The Filmmaking Studies postgraduate explores all aspects linked to the creative process of coming up with the idea for a film or audiovisual work, and then experimenting, developing and materialising it, while at the same time searching for one's own unique voice.
It offers theoretical, non-standardised film training, combined with the opportunity to participate in a rich environment of creative thought and reflection and to develop a personal project using a customised system of tutorials that adapt to each student’s preferences and the requirements of their project.
The specialist area therefore forces students to engage in ideation processes (subjectivity), explore different working methods (systematisation), experiment (specific formal search) and conceptualise and materialise a project.
From the origin of images to the civilization of cinema
The Filmmaking Studies master’s degree responds to the question of how to train a filmmaker with another question: how can we forget everything and find our way back to film through the specific knowledge provided by working with our hands? The Filmmaking Studies itinerary constitutes an experimental methodology that addresses both issues: forgetting and sensory and technical knowledge, in addition to control of the means of production, in a journey divided into three stages.
The process begins with the Avant-Garden subject-river. Garden film and art proposes the adoption of a new principle, a commitment to what truly prompts people to make films and an effort to leave behind the prejudices that blind us to images. The concept of garden, with all the contradictions that this entails, functions here in the symbolic dimension, but also in the methodological one, as a proposal for working with rigour, consistency and hope, just as the gardener does. During this first stage of the journey, the need to return to craftmanship from the perspective of technical skill, but also on the basis of the rigour of work and imagination, is patent. The next stage of the course immerses students in this ocean: the ocean of methodologies of creation. Thanks to a filmmaker in residence, the course enters a period of reflexive calm, so that students can enjoy the creative experience of other filmmakers. It is a transition between an initial stage characterised by a period of creative thought and exploration, and an acceleration stage that comprises the third phase of the teaching period and is known as the Kinofabrika. Focused mainly on final projects, the Kinofabrika encourages students to work on their films not on the basis of ideas themselves, but rather on that of their materialisation, from the production limitations, from the images and sounds already made, from the making, from the faces already identified, from the places that the camera will inhabit.. Based on these ideas about sensory and technical knowledge, the Kinofabrika proposes viewing production as a means of creation based on limits and limitations.
From Avant-Garden to the Kinofabrika, this is the journey proposed by the Filmmaking Studies Master’s degree: from the origin of images to the civilisation of cinema.
The course is coordinated by filmmaker and teacher Matías Piñeiro (Buenos Aires, 1982).
The art of aberration. Concepts of aesthetics and the theory of cinema
Module: 1, 3
This is a subject that analyses aesthetics focused on the specific forms of cinema. The aim is to provide an introductory approach to fundamental questions about the theory of cinema, from a non-diachronic perspective and with an intentionally relational gaze, searching for connections and links with other art forms and philosophical questions. The subject aims to lay the groundwork for certain concepts that will be developed, explored in more complex depth and/or contradicted in other core subjects. We will study questions such as the difference between imaginal and imaginary, notions of realism and representation, the dichotomy between tongue and language, and approaches based on phenomenology and reception theories. From a methodological perspective, the aim is for all issues to emanate from the formal operations of cinema itself at the limit of its own existence. In the context of the subject, this search is identified as ‘the art of aberration’. The term is used with the meaning given by theorist Jurgis Baltrušaitis in his discussion of the peculiar and specific legend of forms, their deformations, their masks and their monsters.
The map of the (three) archives
Sonia García López
Module: 1, 3
This subject offers EQZE students the opportunity of taking on an exploratory role (creative, researcher, curator) within archive-related film and audio-visual practice, bearing the three tenses of cinema in mind: the past, linked to memory; the present, linked to action; and the future, linked to planning and foresight. This philosophical proposal aims to prompt students to think about historical and contemporary cultural and political problems from the perspective of the conceptual framework offered by the concepts of profanation (Giorgio Agamben) and the creative act (Gilles Deleuze).
Unfinished cinema. Political drifts of film culture
Pablo La Parra
Module: 4, 5
This course poses a series of historical, methodological, and theoretical reflections to interrogate the political dimension of film culture. It takes as a central case study a heterogeneous set of radical practices developed in the Sixties and Seventies of the twentieth century, which we will approach under the concept of "militant cinema", understood in an expanded sense. At this period, film culture experienced one of its most convulsive periods of radicalization on a global scale: in the heat of the struggles of the "long '68" and a series of crucial technical developments, the ways of making, thinking, and sharing moving images were transformed. The course proposes to critically revisit the archive of militant cinema and interrogate how these images of the past continue to reverberate in the present and how we relate to them through the tools of research, archiving, curating, and creation. The course does not aim to present a chapter in the history of cinema, but rather to become an exercise in methodology and thought that overflows its case study to delve into the interrelations between theory and practice, aesthetics, and politics, past and present.
Thinking historically about film. Opening up images, writing a story.
Module: 4, 5
Opening up images means making them talk in the present tense through an appropriate act of reading that adheres to their complex singularity in order to build, patiently, a meaning that combines seeing with knowing. We will reflect on the performative dimension of cinema images in relation to the construction and understanding of a story about the past, along with its ethical, aesthetic, and political consequences. Secondly, we will explore some of the instances involved in the writing and transmission of a history of cinema: from the politics of the canon to programming, paying special attention to the fundamental role played by film and cinema archives in ensuring the recognition of films as works of art and part of our heritage. For some decades now, museums have also been another key element for ensuring their existence as a field for experimentation, a reciprocal and complementary movement between cinema and museum, in which the former has found an alternative to traditional production and exhibition channels, and the latter has discovered the opportunity to rethink itself through this interruption. We will evoke that movement linked to the contemporary cinematographic experience and will end up asking ourselves about the forms of a cinema that is separate from its traditional technological device.
History and aesthetics of Basque cinema
This course suggests an approach to Basque film. Beginning with an historical contextualization in order to provide the background of the birth and development of Basque film up to the present time, it will carry out a chronological and thematic review of the history of Basque film and will present the most notable Basque filmmakers from its origins to the present day, with particularly close attention to the three (or more) generations of Basque filmmakers who are currently active.
Avant-Garden. The Film and Art of the Garden
This subject combines the skills, abilities and methods of the good gardener: careful observation of the environment, walking, selecting a territory, cultivating hybrids and exotic species, grafting and editing, waiting, imagining the passer-by/spectator, projecting a film for the future, taking it out of the hothouse and, when spring is on the way, placing it back in its natural surroundings. The subject includes sessions of theory and analysis, fieldwork and individual tasks, because ultimately, the work requires the filmmaker to commune with the place. Students on the Filmmaking course will have to propose, produce, make, edit and exhibit a film, a garden of images and sounds that will be placed back in nature at the end of the winter. The subject is articulated through the participation of five teachers throughout the first months of the course, as the film gardens take shape.
Project 0. Introduction to photochemical images
This course will bring students closer to the basic tools and techniques for filming in analogue and digital format combining theory and practice: lighting, colour, photometry, optics, and camera. We will assemble the filming equipment in 16mm and super 8, load film and review the material available in EQZE. The course will also serve to clarify the doubts regarding the rules of use, reservation of equipment and availability of film during the course.
The photochemical image I. Black & White and colour development
The subject offers a basic introduction to the procedures involved in developing black-and-white and colour film by hand. Through theory and practice in developing different types of film and processes, the subject looks at the photochemical material during processing in the dark room. Students will learn about the chemical treatments and the alterations suffered by this type of material, in order to understand its qualities, its physical and aesthetic performance and its deterioration. We will process material shot in the school.
Filmmaker in residence
This project arose out of a filmmaker’s four-week stay at EQZE. The philosophy of the programme is to combine support for creating a filmmaker in residence, immersed in a specific project, with the creation of a space for mutual learning, intergenerational transmission, and joint cinematographic research between students of film creation and the filmmaker in residence.
The Filmmaker’s Residence is organized around the reflection on the methodologies of creation. In the first week, the filmmaker shares his or hers. In the second week, the approaches to film creation of the students are discussed. In the third week, the filmmaker talks about the methodologies of a director he or she admires and considers a reference.
Against the bank page: other approaches to cinematographic creation
The course aims to present a creative method based not on the written word but rather directly on shots. The idea is not to avoid a film script, but rather the conventional process of producing a film. A blank page and individual work are replaced with an experimental audio-visual laboratory method which generates rapprochements, dialogues, trials, sketches and other hybrid formats, postulating that the pathway to a film is in fact the film itself.
‘Technique has a bad name,’ wrote Richard Sennett. ‘It can seem soulless. That’s not how people whose hands become highly trained view technique. For them, technique will be intimately linked to expression.’ Based on these ideas about sensory and technical knowledge, about ‘the hands of the filmmaker’, Kinofábrica proposes viewing production as a means of creation based on limits and limitations. Zinefabrika is an extended workshop on the films we can make, because the most important thing is to do by learning and to learn by doing. Focusing on students’ end-of-course projects, the workshop analyses ideas and films from the perspective of production, taking for granted that this task is also an act of creation. At the end of the day, the aim is to ensure that students’ films are the result of the circumstances of the present, and by doing so, to lead a more general change away from clichés that view production as the simple execution of a standardised plan that is similar in all films. From this viewpoint, Zinefabrika explores issues linked to budget, funding, team building, shooting plans, the compilation of dossiers and production strategies.
Permanent observatory of sound
Module: 1, 3
The Observatory is involved throughout the first semester of the academic year, providing a space for training, practice and research in sound. In addition to pre-established themes, it can also adapt to the specific needs of group members at any time, linking into practical work and projects under development.
Module: 1, 4
This course, which takes place throughout the academic year, seeks to confront students with the nature of their film and the methodology of approach. Where does your film come from? What is it about? What emotion is it trying to arouse? Can it be told in images? How does the author want the spectator to feel at the end of the screening?
From these and other issues, the course is intended to initiate – or get back to, in some cases – the processes of reflection and development of the work process that will culminate in the film. The course basically foucses on three points: first, working with the Starting Point or origin of the film as the soul of the creative journey; second, the need to expand the scope of this journey from concrete elements capable of adding complexity and depth to the film and, finally, the concreteness of the project from the writing stage.
Film and video in the space of contemporary art
An in-depth look at the exhibition of film and video in contemporary art spaces. A journey through different institutional or organisational contexts, both local and international, reflecting the cultural impact and political implications of the diverse displays over the decades. In addition to the historical approximation, it will address aesthetics, circulation of works, spectators, blind spots and practical issues of film and video exhibition today in museums, galleries, biennials or other unconventional spaces.
The art of Primitive Emulsions
This workshop looks at the production of home-made photochemical emulsions. Although it is based on film archaeology, it explores many contemporary creative questions. It is a workshop for those interested in the history of materiality, although it will also appeal to filmmakers curious about film not just as a means of storing their ideas, images and soundtracks, but rather as a material that actively forms and distorts these ideas, images and sounds.
This course begins from a simple but radical proposition: to take seriously what filmmakers themselves say, write and reflect upon when they talk about films. Not as explanations of their own work, but as general propositions or theories about cinema itself. In summarising the positions of many, diverse filmmakers, I will survey notions of art and craft, the creative process, ‘statements of intention’, and the vocation or destiny of the medium.
The other film camera
Module: 3, 5
In the origins of film, the cameras used to record images were also used to project them. The operator who worked the crank to capture the moment was also the person in charge of making the gear turn so that, once developed, the images could be projected onto a screen. At what point did these two functions (and these two cameras) separate? And, above all, what were the consequences of this? Why is it that the profession of projectionist is now (and has been practically since the mechanisation of the reel drive and the creation of distribution circuits) so far removed from that of camera operator? The statement made by Henri Langlois, founder of Cinématèque Française, that his film camera was his projection camera, highlights the importance of reclaiming the art of projecting.
Module: 3, 5
The subject aims to prompt a reflection on language, performance and action, both in their specificity and in relation to the limits that define them. Special attention will be paid to the meeting points between different knowledge areas of artistic practice, the exploration of register and performance, action, the indicial quality of the performative register and its transformation into other languages, from drawing to sculpture, text, documents and video, etc.
The starting point for our work will be students’ processes in relation to their own work. This will enable the definition of a landscape that will allow us to become aware of the body as a sign, as well as the positional value of language and its performative dimension. The embodiment of corporal signs, sounds, words and their transformative and political potential.
Contacts: cinema, video, and art in the Basque context
This subject focuses on the audio-visual of artist in the context of the Basque Country. It takes as its starting point the fluid relationships of the moving image and the displacements between cinema and artistic practices, especially those that take places in the art system: museums, art centres and galleries, or in the outskirts of the cinema itself. Based on a series of case studies, viewings, outings and guests, the subject examines the local landscape of audio-visual creation.
Open digital sources for audio-visual archives
The class begins with an introduction on file formats. Building on this the students will practically explore free and open-source software, such as FFmpeg (for in-depth file transformation), QCTools (for quality control), AEO-Light (sound extraction from optical tracks) and DCP-o-matic (DCP encoding), as well as various media players. Resources on infrastructure and workflows for film and video digitisation will be presented and discussed, taking account especially of solutions which can be implemented in difficult environments at little expense. An overview on data preservation and migration, as well as disaster planning and recovery, will round off this class.
Tinting and toning
Right from the very beginning, cinema has always been a colour medium, and many different processes have been developed to add a touch of colour to black and white images. From chemical tints and tones to manual painting, the development of Technicolor and modern emulsions, film has always used colour as a means of artistic expression. In this workshop we explore the original colour of film and the aesthetic possibilities that these techniques offer to filmmakers and artists.
Construction of (audio and visual) universes
This subject specifically addresses all phases of the design and construction of audio universes: ideation, work criteria, relations with images, gestation of projects based on sound, mixing etc. The multisensory power of images and sound. The synaesthetic sensory stimulation of images and sounds and the articulation of their paradoxical power in film.
EQZELab. Professional film laboratory
The last stage in the gradual acquisition of knowledge, skills and abilities linked to the processing of photochemical films. The subject introduces students to the techniques and workflows of a professional laboratory through the practical handling of specific technologies for developing (16 mm colour and black and white), colour correction and copying. By acquiring these practical skills, students also help maintain inter-generational knowledge of the film culture and industry that would otherwise be lost. Furthermore, those on the course can assume responsibility for processing the film materials generated at the school, thereby keeping the EQZELab service active.
Digital processing of images II: Diamant
The DIAMANT film restoration software is a professional solution for film restoration, cleaning and repair. The workshop, which is run by the digital manager of the Catalonia Film Library, teaches students how to optimise their workflow in the digital restoration process.
Conservation and preservation of complex media
This course introduces students to the primary issues and emerging strategies for the conservation/preservation of new media and digital artworks. These artworks go beyond single video or film projections; contemporary artists use a wide variety of audio-visual formats and technologies to create complex installations that are fascinating to study. Examples range from older artworks using obsolete components like TVs (cathode ray tubes) to multi-channel synchronized works, works using game engines or custom code, or works that pull data from the Internet. Complex artworks typically contain many interrelated parts that must be deciphered and documented to ensure the artwork will function in the future in a manner that is faithful to the artist's vision. Students will learn analyse the artworks and to identify potential risks by studying several artworks in the collection of a local cultural institution. They will research exhibition histories, consult institutional files, examine an artwork's actual component parts, and discuss the artworks with museum staff. In the process, a great deal will be learned about the care and conservation of artworks in museums and archives.