About the Programme

What is the Masterschool?

With the perfect mix of workshops, webinars, pitches and extensive networking opportunities, the prestigious Masterschool is a one-stop-shop for non-fiction projects of all media looking for a boost in the European market. Over the course of 10-months, you will be carefully matched 1-on-1 with industry specialists, who will assist in developing, financing and marketing your documentary for public release, whether on the traditional TV market or on new digital platforms. In addition to strengthening your project, the Masterschool provides invaluable wisdom and contacts to fuel your production company for all future endeavors.

The Masterschool offers a unique combination of five rigorous workshops and two webinars with international experts, plus further training events in collaboration with our partners CPH:DOX, DOK.fest Munich, Sarajevo Film Festival, DOK Leipzig and IDFA, ensuring your project is brought to the international stage with extensive networking opportunities. Upon completion of the programme, you'll pitch your fully developed project at the Leipzig Networking Days, where you'll be in direct contact with over 50 international commissioners, funders, sales agents and distributors to get your documentary not only off the ground, but into the stratosphere.


We are looking for…

• All types of factual based content, television series, creative docs, multiplatform, web, VR, short, animation

• All genres, such as history, science, arts, wildlife, natural history, environment or human interest, animated docs etc.

• Great documentary story ideas, suitable for multiplatform exploitation, striving to make an impact

• Stories and characters that can reach global audiences

• Projects experimenting with new formats, which need more shape and new expertise

• Projects searching for a European co-production partner that needs to devise a concrete finance strategy

• Experiments on alternative methods of exploitation and financing (e.g. online-only projects, crowdfunding, VR etc.)


Masterschool 2022

The 22nd edition of Masterschool will have a focus on the Eastern European market, fostering the competitiveness of European films on an international level. With access to the latest digital developments, technologies, and opportunities, the Masterschool 2022 aims to help you embrace a digital shift that affects the whole value chain, boosting the training from your project, to your production company, and out into the world.

Documentary Campus’ core beliefs are infused into the Masterschool:

Green Producing

As sustainability and greening become more and more important, and with an eye towards the European Green New Deal, the Masterschool will offer lectures and case studies on applying green production strategies to mitigate the environmental impacts of film production. In 2022, we will introduce a Green Project Scholarship, awarded to a Masterschool project that deals with environmental issues or a participating company that promotes sustainable business practices.


New Ways of Storytelling

New technologies and platforms influence the way a story is told. The Masterschool will prepare you to face these challenges. Workshops will focus particularly on training and developing new ways of writing, producing, financing and distribution for the changing landscape.


Innovative Financial Models & Alternative Business Opportunities

The Masterschool encourages national and international alliances between filmmakers and decision-makers, sharing knowledge such as legal advice, cost-effective business models and working with sales agents. We also recognize that access to finance is increasingly difficult. The Masterschool aims to help your project stand out in a competitive market, and gain a better understanding of how to make crowdsourcing work for you.


Championing Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Young Audiences and Makers

Documentary Campus values inclusivity, appreciates difference, welcomes learning from others, and considers all people equal without prejudice or favor. We build relationships based on mutual respect. Increasing diversity in the industry is a key focus of the Masterschool workshops, from experts to participants and learnings. In 2022, we will set up the Documentary Campus Business Innovation Zone (BIZ), which will serve as a digital connection hub across all continents for the AV Industry. We also recognize that young voices are the future. We will continue to offer a Digital Mentor, who works with each project to access young audiences through new and online platforms.


Data Analytics and Fact-Checking

In a world of ‘fake news’ and ‘social media research’, non-fiction content is more important than ever. Training at the Masterschool 2022 will emphasise the importance of research, fact-checking and data analytics and how best to avail of factual resources.


Impact and Outreach Strategies

Audiences have grown like never before for the streaming giants, but these data-driven companies can be an enigma when it comes to commissioning. The Masterschool aims to help participants develop and implement innovative and specialized distribution methods to target and enlarge their audiences, how to analyse their own audience data, and then finally how to approach VoD platforms and convince the biggest decision-makers.



Here is what Masterschool alumnus Michael Grotenhoff had to say about the programme:
"With the 2012 developed cross-media project „netwars“, I went unconventional ways in which the Masterschool enabled me to develop not only the project, but also an alternative business model for financing multiplatform projects. This was an enormous help for the whole company, to become sustainable in the radical shift of digital media. The company has reinvented itself as a production partner for high-quality documentaries that stand for innovative storytelling – be it dramatically or technically."

This is a sum-up from our alumnus Peter Middleton and his team partner James Spinney:
"Documentary Campus 2013 was a formative experience for us both, helping us navigate the complexities of developing our first long-form documentary - "Notes on Blindness". The structure of the workshops gave us the time and resources to interrogate the project (including planting the seed for our accompanying virtual reality experience "Into Darkness"), as well as providing an invaluable opportunity to connect us to industry contacts from across the European documentary community."

Alumnus Hansjürgen Schmölzer describes his Masterschool 2019 experience in these words:
“The new contacts I could establish during this programme provide a wide range of new possibilities for further projects and for my production company as such. We are already in in-depth strategic talks with other partners I got in touch with during this programme that will potentially reach way beyond the specific project I developed during the Masterschool."


The Documentary Campus Masterschool offers the Perfect Mix of Networking & Training:


TRAINING

• Selection of 16 European factual projects in development (all genre, all formats)
• 10 months training programme consisting of 5 workshops & 2 additional webinars
• More than 40 International experts
• See our Workshops & Experts page for a detailed outline of the training modules

NETWORKING

• 4 Industry Training Events in collaboration with key industry events (markets & festivals)
• Final Pitching Forum - Leipzig Networking Days
• See our Industry Training Events page for future and past industry events

FUNDERS & SUPPORTERS

The Documentary Campus Masterschool is powered by MDR and supported by

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