The Department of Documentary Film and Television Journalism imparts both technical and professional skills, a cinematic approach and style, communication abilities, and self-confidence in its education. The curriculum for the eight-semester program is built on the understanding that expertise in film, television, and online media can only be acquired through practice. Thus, the foundational study period is primarily dedicated to the craft of documentary film directing and television journalism, while the advanced study period delves deeper into specific film and program formats, providing room for experimentation.
The curriculum comprises practical exercises, seminars, lectures, collaborative analysis of film and television productions, as well as the creation of a total of four budgeted films with freedom to choose the subjects.
In the foundational studies phase, the focus is on the classic repertoire of documentary filmmaking: We explore various forms of documentary work, offer seminars on conducting interviews and conversations, on documentary composition (camera work), dramaturgy, editing, story development, and documentary film analysis. The teachers come both from the HFF Munich or are established external experts. The foundational studies aim to provide fundamental knowledge. In the individual exercises, students can explore their talents and discover their strengths.
Two budgeted documentary films are produced: a short film (Film 01) after the first semester and a medium-length film (Film 02) as a group project by the end of the fourth semester.
In the advanced studies phase, knowledge is deepened through a range of elective and mandatory courses: You can engage with "Performing Documentary," delve into topics like "Race, Class, Gender," explore the "Autobiographical Film," investigate the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for documentary filmmakers, and/or directly experiment with your own ideas in the "Film as Experiment" seminar. Material development will continue to guide you in your own projects, and you can also practice your pitchung skills, or learn how to work with non-professionals and actors in improvised scenes.
During the advanced studies, two budgeted films are created: Film 03 and the final project (Diploma Film). Further special projects are encouraged and possible. In this phase, films can be produced with funding from the FFF (Bavarian Film and Television Fund) and/or in collaboration with broadcasters, such as commissioned productions for television. We maintain close connections with BR, the "Kleines Fernsehspiel" department of the ZDF, and the commissioning editors of ZDF/3sat.
The aim of the advanced studies is to connect students with the industry. The films and exercises in this area of study also provide opportunities to explore whether and how new media forms and techniques (VR, Augmented Reality, AI implementation, etc.) demand new content and narrative approaches.