German Film and Television Academy Berlin

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The logo of the German Film and Television Academy Berlin, newly introduced in 2018, which, in contrast to the previous version, uses capital letters to write the abbreviation DFFB

The German Film and Television Academy Berlin ( DFFB ) is a film school that is run as a non-profit company with the State of Berlin as the sole shareholder. It was founded in 1966 in the Federal Republic of Germany . The DFFB is located together with the Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art e. V. , the Arsenal cinema and the Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum for Film and Television in the Filmhaus in the Sony Center on Potsdamer Platz .

History and legal form

The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Willy Brandt , opened the Academy on September 17, 1966 in the rooms of the Germany House of the SFB . In the less successful cinema of the post-war period, the promotion of young talent should now come into play. When it was founded at the end of the 1960s, the DFFB was heavily influenced by the political turbulence of the time and is considered a typical Berlin construct. In the following year after it was founded, the student body and the management increasingly clashed. The will for political agitation was clearly in the foreground. In the 1970s, the DFFB gained recognition primarily through documentary films . It was not until the 1980s that narrative films played a bigger role.

In 1993, under the new management of Reinhard Hauff, the way of working was "professionalized" to the effect that there was more cooperation with television broadcasters and film productions. Scriptwriting and production were added to the directing and camera courses.

From January 2006 to July 2009 Hartmut Bitomsky was director of the DFFB. From September 2010 to September 2014 it was headed by Jan Schütte .

Between autumn 2014 and spring 2015 there were numerous inconsistencies and protests in the appointment process for a successor to the director's position among the students and lecturers as well as among the academy's staff. Fundamental criticism of the appointment procedure was also expressed in the form of open letters from the Association of German Film Critics and the Federal Camera Association (BVK), which summarized:

“The fact that the managerial function of this institute steeped in tradition is now being reached deeply into the box of manipulative tricks is not only scandalous, it is shameful. The Association of German Film Critics has written a fire letter, which our professional association also supports. It cannot be accepted that the arbitrary state overrides the constitutional basis of cultural institutions in an overbearing manner. There were suitable applicants in the official procedure. There are - except perhaps political - no reasons beyond the process to impure a "suitable" candidate. "

- Michael Neubauer, BVK management

Responsible for the appointment procedure were the then head of the Berlin Senate Chancellery Björn Böhning ( SPD ) and the DFFB board of trustees, which is made up of officials from television and film funding and a representative from an American film distributor . It was also noted as problematic that, according to the DFFB statutes, members of the Board of Trustees are “not allowed to enter into business relationships” with the DFFB.

With daily vigils at the Rotes Rathaus, two well-attended panel discussions, support lists with renowned signatories, protests, including at the Berlinale and in press releases, the students, who also speak on behalf of some of the DFFB lecturers, achieved that the public became aware, all of Berlin's major daily newspapers and individual radio stations finally reported on the case and a decision was long prevented. When in March 2015 the producer Ralph Schwingel , who was the new director of the academy , wanted to meet students, lecturers and employees of the DFFB for an initial discussion, around 25 students, representing the entire student body, blocked access to the building so the around 50 present to cumbersome provisional conversation situations in the basement of the film house.

In addition to the unsuccessful approach and an appointment procedure, which Schwingel himself describes as "suboptimal", students and lecturers complain about the complete lack of transparency. For example, it was reported from members of the Board of Trustees that Schwingel's application, which he said was only addressed in January, was reportedly dated back to autumn 2014. This was later confirmed by Schwingel himself in an interview with the Berliner Tagesspiegel . On March 15, 2015, an interim injunction against Schwingel's potential appointment was reached in court.

At the end of June 2015, a completely new application process was opened by the State of Berlin. Representatives of the students and lecturers are now also heard in the decisive final session of this procedure; they have the right to speak, but are not entitled to vote. The essential requirement that candidates introduce themselves within the academy beforehand was met; to protect face, this process is called "event" in the announcement, not a trial lecture, as is otherwise customary at universities.


The DFFB provides up to eight study places per year for training in the subjects of directing, image design / camera and production; up to ten students are admitted to the script academy. The selection for filling the study places takes place in a multi-stage selection process. At the beginning of their studies, students must have reached the age of 21.

One of the basic principles of the DFFB is film cannot be taught, film can only be learned . There is a generalist basic training for all subjects in the first year at the academy, in which all students, regardless of whether they are screenwriting, cinematography, production or directing, each have to perform various tasks such as camera and directing , such as film production management . Only then is the course divided into the individual faculties. The affiliated script academy concentrates entirely on script work from the second year of study.

The academy focuses on the strongly practice-oriented course. Leading lecturers are currently: Christoph Hochhäusler for direction, Michael Bertl for image design, Anna de Paoli for production and Ellis Freeman for the script academy. In addition, a large number of freelance lecturers teach at the DFFB in the various disciplines who are actively involved as filmmakers in practice. Top-class, international filmmakers are invited to master classes and special seminars. B. Claire Denis , Agnes Godard , Pedro Costa , Apichatpong Weerasethakul and many others. Full-length feature films and documentaries are co-produced through intensive cooperation with television broadcasters.

At the start of the course in 2019/2010, the DFFB announced the integration of the previously externally financed script academy as a subject in the DFFB and the start of the postgraduate program NEXT WAVE (“the first European advanced training program for film exploitation and audience development”).


The DFFB is financed by the State of Berlin , represented here by the Governing Mayor and the Senate Chancellery. A unique result of the politicization phase was the triple-parity membership of the committees (until the student council resigned in November 2011); this differentiated the DFFB from all comparable film schools.


In the film academy ranking of the news magazine Focus (issue 22/2006), the DFFB, together with the international film school cologne and the KHM Cologne , took second place with 76 out of 100 points, after the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy (78 points). In addition to the reputation of the university, the supervision situation of the students, the technical equipment and the number of prizes won were an evaluation criterion.

Helene Schwarz Prize

The long-time secretary of the DFFB, Helene Schwarz (* 1927), treasurer of the development association and student advisor, is the namesake of the Helene Schwarz Prize , which was launched on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the DFFB. The prize has been awarded every two years since 2006 for outstanding film productions.

Directors of the DFFB

Well-known graduates and students

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Peter C. Slansky: Film schools in Germany. History - typology - architecture . edition text + kritik, Munich, 2011. ISBN 978-3-86916-116-7
  2. Tilman Baumgärtel on "The role of the DFFB students in the revolt of 1967/68"
  3. ^ Open letter from the Association of German Film Critics
  4. ^ Open letter from the Federal Camera Association, March 9, 2015
  5. Jan Schulz-Ojala: Scandal about the appointment of the new director. March 16, 2015, accessed October 14, 2019 .
  6. artechock film: SPECIAL: DFFB - For now, no new director. Retrieved October 14, 2019 .
  7. Christiane Peitz: Who will be the director of the DFFB ? In: Der Tagesspiegel , March 5, 2015.
  8. artechock film: SPECIAL: Cinema Moralia - Episode 101. Accessed October 14, 2019 .
  9. a b c Rüdiger Suchsland: artechock film: SPECIAL: DFFB - For now, no new director. March 19, 2015, accessed October 14, 2019 .
  10. Focus: Film | News | DFFB dispute continues to escalate. Retrieved October 14, 2019 .
  11. ^ Frédéric Jaeger: The questionable replacement of the dffb directorate. In: March 5, 2015, accessed October 14, 2019 .
  12. Jan Schulz-Ojala: Even Jesus Christ would not have a chance here. Ralph Schwingel gives up. In: Der Tagesspiegel. March 24, 2015, accessed March 24, 2015 .
  13. Hanns-Georg Rodek: Democracy is only played here . March 16, 2015 ( [accessed October 14, 2019]).
  14. Bert Rebhandl: A man to the taste of the film industry In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , March 18, 2015.
  15. dffb-now, communications from the student body, from June 28, 2015
  16. Application, general ( memento of the original from August 10, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. Ernst-August Zurborn, DFFB In: Jan Berg, Knut Hicketier (Ed.): Film production, film funding, film financing. Ed Smigma, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-89404-912-X
  18. Start of studies in 2019: Integration of the script academy as a subject in the DFFB and start of the postgraduate program NEXT WAVE. In: DFFB - Press. October 14, 2019, accessed October 14, 2019 .
  19. Focus Ranking of the Film Schools Edition 22/2006
  20. ^ Jan Schulz-Ojala: German Film and Television Academy Berlin. Brit Ben Gibson takes over film school , in: Der Tagesspiegel , October 16, 2015
  21. Tom Kimmig web business card at AGDOK

Coordinates: 52 ° 30 ′ 34 ″  N , 13 ° 22 ′ 24 ″  E