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  • Together for Gender-equality

    Roadmap for gender equality – German film schools initiate change for a better industry

    Berlin, 20 February 2018 – Representatives of the major German film schools took the podium at their 68th Berlinale reception to address the invited media, presenting a joint position paper entitled “Weichen stellen für Gender-Gerechtigkeit – Die Filmhochschulen als Wegbereiter für eine bessere Branche” (‘A Roadmap for Gender Equality – Film Schools Pave the Way for a Better Industry’). The press talk was attended by the patroness of this year’s film school reception, Dr. Maria Furtwängler. Furtwängler also initiated the Rostock University study “Audiovisuelle Diversität? Geschlechterdarstellungen in Film und Fernsehen in Deutschland” (‘Audiovisual Diversity? – Gender Representation in Film and Television in Germany’). The film schools were represented by Prof. Bettina Reitz (HFF Munich), Simone Stewens (ifs Köln), Prof. Susanne Stürmer (Filmuni Potsdam-Babelsberg), Prof. Thomas Schadt (Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg), Katharina Tebroke (dffb Berlin), and Prof. Frank Döhmann (KHM Köln).

    The German film schools have joined up to act “Together for Gender Equality”. The aim of this joint initiative is to generate an awareness of gender representation in film, to empower women for the movie business, as well as to signal, within university structures: The thought and work performed here is gender-equitable.

    If we live gender and diversity, already during our film education, and instruct appropriate ways of dealing with any abuse of power, we can set the course for an industry that may, hopefully soon, be able to do without #metoo. With regard our students’ audiovisual story-telling, we must furthermore  support projects that constructively question existing structures and stereotypes, and that focus on ways of dealing with power abuse and gender equality.

    Plus gender paper (pdf)

  • Anniversary year 2017 and outlook for 2018

    In 2017, HFF Munich celebrated its 50th anniversary / 2017 – a successful German series year, with significant contributions from HFF alumni and students / Host university for festivals, award ceremonies, and industry partners / Debuts for Katja Eichinger Scholarship and C. Bernd Sucher Award / First film workshop for young refugees / Numerous festival starts and awards / Film meets art – exhibitions for media art scholarship and the Cinematographer’s Gallery / First series collaboration with TUM wrapped / Information Day and trade screenings, Max Ophüls festival and Berlinale 2018

    Munich, January 2018 – In many respects, 2017 was a special year for the University for Television and Film Munich (Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film/HFF Munich). Not only did HFF commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of its 1967 commencement of film instruction. This year of celebration featured festival invitations, awards for student films, old and new collaborations, and thousands of event visitors – topped off by our major contribution to the widely celebrated 2017 harvest of German television series. Here are some of our 2017 highlights:

    50 YEARS OF HFF MUNICH – A week of celebration
    For an entire week, HFF Munich celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of our commencement of film instruction in 1967. The formal commemorative ceremony, and a following grand party, was only the beginning: For a Süddeutsche Zeitung-sponsored Kultursalon with film director Dominik Graf, we revisited HFF Munich’s first school premises, a Schwabing villa just a stone’s throw from the English Garden. The anniversary program also included a large film retrospective and the annual HFF Open-Air Student Showcase in the university's central courtyard. Thousands of guests – media professionals and politicians, as well as the general public – took this rich and varied opportunity to join us in celebrating our fiftieth anniversary.

    In series
    The media are celebrating 2017 as the year German showrunners finally showed they have the stuff to play in the top international TV league – with such productions as BABYLON BERLIN, DARK, HINDAFING, 4 BLOCKS, and YOU ARE WANTED. These series all had HFF alumni or students among their core team members.

    HFF Munich: host university of festivals and numerous other events
    In 2017, HFF Munich again had the honor of serving as host university, collaboration partner, and event venue for all the major Munich festivals, including KINO DER KUNST, DOK.FILMFEST, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, SERIENCAMP, and FILMSCHOOLFEST. In addition, HFF Munich provided the venue for such other key industry events as the ANIMATION MEETING, or, for the first time, the presentation of the YOUNGCREATIVES FILM AWARDS for short film projects by children and youths, who have lost one or both parents. The Nicolaidis YoungWings Foundation helps grieving youngsters to deal with their sorrow in film workshops, Among the numerous film professionals lending volunteer support to the project are HFF alumni Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg.

    Berlinale 2017 – Films, awards, and a study
    HFF student Felicitas Sonvilla’s TARA ran in the Berlinale section Perspektive Deutsches Kino. And the Blaue Blume Award, presented by Romance TV for nearly ten years to the most romantic Berlinale short, went to VISCH, by HFF student Lukas Baier. Another Berlinale attention-getter was “Geschichten und Filme kennen [keine] Grenzen” (‘Stories and Films Know [No] Bounds’). The HFF Munich co-initiated study – an examination of program diversity at the Berlin International Film Festival – revealed an obvious need for change, also with regard to the percentage of female directors in the international competition section.

    Premieres: First recipients of Katja-Eichinger Scholarship and C. Bernd Sucher Award
    HFF Munich mainteins numerous valuable, and often enduring collaborations with industry partners dedicated to promoting story development and/or films, through either awards or scholarships. In 2017, we added the Katja-Eichinger Scholarship, for a distinguished graduation screenplay. The first edition of the €4,000 scholarship went to HFF’s Student Oscar® winner Alex Schaad. 2017 saw another first: the C. Bernd Sucher Award. Named after the founding professor of our extension study program Theater, Film and Television Criticism – taught at HFF Munich in collaboration with the Bavarian Theater Academy August Everding – the €3,000 award went to critic-in-training Maximilian Sippenauer.

    First HFF Munich film workshop for young refugees
    This summer, HFF Munich presented its first film workshop for young refugees. The project was initiated by HFF President Bettina Reitz, together with the Kirch Stiftung and film director Dirk Schäfer. The workshop, supervised artistically by Student Oscar® winner Alex Schaad and his fellow HFF student, DP trainee Ahmed El Nagar, was managed by Elena Diesbach. Actress Maria Furtwängler supported the workshop, acting in the short films. The trailer presenting the workshop results was screened at the International Festival of Film Schools.

    HFF makes art
    HFF Munich is a breeding ground not only for cinematographic works, it fosters photographic shows and media art, as well. On the fourth floor of HFF Munich, for example, Professor of Cinematography Tom Fährmann has founded a new art space: the Cinematographer’s Gallery. Its regular shows of photographic works by HFF students and instructors have become an additional magnet, beyond the usual film screenings – increasingly enticing visitors to Munich’s Kunstareal museum quarter to add a visit to HFF. 2017 also featured the final show of the annual media art scholarship, awarded by the Kirchstiftung foundation, together with Ms Regina Hesselberger. This year, HFF documentary film student Susanne Steinmaßl presented her media art installation, entitled THE FUTURE IS NOT UNWRITTEN. At the heart of Steinmaßl’s show was a smart film about artificial intelligence and trans-humanism – its endless narrative permanently driven and fed by a learning machine, with a constant protagonist: a female avatar that asked the audience questions about the future of being and human existence.

    New advertising spot on our own behalf, and award-winning commissions
    For its fiftieth anniversary, HFF Munich also treated itself to a new image spot, FIGHT FOR YOUR IDEAS. The spot is available online (, as well as at numerous Munich theaters, including the City Kino and the Mathäser Kino. In addition, HFF Advertising students created a variety of other advertising shorts – either so-called “spec spots” (uncommissioned, speculative works, most of them playing, authorized, with real brands) or commissioned productions. The 2017 output included spec spots for Porsche ( and Heineken (, as well as commissions for a crystal meth prevention campaign (, and for the Bavarian Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Family Affairs, and Integration (

    First series collaboration between HFF Munich and TUM
    For many years, TU Munich has been an important partner of HFF Munich, in such areas as gaming and architecture. But in 2017, the first cinematic, or rather serial, collaboration between the two Münchner universities bore fruit: the web series TUM – TÄGLICH UNTER MÄNNERN (‘Daily among Men’). €50,000 from the FilmFernsehFonds (FFF) Bayern helped fund the series, which featured Maria Furtwängler and Alina Stiegler in the leading roles. The idea behind TÄGLICH UNTER MÄNNERN was twofold: to whet the appetites of young women and girls aged 14 to 17 for the so-called MINT (Mathematik, Informatik, Naturwissenschaft, and Technik) subjects: mathematics, computer and natural sciences, and technology – while also debunking the various clichés linked with them. Series director and HFF Munich alumnus Sebastian Stojetz, who had developed TÄGLICH UNTER MÄNNERN (working title) for his February 2017 diploma, shared the screenplay credit with Madeleine Fricke; while fellow HFF Munich alumnus Helena Hufnagel handled production, under her COCOFILMS banner. As executive producer, HFF Producing Department student Elena Karbe rounded out the TUM team.

    HFF on tour & Lovelace film evenings
    Since Bettina Reitz took the helm as HFF president in October 2015, HFF Munich has regularly gone on tour, visiting various cinemas throughout Bavaria to screen the latest HFF cinematic achievements and hold filmmaker/audience discussions.
    Another 2017 premiere was an HFF Munich film evening at the newly opened Lovelace Hotel, Munich’s largest and most exciting “pop-up project”. For the Bavarian cinema tour, as well as the Lovelace Hotel collaboration, new dates are in the making for 2018.
    Festival invitations and awards
    In 2017, HFFers once again presented numerous films, TV advertisements and series episodes at national and international festivals, winning a variety of awards. For a review of these successes, visit our website, or check us out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

    OUTLOOK 2018: The first dates, first festivals, first series

    Information Day & HFF screenings
    On 20 January, HFF Munich once again opened its doors for an entire day, granting potential students, as well as the general public a look behind the scenes of our film school, as well as an opportunity to enjoy our students’ cinematic work in one of the HFF movie theaters.
    At the Trade Screenings a few days earlier, on 16 and 17 January, some 600 invited guests viewed the current crop of student work, while taking the opportunity to network, on site, with our young film talent.

    Max Ophüls Preis, Bavarian Film Awards & Berlinale
    Eleven HFF Munich film projects were screened in the various sections of the Max Ophüls Film Festival in January 2018, nine of them in competition. And HFF hopes ran high at the Bavarian Film Awards and the Berlinale 2018.

    More series to come
    The celebrated series year 2017 focussed anticipation on HFF Munich serial output in 2018 – with the next projects already in the pipeline. Both ACHT TAGE, by Michael Krummenacher (director), and NEUE SUPER (production) for Sky have wrapped. The FFF green-lighted funding for the TV series project SERVUS BABY, by Natalie Spinell, who completed the pilot as her HFF Munich graduation project. And new episodes are currently in post-production.