Station 1 | October – December – 1st Session Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
Station 2 | January – 1st Session La fémis / study trip to Premiers Plans Festival in Angers
Station 3 | February – Berlinale
Station 4 | February – Session at NFTS London
Station 5 | March – 2nd Session Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
Station 6 | April – Internship with distribution company or world sales agent
Station 7 | May – 2nd Session La fémis / Cannes Festival
Station 8 | June - August – Short film production in Ludwigsburg or Paris
The taught modules in Ludwigsburg, Paris and London convey practical and theoretical knowledge about financing, film funding, script development, calculating a budget, drawing up a shooting schedule and shooting a film. These modules also cover contract law, as well as film distribution and world sales. The classes on the various topics are all taught by instructors with hands-on experience of the issues. We choose instructors who are film business experts, and the comprehensive overview and detailed in-depth specialised knowledge they bring make this an intensive seminar.
In autumn, students go on two study trips for several days, to Strasbourg (visit to the broadcaster ARTE) and Munich (visit to ARRI post production, the ARRI cinema and Bavaria Film).
During the Berlinale a seminar on the American film industry provides insights into the very different film market in North America and always gives students a fresh perspective on the European film business.
After the Berlinale workshop, course participants spend two weeks at the London film school, NFTS. Case studies and seminars help them to understand the British production system.
The study trips to the international film festivals in Berlin and Cannes offer participants a chance to discover what an A festival has to offer, how the festivals are organised and the opportunities they present. Students receive official film professional accreditation, allowing them access to film screenings, the Film Market and many other festival events. Meetings and tours are specially devised to help them to get to know the festivals, and they are encouraged to explore on their own. In Cannes a two-day internship with a world sales agent complements the festival workshop.
In April all students work as interns for up to four weeks with a European film distribution company or world sales agent. The objective is to ensure students gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and goals in the distribution business through being integrated into the firm’s practical work. The students subsequently produce a written distribution study drawing on what they have learnt.
The development and production of the short films is a leitmotif running through the entire course. Since 2003 each class has produced a series of short films on a stipulated topic in the form of a co-production with ARTE and SWR. ATELIER participants assume the role of producers here.
The students begin to view films by interested potential directors in autumn. Parallel to this, the screenwriting classes at the Film Academy and La fémis work on script proposals on the stipulated topic.
In autumn the participants choose the partners they wish to work with in implementing their project; each of the nine short films is produced by two Atelier participants from different countries and with different mother tongues. This means that at the subsequent script pitching the students can already decide as a team which script interests them. The class then selects the screenplays that will be produced, working in conjunction with the commissioning editors, Brigitte Dithard (SWR) and Barbara Häbe (ARTE), together with a script advisor and the course directors.
By early February the teams have decided which screenplay they will be producing. Then the producer duos plus their scriptwriters begin the process of forming a full team to work with them. By March a new version of the screenplay has been drawn up – involving the director where possible – ready for discussion in a meeting between the commissioning editors, the script advisor and the course directors. The shooting script should be completed by mid-June.
After the last taught module ends in early June, the class divides up: some participants produce their short film in Paris, the others return to Ludwigsburg.
The students plan, shoot and complete the films with their teams, with a line producer steering the whole process in the right direction. In August the commissioning editors and course directors review and approve the final cut. That leaves two weeks to put the finishing touches to the sound, music, mixing and colour correction. The completed master must be delivered to the broadcaster on time in early September.
The film project plays an enormously important role in integrating Atelier students into the two film schools. The other team members – particularly the director, cinematographer, editor, set designer and composer – are students from the relevant departments at the film schools. This cooperation gives rise to valuable contacts and networks, which are hugely important for Atelier participants’ subsequent professional careers.