanation if they do not wish to complete a year abroad. All students will benefit in future from the academy’s international orientation. Even those who do not complete a year abroad will, as part of their project-based studies, have close contact with foreign students.
This kind of change requires very precise coordination with the teaching departments. Relevant course options for students are currently being developed, with specific international elements being added to the film academy’s outstanding training and education provision. The search for distinguished partner institutions is well under way.
The focus is on the world’s great film industries: Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood – the USA, India and Nigeria. There will also be an increased focus on partnerships within Europe because links with leading European film schools allow graduates to immediately expand their professional sphere of activity to include neighbouring territories. Morocco, as a neighbour of Europe, also remains an important focus for internationalisation since a sustainable network and comprehensive expertise have been developed there in recent years.
The starting point of these developments is this list of current partner institutions, which will be updated and added to over the coming years: