The blank canvas. This is not the starting point for creation at the Norwegian Film School.
One can, very roughly and if one squints just right, identify 4 main types of film schools.
Programmes found at many universities worldwide, but predominant in North America and the UK. Built on theoretical, academic courses in combination with practical, artistic courses. The emphasis shifts from school to school.
Very practial and focussed on training students for a career in film, television and related industries.
Emulates the structure found in the professional film industry, with various disciplines working together to create. Focus on developing talents both for a workplace and to be able to contribute to the artistic and technical development of their national film industries.
Other examples include the National Film School of Denmark and the National Film and Television School in the UK.
Focus on the individual artist, using film as their medium
The rules - the constraints - are the starting point in designing the type of education we provide at the Norwegian Film School
Students at NFS are subject to constraints all the way through their schooling. The first, and most predominant, is the constraint of their discipline: directors direct, writers write, editors edit, and so on. Then, each production exercise contains a set of constraints – very tight and rigid at first, more complex and giving room for increased freedom as the students progress and become more confident and experienced.
The school is also subject to a number of constraints, including ties to the film industry, discipline-based structure location, budget, staff structure (with the teaching staff being practicing filmmakers), length of programme, etc. These constraints shape the education, and our challenge is to constantly work to shape an education that works within these constraints to give the students a learning experience that will enable them to enter the ranks of professional filmmakers and make an impact.
We spend many resources on finding students who can flourish under our pedagogic approach. They must be willing to accept filmmaking as a collaborative art, they must be willing to accept that there will be constraints imposed upon them, constraints planned as part of a progression from talented amateur to one prepared to make an artisitc contribution to the world of professional filmmaking. The approach is not right for everyone.
We are, for better or worse, the dominant film school in Norway, and a leading one internationally. I expect criticism from many sides – and our job is the take that criticism and see what we can use it for in order to improve.
2017.04.03 creation through constraints - kunstnernes hus