Our Film Production programme transcends borders and teaches you to disrupt the status quo – making you part of a new wave of cinema that better reflects the world we live in today. You will create original work by diving deep into your own unique point of view and by embracing the global perspectives that your peers and tutors bring, here in the heart of Europe.
The programme covers and offers guidance on a variety of filmmaking styles, including experimental, music videos, hybrid films and documentary as well as various formats such as short films, feature-length projects and series. Our inclusive approach ensures that you will develop the versatile skills needed to work across different mediums and storytelling modes.
Your filmmaking journey will begin the moment you walk through the door, and you will walk away proudly with a body of real-life work and an expansive network of filmmakers, actors, visual effect specialists and sound artists.
You can study this programme either as a full three-year BA degree or the first year only as a one-year HE Certificate.
Prepared for a changing world
During your time here, you will acquire a full understanding and experience of the process of filmmaking, from conception to distribution, with practical skill acquisition for both production and post-production. This 360° knowledge will make you indispensable on set while reinforcing the social skills essential to bringing a production to life. The value we place in team building and collaborative practices will in turn provide you with transferable skills that can have a lasting effect in both your personal and career development.
When you study here, you’ll learn by doing. Our curriculum of project-based learning will guide you through the various roles and skills of filmmaking. However, the ultimate goal of technical understanding is to be able to fully express your own authentic creative voice, both on and off set.
“My year [at Catalyst] was insightful and nothing short of phenomenal.”
– Brenda Young, filmmaker and Film Production HE Certificate alumna
Year 1 (HE Certificate)
Learn how to write, shoot, edit and screen films within a short timeframe and with strict limitations. Work as part of a production team and respond to challenging briefs as you rotate through the major filmmaking roles: director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, production designer, editor and sound designer. You’ll have opportunities to collaborate with students from other programmes, including actors, visual effects artists and composers
As you move from role to role and put into practice the techniques of each department, from editing to sound and everything in between, you will begin to explore yourself and your own ideas through each aspect of the production process. You will also learn the essential skills of teamwork and collaboration within a filmmaking environment.
Throughout the year, you’ll gain a professional and creative toolkit that will enable you to:
- Understand and apply the basic principles of each role and department in filmmaking.
- Work with the equipment and software required to create a short film.
- Collaborate on film productions in a team environment.
- Begin to understand the power of your own voice and how this affects your creative output.
- Investigate your passions through filmmaking.
If you choose to enrol for our HE Certificate, you will take just the first year of this programme as a standalone qualification. The one-year HE Certificate course is the same as the first year of the BA programme and you'll be learning alongside the BA students throughout the year. You have the option of progressing into the second year of our BA programme after successfully completing the HE Certificate, subject to results and availability of places.
Your “home room” with your Advisor, guiding you through the modules, projects and assessments which make up the accredited degree. Examine and reflect upon your filmmaking skills from a top-down perspective, including your collaboration, communication, organisation, preparation and professional skills.
Screen your films and learn how to give and receive critical feedback on your and your peers’ work.
Cinematography, Editing & Colour, Production Design, and Post-Processes (Image & Sound Design)
Practical, tools- and techniques-based workshops designed to get you up to speed on the fundamentals of filmmaking. They will give you a grounding in the equipment, tools, software and hands-on skills needed to complete your projects.
Screenwriting, Producing & Production Management and Directing Characters
Learn to hone and communicate your ideas and vision to others: cast, crew, industry partners and audience members.
Frame by Frame, Word by Word and Auteur Theory
Familiarise yourself with the concepts and terminology used in filmmaking, analysis and proposals/pitching through theory-in-practice workshops. Understand the context of your work in relation to other films and media artworks.
Year 2 (BA)
After the whirlwind first year of filmmaking, you will be ready for a more focused investigation into what you can bring to the medium and what constitutes quality cinema.
The course content in your second year will focus on:
- Narrative storytelling and screenwriting.
- Honing a creative vision.
- Historical and cultural context of cinematic storytelling.
- The creative process of study, experimentation and observation that goes into a film.
- Highly deliberate production of a Perfect Minute – 60 seconds of cinematic perfection.
- How to engage in critical discourse around film.
- Developing project management skills.
Screenwriting & Narrative
Explore the origins and evolutionary purpose of story – why are stories that were written thousands of years ago still relevant and resonant today? How do you build long-form stories? What is needed to get an audience to connect emotionally with fiction or dramatisation?
Explore directing principles and techniques for crafting distinctive and multifaceted characters with comprehensive backstories within fictional cinema, as well as character interaction with the overall visual composition and mise-en-scène. Enhance your abilities in effective leadership, dissecting subtext and dialogue analysis, conveying creative concepts across various departments and devising strategies for conveying character information to actors.
Anything that is included inside the frame serves in pushing the narrative process forward. Understand and make use of the basic concepts of graphic and visual design. Make informed decisions about light, composition and production design for narrative purposes.
Editing & Narrative
Discover how context and imagery create meaning through time. Manipulate an audience’s emotional experience with tools and tricks of editing, sound and colour. Appreciate rhythm and timing as the engines of cinema.
Sound can create worlds, drive character, conduct an emotional experience and power a narrative. You’ll explore how to utilise sound in your own filmmaking to profound effect by creating audio stories as well as investigating peripheral audio arts, like podcasts and radio dramas.
LABS I, II & III
A series of hands-on workshops covering casting, writing and other industry-focused topics. During these workshops, you will have in-depth dialogues with professionals working within casting, writing, financing, distribution and marketing. Step into the industry by connecting with production and distribution companies based in Berlin and actively participating in the renowned Berlinale Film Festival and Market.
Year 3 (BA)
Finally, you’ll work on a major project that integrates everything you’ve learnt.
In the third year, you’re in control. Time to dedicate yourself and shape work as you see fit. Is it a meticulously executed commercial for a startup that needs your fresh take? Perhaps it’s a narrative, multimedia music video made in collaboration with one of Catalyst’s music students? Maybe you’ll travel with your crew of filmmaking peers back to your home country to make a short film close to your heart. Or will you bring a feature-length film to life?
Spend the year training in your chosen field to get ready for your final project. Work in short creative bursts, focusing on improving specific skills in the context of the larger whole. That could mean stretching out a scene in your film down to each frame. It could mean exhaustive auditions of every actor in town. As well as the filmmaking tools at your fingertips, you will have the abilities to self-reflect on your own practice, honing your strengths while identifying where you still need work.
Dream it up, assemble your team and make it happen. The third year will see you distribute and release your work to the public, whether that’s applying to your favourite film festivals, getting screened in an art-house cinema or launching a commercial campaign. Don’t worry if that sounds like too much now – by this point of the BA, you’ll have already investigated where your voice will cut above the noise.
Whatever your ambitions, our tutors will push you to reach even further in one-on-one consultations and we’ll support you with our facilities, equipment and network as much as we can.
The course content in your third year will focus on:
- Evolving your approach to your chosen career path, so you leave feeling confident, empowered and with a clear direction.
- Crafting a proposal that will bring your process and use of language to an industry standard.
- Taking the creative lead by writing, directing and producing your projects to completion.
- Undertaking the process of releasing your projects into the wild and getting a handle on film distribution.
- Providing a service in a professional context OR writing a thesis.
Your technological playground
Get hands-on access to unique facilities and tons of bookable gear.
Black box film studio with two-sided infinity wall green screen and overhead lighting rigging. This space is used extensively by our film students in the second and third year of the programme.
Six bookable post-production suites for all your editing needs. Here, you'll have the space and tools to transform your raw material into compelling stories that resonate with audiences.
Film tech shop
A haven full of everything needed to shoot films. Use it onsite or take it away into the atmospheric film set of Berlin. Fully-packed filmmaking kits including camera, lights, stands, grip and accessories (bookable for multiple weeks at a time, depending on availability).
1400 bookable items
Aside from the fully-packed filmmaking kits, we have fog machines, gimbals, dollies, gels, flags, stands, grip gear, cabling and expendables, props and costumes, an extensive DVD library and free access to streaming platforms.
“Studying here was nothing short of amazing and to throw all of my talents and passions into one medium was magical.”
– Adam Munnings, filmmaker and Film Production HE Certificate alumnus
Is this programme for you?
You should be interested in some or all of the following:
- Refining your creative skills and artistic voice.
- Making work that adds to the current conversation.
- Understanding the ‘why’ of filmmaking, not just the ‘how’.
- Approaching a problem from a range of angles in order to solve it.
- Making work that contains your fingerprint.
- Developing an understanding of every ingredient that brings a film to life.
- Leading projects in the film industry.
- Creating universes.
The Film Production courses will open up many potential career paths for you. If you complete the first year of study, you will have the skills needed to work as a technician (for example, editing or working a camera) in a freelance context. A deeper dive into the full three years opens up many more routes.
Creatively leading a project is what you will be best prepared for, either as the screenwriter who invents the universe or as producer or director who brings the universe to life. Your understanding of fundamentals across the board will prepare you for a role as editor, sound artist, production designer, cinematographer or media artist. You will also have the ability to fit into specialisations if necessary, including various positions in a film crew, such as assistant director, managing electrics or gaffer. You will also be in a position to work within film distribution or as a media creator who specialises in software or plugin design. You may opt to explore a career as a film critic, festival programmer/curator or work within teaching.
Self-development and creative leadership
However you measure it and whatever artistic realm you are working in, most creatives would like to achieve success with their creative endeavour. There are many types of success an individual may want to achieve, from successful completion of an artistic exploration all the way through to financial security and a global audience.
There are many skills required to develop these dreams into real and practical futures. Our optional Self-Development & Creative Leadership course is the ‘rocket fuel’ which will provide you with the frameworks, the focus and the drive to help realise your future.
Gain an understanding of how to take decisive action and communicate powerfully with others, and take an honest look at how you limit yourself. Develop the leadership skills needed to complete your creative project, bring your work into the external world and attract an audience to share, appreciate and follow your work.
Our tutors are industry-acclaimed experts in their field, with a passion for passing on their knowledge to others.
“The privilege of studying Film Production was completely life-changing. It really helped me be able to express myself and pursue my passion. It was also a career decision that really allowed me to forge relationships that I will always have with me.”
– Helena Marinho, producer and Film Production alumna
All applicants will be asked to provide: personal and educational information, documentation of their education experience, a portfolio and a personal introduction.
Your portfolio should contain a film you have created or a totally new project in response to one of the following prompts:
• Show abuse of power on the smallest possible scale.
• Use sound instead of visuals to depict a massive disaster.
• Make us fall in love with a terrible person.
We welcome work in any genre and are more interested in your ideas and general approach than in a highly polished end result, which should be 3 minutes or less. If the running time is longer or you would like to share more than one project, please make a selection of which part(s) you want us to view or edit them into a showreel clip. For projects created collaboratively, be sure to specify your role in the production. For the personal introduction, please record a short video telling us:
• What film ideas do you have?
• In what contexts do you place your filmmaking or creative work (i.e. artistic, social, historical)?
• What inspires you?
• How do you hope to benefit from the Film Production programme at Catalyst?
• How do you see your contribution to the Catalyst community?
• What does teamwork mean to you?
Recording on a smartphone is fine, what’s important is that you answer all the questions and we get a sense of who you are. This can be uploaded as an audioclip, too. Upload your film to an online streaming platform (such as Youtube or Vimeo) where we can view it directly.
Minimum entry requirements
- Standard entry: graduation from high school at a level which would normally permit entry to university in the country where it was gained. This would be A-Levels in the UK and the Abitur in Germany, for example.
- Non-standard entry: We recognise that not all education happens in the classroom and it may be possible to admit you through a non-standard access route. If you do not possess the required formal qualification, but have acquired relevant professional or life experience, please contact our Admissions team.
- Language: The language of instruction in all our courses is English and applicants must demonstrate a level equal to IELTS 6. We do not ask for official exam results, but we will assess the standard of English in your application and support materials.
For more information, please contact our Admissions team and we’d be happy to discuss your opportunities to come study with us.
Course dates and application deadlines
Course start: mid-September 2024
Applications for entry to our courses in 2024 will open on Friday 1 December 2023.
Our application deadlines for entry to our courses in 2024 are as follows:
- Deadline for applicants requiring student visa: Friday 29 March 2024
- Priority deadline: Friday 5 April 2024
- Final deadline: Friday 31 May 2024
- Late applications: From June 2024 onwards
All international students requiring a visa to study in Germany should apply by Friday 29 March 2024.
If you do not need a student visa, we strongly recommend that you apply by our priority deadline (5 April 2024) for your best chances of securing a spot on your chosen course.
We only accept late applications from those who do not need a student visa. If the course is full, you will be added to a waiting list.
Tuition fees (2024 entry)
We offer two ways to pay:
- Single Payment Option:
Enrolment Fee* €895 + Tuition Fee €11,855 = €12,750 per year**
- Instalment Payment Option:
Enrolment Fee* €895 + Tuition Fee 10 instalments x €1,285.50 = €13,750 per year**
* Enrolment fee is non-refundable. It is due every year as part of the total annual fee.
** BA degree = 3 years x total annual fee.
If you decide to enrol in both a Summer Short Course and an undergraduate course (HE Certificate or BA) with us, you will receive a discount of 500€ on the total tuition.
Open days, Q&As and taster workshops
Get a feel for Catalyst and our courses at a range of both online and in-person events. Join us at a Virtual Open Day or an Open Day at our campus in Berlin, chat to our programme leads at Meet The Tutor, or try a taster workshop.
In the end, it’s our students’ work that counts. Take a look at a selection of recent examples below.
Behind the scenes
Stories from our creative community