In the bachelor’s program, first priority is given to providing students with a thorough grounding in all the key artistic disciplines. The students then go on to acquire skills in the most important areas of directing that will enable them to be the decisive artistic and creative force during the actual making of films, from the preparatory phase to the finished work – whether feature film or documentary film. Great importance is attached to responsible utilization of resources (film budget), experience in directing actors, and the acquisition of well-founded knowledge in such fields as film history, film theory and media analysis. In the course of the bachelor’s program, students must further develop their ability to work in a team and to express themselves articulately and vividly, and to develop their social skills and organizing talent. The aim of study is to learn to combine dramaturgy, performance, language, music and the visual into a cinematic work. Students must be able to motivate the people with whom they work, both in their artistic and technical capacities; they must be able to direct them and coordinate their creative efforts in order to build a solid basis for filmmaking.
Work with professional film production units has intensified in recent years. It is very often the case that films submitted for the bachelor’s degree have gone through their development phase and have been brought to realization in the professional filmmaking environment.
The bachelor’s program in Directing is a practice-oriented, preparatory training program for professional work in film directing. The graduate will have acquired the ability to master a film length between 10 minutes (minimum) and 15 minutes (maximum). The program of study also includes learning the work of assistant director.
The master’s program serves to give depth to the artistic language of forms, enabling it to bear the marks of a personal hand. Students are able to focus increasingly on their particular artistic aptitude (documentary film, feature film) and scholarly inclination (film history, film theory). In the program, the study and critical analysis of film is pursued in greater depth, and extensive practical work contributes to wide-ranging artistic development, which prepares the students to master the length of a feature-length film. Furthermore, the program of study offers students an opportunity to bring their ideas to realization in full freedom and without the pressures of economic concerns.
Students gain solid experience in working with actors and acquire the knowledge they need to be able to work effectively with professionals in the areas of costume, make-up and props. To obtain their degree, students must prove themselves able to take on elaborate scenes with special effects and stunts, which means planning a particularly large amount of technical work and the deployment of additional camera and sound crews, and then integrating all of this into the general flow of the film. It must also be added that students at the Film Academy Vienna have immediate access to an outstanding institution of musical education, which gives them opportunities to discuss the musical concept of their film in conncection with dramaturgy with composers, conductors, singers, etc.
During their course of study, students must show evidence of artistic and economic knowledge, a very good general education, the desire to learn more, the ability to express themselves articulately, good knowledge of foreign languages, an aptitude for presentation, social skills, good presence, sociability, competence in advising and negotiating, a talent for organization, willingness to work irregular hours, the ability to cope with stress, flexibility, adaptability, openness to mobility, and a certain degree of intercultural competence.