Film and the media, with their more than 100 years of history, offer a virtually inexhaustible source of aesthetic and socio-political reflection. In recent years especially, the abundance of data and images available has reached gigantic proportions. Often overshadowed by this plethora are aesthetic concerns, but also open criticism of an increasingly powerful industry as well as critical questioning of current presentation practices and viewing habits. This must all be made a subject of critical reflection within the framework of a structured study of film and the media in an institution that trains filmmakers. And this means dialogue with the students – at the intersection of practice and theory, at the points where art, scholarship and science meet. Clearly, greater knowledge fosters farther-reaching competencies, it gives more depth to creative, critical thinking, and at the same time it opens up enormous room for individual curiosity and all kinds of fascination with regard to today’s film and media cultures and the cinema that history has produced.
Media and Film Studies is a course of study strongly oriented toward critical reflection, with the aim of developing the students’ artistic abilities and at the same time contributing to their scholarly knowledge, as well as providing them with specific skills necessary for research. Within the framework of the artistic-track bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, Media and Film Studies can be chosen as an area of emphasis in the student’s curricular orientation (modul). Since 2012, the Film Academy Vienna has offered a doctoral program in Media and Film Studies, the prerequisite for which being completion of a program of study at the post-bachelor level (diplomstudium, magisterstudium/masterstudium), academic or artistic track.
Media and Film Studies as a Curricular Orientation
The curricular orientation (modul) Media and Film Studies focuses on providing students with the competence they need for reflecting cricitally on their own work and for conceptualizing and bringing to fruition artistic and academic projects in a spirit of independence.
In Media and Film Studies, particular emphasis is placed on the interrelationship between art and theory in the audiovisual media, on the one hand, and, on the other, the public sphere. Under the catchphrase “Talking and writing about film/the cinema”, the program of study aims at enabling the students to acquire the skills needed for developing and implementing projects relevant to professional practice in the areas of film criticism, film presentation and film programming. Experts from various fields (filmmakers, festival directors, film critics, curators, scholars) are regularly invited as guests to share insights gained from professional experience. Also, the students develop the competence necessary for critical reflection in the areas of media aesthetics, film analysis and film history. Students have opportunities to take part in larger-scale, artistic research projects at the institute, and thus to make their own contribution of thought and creativity.
Doctoral Program in Media and Film Studies
Designed as a program of study beyond basic artistic or academic training for professional work (prerequisite: completion of a program of study at the diplom or magister/master level), the doctoral program in Media and Film Studies serves to further develop the competence necessary for independent work and also to foster new generations of scholars.