I’m fortunate enough to have already completed a degree in Theatre, Film, and TV that allowed me to focus a lot of my studies on film. However, this was ten plus years ago, and was 60% practical, 40% academic, so whilst I know some film theory pretty well, I don’t really have a wide well of films to draw from. After I graduated I tried (and failed) to gain employment in the practical film world so my inability to tell the nuances of one director from another wasn’t a huge problem.
Fast-forward a couple of years and I am living in Germany without a job and writing for free on a film site that covers mainstream films (something I am not lacking in knowledge about!) when I get the opportunity to attend the 2015 Berlinale. Of course Malick, Wendes, and Herzog are film school staples, and I was very familiar with their respective oeuvres, but I had shamefully never heard of the Golden Bear winner Jafar Panahi before, or even the much more mainstream Bill Condon (who was there for Mr Holmes).
Feeling a bit like a fraud I resolved to educate myself a bit more in my chosen field and fit in films at the festival from far and wide, films that I would never have heard of if I hadn’t been there. I adore films, but why limit myself to the mainstream?
After being more than pleasantly surprised, I looked into doing a masters here in Frankfurt upon my return. University fees are incredibly cheap in Germany when compared to the UK system, however to study at the famous Goethe University, I would not only have to get my German up to University level (a mammoth task in itself), but learn an additional language alongside. As I certainly do not have a flair for language, I passed on this opportunity and searched the web for ideas. Thankfully, I discovered this article on filmmakeriq.com with heaps of information on it. What caught my eye in particular was the free M.I.T. courses with videos of certain lectures, and written material and assignment questions too.
So now I really have no excuse. I hope to do one of these lectures or assignments each week and will write about them here for better or worse!