The goal of the Netherlands Film Academy is to promote the artistic quality of film, television and new media productions. In general this involves stimulating the development of the discipline and the telling of stories in the cinematographic tradition. The academy trains students in the narrative tradition for artistic films, creative documentaries and high-quality interactive productions. The programme´s specific strength lies in training specialists in eight disciplines for the purpose of producing a film in mutual cooperation. The Netherlands Film Academy wants to offer its students the baggage that will enable them to become expert artists and artisans with an artistic vision who are able to turn their original ideas into high-quality film and television productions.
The Netherlands Film Academy is the only film academy in the Netherlands and teaches highly qualified specialists to convert their ideas into a story by working together in teams on high-quality productions.
The Netherlands Film Academy promotes working with colleagues instead of an 'island culture'. The school also dares to make changes instead of persisting in tried and tested methods by keeping in contact with colleagues at other film academies rather than holding onto customary conventions at their own academy.
The Netherlands Film Academy also finds it important that the permanent staff continues working in professional practice so that they also pursue their own development.
Based on the findings of the students and the (guest) lecturers, the curriculum is revised each year where necessary and possible to ensure that the highest possible standards are maintained.
Changes in the curriculum in the last five years
Cooperation between production, directing and screenwriting has become much loser in recent years. During the third year of the course, for example, in a weeklong workshop held at an external location, a team consisting of a directing student, a screenwriting student and a production student develop ideas for graduation films. Sound design, production design, visual effects and camera students are included early on in the process. They participate in the development phase and thanks to their input they share responsibility for the content of the film projects. To promote these joint ventures, workshops and classes have been included in the curriculum in which the emphasis is placed on the interfaces between two or three disciplines. In this way students learn at an early stage how to utilise each other's strengths and work together efficiently. Over the years many more small exercises have been added to the curriculum. Often these exercises take place within a lesson during which the students have to perform all the tasks of the crew. Other exercises include students from other academies, such as theatre academies. Various commercial exercises have also been added to the third and fourth year of the curriculum.
Finally, the cooperation with professional practice has been reinforced. In principle, all graduation projects are accepted by the public broadcasting company. This means that each production receives a certain amount of funding and that the broadcasting company may give advice at certain times. This is not in the form of an assignment by any means. The films are broadcast on television each year between May and September under the title Filmlab. The academy is especially pleased with the considerable facilitating sponsoring received from the professional field and it also has access to a large number of interesting internships.
The academic year is not divided in any specific way. It starts at the end of August / early September and ends at the end of June / early July.
From the second year, 90% of all classes and exercises are geared to the chosen specialisation. Students learn to work together on a set in their own discipline and attend theoretical and practical classes in their own subject.
Cooperation between the various disciplines is a very important part of the curriculum. From time to time, junior students assist senior students in their own discipline.
In principle, the students take the theoretical subjects and assignments as presented in the classes of the discipline of their choice. However there are exceptions to this rule. A personal study plan can be agreed with the students when it turns out that circumstances do not permit the student to complete the course within the set period of time, while the student is regarded as having sufficient qualities to continue attending the classes. Another possibility for a semi-personal curriculum is when a student, supported by the course leader and the lecturers, submits a request to this end to the board of examiners. For example if a student wishes to interrupt the course temporarily. Students are also supported as much as possible in their choice of internships and coaches in terms of their personal learning goals and individual wishes.
As the course progresses, students get greater possibilities for working on projects in which they are particularly interested (subjects, genres).