“We are an internationally acclaimed film education institution, the only one of its kind in the Netherlands”
Industry Report: European Film Schools
Mieke Bernink • Lecturer, Netherlands Film Academy
Our conversation focused on the main opportunities offered to prospective students by the Dutch film school
We chatted to Mieke Bernink, a lecturer at the Netherlands Film Academy, to discuss the main learning opportunities it offers to prospective students. The Amsterdam-based institution is part of both GEECT (European Grouping of Film and Television Schools) and CILECT (International Association of Film and Television Schools).
Cineuropa: What is your school’s main teaching mission? What are the main benefits of attending it for prospective international students?
Mieke Bernink: The Netherlands Film Academy trains students to become leading, resourceful film professionals. Our starting point is telling stories in line with cinematographic tradition. Besides the big screen, current developments and possibilities regarding alternative platforms and distribution opportunities also have a pertinent place within our education. The development of creativity, urgency and innovation within the principle of storytelling forms is the backbone of the school. The Netherlands Film Academy offers students a learning environment where they can, at the highest level possible, acquire knowledge, skills and experience in the craft of filmmaking. A central part of our mission is the individual development of the student within a set learning route.
We are an internationally acclaimed film education institution, the only one of its kind in the Netherlands. The school and its alumni have significant influence on Dutch film and media culture, and contribute to the international development of our cinema culture. Recently, one of our graduation films, titled Why Didn’t You Stay for Me? and directed by Milou Gevers, won the Gold Medal in the International Documentary category of the Student Academy Awards, also known as the Student Oscars. And our Visual Effects and Immersive Media department ended up in the top ten of the Rookie Awards’ Best Visual Effects Schools in the World.
What type of study programmes do you offer?
Our bachelor programme is open to international students. However, it is taught in Dutch and the required language level should be B2, according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Artistic research is explored in our Master of Film programme. It offers a select group of filmmakers, and visual, media or other artists, the opportunity for further personal and professional development within an investigative, highly demanding and internationally orientated, practice-driven setting. This two-year international MA, called Artistic Research in and Through Cinema, is a non-consecutive course for a select group of no more than ten filmmakers or artists with at least a couple of years’ professional experience behind them and an inspiring research question that stems from their artistic practice. It offers them space to develop themselves in the context of a learning community and a research environment, characterised by peer feedback, a non-hierarchical relationship between students and teachers, and a tailor-made support structure, made up of core teachers and external advisors coming from the professional world. Graduates of the programme are awarded the MA title of Master of Film, and the course is taught in English.
Do you provide any scholarships?
There are some financing possibilities for EU and EEA students. Full-time bachelor and master students, who have an EU or EEA country nationality, can apply for one of the financing options available on this website.
How should a student prepare for admission?
Students applying for our MA should harbour a desire to research and experiment, to question what they do and why, to be open to unexpected input, and be interested in innovations in their fields of interest. As researchers, they should be both independent and collaborative, and have their hearts set on making a difference. The course is open to all moving-image makers with a bachelor’s degree. This includes not only a degree in film or any of its sub-disciplines, but also in the field of visual arts, digital media or performance arts. Potential candidates are, however, expected to have at least three or four years of practical experience under their belts. Applicants who do not hold a bachelor’s degree, but who do have five years of relevant experience, may also apply. An additional skills test may be required in this case.
Anyone interested in the MA programme can attend our information evening on 24 November 2021 or visit our website for further information.
How are you adapting your teaching and other study activities owing to the pandemic?
Owing to the pandemic, we taught and met our researchers online over the last academic year. This was not an ideal situation, because live meetings and group interactions are the most important components of the Master of Film programme. We postponed the start for our new group of researchers to September 2021 so that we could offer the course as intended, live at the academy.
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