Interview with the School Behind Student Film JAGON

by Hugh Brownstone1 Comment

Our recent post on the student film JAGON created a bit of a stir. We thought the story was deeper than just the equipment, and reached out to Der Film Akademie Baden-Würtemmberg, producer of the film, for a follow-up Skype interview.

We sat down with Tommi Lechner (Head of Operations) and Guido Lukoschek (Coordinator for International Relations) to learn more about the academy, its mission, its approach, and its relationship with government and industry. [bctt tweet=”Tuition: zero. Zilch. Nada. Zip”]

It was illuminating — and we liked them both very much (Tommi, Guido — thank you).

Perhaps the most interesting point of the entire interview is the profound difference in how government, schools and industry collaborate in Germany and the U.S. The circumstances in the two countries are different, of course, but it’s fair to write that the German system is a fascinating and credible alternative to the U.S. approach – and one from which we might learn.

And, oh, yeah: tuition for their four year-program is free.

As in: zero. Zilch. Nada. Zip.

And the employment rate upon graduation (depending on specialty) is up to 85%.

With real money.


Apologies in advance for the sub-par audio. Yes, Skype blows – but my lack of preparedness for this fact blows even more. Again: sorry (next time we'll dual source the audio at each end and use headphones or buds).

We hope you get all the way through it, because there truly is food for thought throughout – along with a couple of laughs. Audio improves at 6:30.

0:48: Introductions
1:34: “Tell us about the Film Akademie”
2:10: “Learning by doing”
3:30: “The Film Akademie is a state-run, publicly financed school. Why?”
4:22: “The school had to emulate a film industry in a nutshell.”
5:08: “What is the relationship with broadcaster SWR?”
6:29: “How do you approach internships?”
7:56: “How many of your students have jobs upon graduation?”
10:10: “What are the positions students train for?”
10:50: “So: let’s talk about the student film JAGON.”
11:47: “But so many cameras?”
12:15: “Tell us about your students.”
12:35: “Tell us more about the curriculum.”
14:19: “Do the students specialize immediately?”
14:54: “Is there student housing as on most American campuses?”
15:23: “Wait, what? No tuition fees?”
15:30: “Are you SHITTING me?”
15:42: “Who actually gets in?”
16:42: “Sounds pretty rigorous – and selective.”
17:11: “What is a typical starting salary for your graduates?”
17:48: “Do you take American students?”
18:19: “What are the Film Akademie’s ambitions?”
19:26: “Transmedia”
19:59: “Not to be a cultural imperialist or anything, but do you know what jagon means in English, and do you think maybe you should change the title?”
20:21: “But really, guys: 12 REDS, 2 Alexas, and 20 GoPros? Aren’t you spoiling yourstudents?”


planet5D interview with der Film Akademie Baden-Würtemmberg

planet5D writer Hugh Brownstone recently did a post about the student film JAGON which employed 12 RED cameras, 20 GoPros, 2 Alexas and a Phantom. It generated a lot of blowback in the U.S.

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

Hugh Brownstone

Hugh is the founder of Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions. He and the team write, direct, shoot, score, and edit web-centric films; conduct photo shoots; and write copy, white papers and blog posts. Hugh also writes screenplays (he recently optioned a TV pilot) and just published his first eBook (Apple's iPhone: The Next Video Revolution). If it's about telling stories, it's in their wheelhouse.

And always with the ambition of authenticity, humanity and wit.
Hugh Brownstone


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