Make your own stories come to life

T
his department offers a versatile and creative course of study in the fields of writing and directing for the screen. You'll learn various methods for developing your ideas and writing scripts for feature films, shorts, television and other visual media. You'll also receive extensive training in directing your own scripts as well as those of others.

The curriculum lays the necessary foundation for you to become an author in the field of filmmaking. Graduating students from the department receive a diploma with the title "Filmmaker – With Special Concentration in Writing and Directing". With this training and knowledge our alumni are prepared for jobs with film production companies, television broadcasters, advertising agencies and publishing companies, among others.

We're looking for very creative individuals who have both the talent and the enthusiasm to tell stories through visual means.

Preview of Films

Department 3 prepares you for the following jobs

  • Casting director
  • Director
  • First Assistant Director (first AD)
  • Screenwriter
  • Script Development Executive
  • Script Editor
  • Script Reader
  • Script Supervisor (aka continuity)
  • Second Assistant Director

Courses
Dramatic feature 1 | BÍÓ 103

In this workshop course the students work under the guidance of an instructor on the development of an idea for a feature motion picture. The structural elements of feature screenplays are also analyzed. The students write and turn in a 8-10-page story treatment for a full-length feature.

Directing 1 | LST 103

This course examines the role and position of the film director as the actors’ instructor and collaborator; the relationship between actor and director, the basis of that relationship and how it is most likely to be as successful as possible. Emphasis is on the fundamentals of training where students are introduced to the technical training for the actor’s craft, rehearsal and characterization methods, the inner life and what form it takes in the types and behavior of characters.

Laws and rules | LOR 104

This is a first-semester beginners’ course and introduces students to elements of dramatic narrative all the way back to Aristotle. Students are introduced to the main theories and textbooks of screenwriting as well as being taught how to format a screenplay. The class is partly a workshop under the tutelage of an instructor where each student works with a short film concept and develops the idea into a 7-minute script. This script is then produced in the the course LOH 106 later that semester.

Different TV genres | TLS 102

Different standard genres of dramatic TV series are examined: Sitcoms, crime series, family dramas, etc. Students work on this kind of material in groups under the tutelage of an instructor in a so-called writers’ room and gain in this manner insight into dramaturgy, dramatic structure, character development and the TV series format. The course is a precursor of LSÞ 104 in the 2nd semester where students write a pilot for a dramatic TV series.

Ideas 1 | HUG 101

The student is introduced to the curriculum ahead. His or her mind is exposed to original solutions in the world of film. The student is also taught how to organize his or her ideas.

Visual narrative 1 | MFA 102

This course addresses the form and nature of visual storytelling. Specific examples from films are analyzed with regard to proportional representation, perspective, composition of sequences and the signs and symbols they convey. There is also a practical side to the course where students have the opportunity to film their own scenes. In addition the director’s preparatory process before a shoot is examined, inter al. that making of shot lists.

Thesis project 1 | LOH 106

Students direct a narrative short based on the script they wrote in LOR 104. Emphasis is placed on students acquiring experience in directing a script based on their own idea and developing a feeling for film as a narrative medium.

Equipment and technique 1 | TÆK 106

This is a first-semester beginners’ course and the goal is to teach students the basics of film production and the use and application of filmmaking equipment. Furthermore the fundamentals of visual language are reviewed.

Collab. btw departments | SAM 101

Each semester students from all departments must earn one credit in collaboration with other departments. The goals is that each department is ensured access to the other departments and to establish a thriving relationship between the departments.

Film history 1 | KMS 102

Some of the greatest works of film history are introduced, screened and discussed. Ten movies are shown each semester, a total of 40 movies. Each semester represents a section of film history. The movies are screened mostly in a chronological order from the silent era well into the late twentieth century.

Dramatic feature 2 | BÍÓ 202

This is a 2nd-semester continuing course and the goal to have the students develop an idea for a full-length feature which will prove useful in BÍÓ 306. The goal is to have the students hand in a 4-6-page treatment following a thorough preparation of the structure of the story, character development and narrative method.

Directing 2 | LST 205

This course continues to explore the main principles of film directing with particular emphasis on working with actors. Mainly through practical, hands-on training, students are introduced to a variety of methods and tools that can be of value when directing actors. The students learn how to plan their own work process meticulously through exercises with both acting students and professional actors.

Dramatic TV series | LSÞ 104

Drawing on the synopses students wrote in TLS 102 as a point of departure they write a draft for a dramatic TV pilot based on their own idea. The students work under the guidance of an instructor and collectively in a so-called writers’ room.

Documentaries | HEH 102

The course examines various and different forms of documentary films, their origin and history. A special emphasis is placed on examining different methodologies. The idea development and screenwriting process are investigated, the artistic choices in the shooting and post-production process. The students must come up with an idea for a documentary, conduct research and write a short documentary script subsequently to be produced later that semester in the course LOH 206.

Art history 1 | LIS 102

This course provides an overview of art history with a focus on the relationship between film and painting What can film learn from painting? Examples from various periods of art history are examined. Examples from the history of film serve to illustrate the close relationship between films and certain paintings or artists and how paintings can be of use to filmmakers and inspire their films.

Film Grammar 2 | MFA 202

This course continues to examine film grammar methodologically with visual examples and practical exercises. Visual narration, symbols, messages and more complex visual examples are reviewed in addition to delving further into the director’s preparation process. The students complete two projects during the course.

Thesis project 2 | LOH 206

Students direct a documentary based on the script they wrote in HEH 102 earlier in the semester.

Equipment and technique 2 | TÆK 204

This course is in continuation of TÆK 106. The goal is to further strengthen the basic technical knowledge of the students in the main fields of filmmaking. Each student then makes a film showcasing a personal style and the student’s skill in his or her field of interest. The film should be able to serve as a promotional calling card for the student.

Collab. btw departments | SAM 201

Each semester students from all departments must earn one credit in collaboration with other departments. The goals is that each department is ensured access to the other departments and to establish a thriving relationship between the departments.

Film history 2 | KMS 202

Some of the greatest works of film history are introduced, screened and discussed. Ten movies are shown each semester, a total of 40 movies. Each semester represents a section of film history. The movies are screened mostly in a chronological order from the silent era well into the late twentieth century.

Dramatic feature 3 | BÍÓ 306

In this course the student expands his or her treatment from the course BÍÓ 202 into a full-length feature screenplay (85–100 pages).

Directing 3 | LST 303

This course continues the work which has formed the basis of previous directing courses. Students further develop their own methods of working with actors. Also introduced are the main trends in film acting and directing. The course project consists of rehearsing scenes from film scripts, directing actors through the scenes and recording them. The relationship between the actor and the camera is examined and the principles of blocking, eye-line matches and the effect of camera position on performance are introduced. The course examines other key principles of film directing, such as the director’s relationship with the cameraman and other close collaborators.

Play/stage | SVI 104

This course is conducted as a workshop in collaboration with the Acting Department. Screenwriting students further develop different texts and monologues improvised by acting students under their instructor’s guidance. The writers then hand in a completed script which the Acting Department stages as their final project.

Adaptation | AÐL 102

The process of adapting previously published printed material into cinematic form is examined. The fundamental differences between the literary and cinematic form, which must be taken into consideration and understood during the process of adaptation, are investigated. A host of adaptation examples are evaluated and analyzed and a special emphasis placed on adaptation in the history of Icelandic film. The students must complete a project and in addition write a 7-10-page script based on a previously published text. The students subsequently film their scripts later that semester in the course LOH 306.

Art history 2 | LIS 202

A review course with emphasis on the relationship between film and painting. What can films learn from painting? Emphasis is placed on 20th century art. The students complete a project (posters) with clear references to trends and vogues in 20th century visual arts.

Thesis project 3 | LOH 306

The students complete a short based on a script written in the course AÐL 102 earlier that semester.

Visual language and its use | MYN 104

A look at visual language and composition by viewing and analyzing film scenes from various periods. The students stage a film scene in consultation with instructors and examine the visual language impacts narrative progression and the audience’s experience of the film.

Collab. btw departments | SAM 301

Each semester students from all departments must earn one credit in collaboration with other departments. The goals is that each department is ensured access to the other departments and to establish a thriving relationship between the departments.

Film history 3 | KMS 302

Some of the greatest works of film history are introduced, screened and discussed. Ten movies are shown each semester, a total of 40 movies. Each semester represents a section of film history. The movies are screened mostly in a chronological order from the silent era well into the late twentieth century.

Dramatic feature 4 | BÍÓ 405

In this course the student works under the guidance of an instructor on a first-draft rewrite of his or her screenplay from the course BÍÓ 308.

Directing 4 | LST 404

This course is linked to the graduation project where the director’s choices in each individual project are jointly examined and viewed both from the standpoint of the screenplay and the director’s personal stance. Students are expected to use the methods they have previously acquired and developed with regard to directing actors and constructing visual narratives.

Ideas 2 | HUG 202

The course offers support for the thesis project. Various methods of idea development are employed to strengthen the script for the thesis film.

Elective| VAL 102

The department head selects a course in a field where he or she feels that the students need additional knowledge, e.g. cinematography, editing, production or post-production sound. He or she does this after consultation with the students at the beginning of semester.

Production | FRH 102

The role of the producer and different aspects of his or her job are examined. The motion picture process from concept to final distribution and the role of the producer and production manager at various production stages are thoroughly explored. The main funding methods and types of contracts in the filmmaking world are introduced. Also examined are the fundamentals of copyright. The course is linked to the thesis film process in course LOH 408.

Thesis project 4 | LOH 408

This is an individual project where the student writes and directs a 8-12 minute short. The project is also the student’s graduation piece and great emphasis is placed on ambitious craftsmanship in all production aspects. The student him- or herself is the main supervisor over the project and is responsible for directing and writing the film but is encouraged to have a smoothly functional and professional production team and crew bringing all phases of production to a satisfactory standard. The students work under the guidance of an instructor.

Contemporary filmmaking | SAT 102

This course covers contemporary filmmaking What trends and vogues have been prevalent during the last decade? What is happening right now and what does the near future hold in store? The course emphasizes student participation in finding answers to these questions. Each student makes a presentation with film samples where he or she discusses contemporary influences and artists.

Collab. btw departments | SAM 401

Each semester students from all departments must earn one credit in collaboration with other departments. The goals is that each department is ensured access to the other departments and to establish a thriving relationship between the departments.

Film history 4 | KMS 402

Some of the greatest works of film history are introduced, screened and discussed. Ten movies are shown each semester, a total of 40 movies. Each semester represents a section of film history. The movies are screened mostly in a chronological order from the silent era well into the late twentieth century.

Contracts and rates | VER 102

This course is intended to prepare students for entering the work force. The establishment of companies, the most common types of job contracts are examined as well as the responsibilities they entail for contractors and clients or employees and employers. Fees and taxes which have to be accounted for are studied, such as VAT, pension funds, union memberships, etc. The students work in groups and develop their own business plans. The course also covers project management, project planning and applications to competitive funds. Examples from the Icelandic audio/visual industry will be considered specifically.

“My time in The Icelandic Film School was great . I learned from the elite in the business and formed an invaluable relationship with the people I work with today”

Lovísa Lára Halldórsdóttir, Gratuated spring 2014
“My years in The Icelandic Film School where excellent ., I got to know how vastly experienced screenwriters and directors, at the school , approached there business and I immediately adopted the methods that I knew would improve me as a filmmaker”
Snævar Sölvi Sölvason, Gratuated spring 2014