Experimental and Personal Filmmaking

Course Title: Experimental and Personal Filmmaking

Organiser: EFS Film School

Tutor: Rouzbeh Rashidi

Duration: Five days

Date: The masterclass is scheduled from September 9th to September 13th, 2024.

Location: The masterclass will take place at the "Institut für West-Östliche Musik e.V.," located at Badensche Str. 12, 10715 Berlin, Germany.

City: Berlin, Germany.

Course Introduction:

'Experimental and Personal Filmmaking' is an intensive, immersive program conducted on-site over a period of five days. This comprehensive course provides a deep dive into the history of alternative film and video, diverse artist practices, and innovative methods. Furthermore, it equips you with the necessary knowledge to kick-start your journey into creating your own unique experimental film practice.

Through a combination of viewings, poetic and philosophical lectures, engaging discussions, and insightful readings, students will gain an understanding of how filmmakers and artists, utilising film, video, and digital media, have experimented with moving images to push the boundaries of the medium and their perception of the world around them. The course will delve into how seminal films and filmmakers explore the material and conceptual possibilities of film and video, thereby reshaping our understanding of what film can be.

In addition to a detailed examination of the images in these works, students will also pay close attention to the role that sound design has played in enhancing the impact of these creations. By analysing the form, content, and context of these pieces, students will gain a clearer understanding of how experimental filmmaking has led to the creation of lyrical, idiosyncratic, and aesthetically radical work. This analysis will provide a stimulating foundation for students as they embark on creating their own experimental work.

The course focuses on fostering the emerging importance and relevance of personal and lyrical experimental moving image-making and practices. It addresses the paradox of the often unseen presence of moving images in modern life and the unsettling sociopolitical audio-visual landscape of the 21st century. The course emphasises the notion of the moving image as a personalised 'memory' and 'perception', subject to continuous reordering and updating, thus nurturing an understanding of its significance.

Learning Outcomes:

The course finds its roots and draws inspiration from Rouzbeh Rashidi's Homo Sapiens Project, a continuous venture into the realm of cinematic experimentation and a dream machine for filmmaking. Initiated in the year 2000, this innovative project has undergone a series of radical reinventions over the years, experiencing both extreme systematic evolution and simultaneous devolution.

This initially idiosyncratic laboratory of experimentation has garnered broader resonance and relevance due to its profound exploration of the personal existential human condition and its interplay with societal constraints. As a result, several tangible and theoretical outcomes will emerge from this course.

Research into specific filmmaking practices and techniques will culminate in the creation of individual and collective moving image works under expert guidance. This exploration will not only deepen the understanding of experimental filmmaking but also provide a hands-on experience in creating such works, thereby preparing students for their future endeavours in this field.

Artist's Choice:

Since the turn of the millennium in 2000, Rouzbeh Rashidi has meticulously crafted a radical practice in experimental moving images. His work is a deep dive into personal vision, transforming the mundane spaces and individuals he encounters daily into a phantasmagoric journey that pushes the boundaries of cinema's transformative power. These images evolve into personalised 'memories', acting as curators for both self-identity and perceived reality.

The Homo Sapiens Project (HSP), an ever-evolving initiative, represents the most consistent manifestation of this process. This distinctive 'film diary', which began as a 'laboratory' of cinematic forms, has shown an uncanny connection to concerns that have risen to prominence with the current surge in moving images and film production. It underscores the heightened existential implications of personally-generated moving images, their indispensable role in navigating isolation, alienation and crisis of identity, and their potential to reimagine space, memory, and time.

It also raises an intriguing question: how can one maintain an effective filmmaking practice when the traditionally industrial and conventional act of filmmaking fails to induce poetic and transcendental sensory experiences? The course aims to amplify and extract such qualities, focusing on the lyrical, ethereal, and sensory potentials of experimental filmmaking.

Rashidi and HSP have always regarded filmmaking in this light, treating it as a vital instrument for personal exploration. This perspective, along with the exploration and impartation of this ethos, will form the cornerstone of this course.

General Guidelines:

This course is designed to cater to a broad range of participants, including artists from diverse disciplines, filmmakers, creative individuals, and anyone seeking to gain a novel understanding and practical approach or enhance their existing skills in experimental cinema and artists' moving image practices. We warmly welcome and encourage all levels of experience.

It's essential to note that this course profoundly differs from a traditional filmmaking course. Traditional courses tend to focus on fundamental filmmaking tools, techniques, scriptwriting, storytelling, and similar aspects. However, this course intentionally bypasses these basic approaches. Instead, it delves deeply into poetics, philosophy, and intuitive mental strategies, fostering a lifelong journey of living and creating within the experimental film practice. The ultimate goal of this course is to create an intensely personal environment conducive to crafting poetic cinema.

Please be aware that sessions will not include instructions on camera operation or editing skills. Instead, we place our trust in each participant's intuition and creativity in employing their means of production.

Participants will need access to a device capable of shooting video, such as a smartphone or a similar device. Likewise, participants will be required to use basic video editing software programs, for example, a smartphone editing app or any equivalent program on a MAC or PC. Participants who are comfortable working with more professional cameras and editing software and have access to more sophisticated equipment are also welcome to utilise them based on their requirements.

Benefits, Methods and Topics of Teaching:

Participants will develop their ability and methodological, lyrical and intuitive skills in expressing themselves through sensory and audio-visual artistic approaches.

The tutor will monitor the students on a highly personal and unconventional level regarding how to shoot, record, edit and work on their materials and make their films. Our student body is composed of individuals from various backgrounds and experiences. While some are established filmmakers with numerous films under their belts, others may encounter cinema and filmmaking for the first time. Regardless of their initial expertise, all students will learn how to reinvent and reimagine themselves and their working methods, setting sail on a journey towards an intensely poetic vision.

Provided reference materials, including films, essays, books, and web links, will serve as invaluable resources. Furthermore, students will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns collectively as creators, fostering open discussions about their projects, themes and concepts.

Participants will gain insight into numerous critical dialogues related to the production and distribution of contemporary experimental cinema. They will learn to incorporate these ideas into their work through practical tasks, thereby enriching their artistic practice. Additionally, the course provides exclusive access to materials from a series of internationally acclaimed film artists currently associated with the Experimental Film Society.

Perhaps most significantly, each student will create and take home a collaborative film and a meticulously designed cinematic group project. These artistic mementoes from the course will prove invaluable, serving as creative touchstones in their future audio-visual practices.


Rouzbeh Rashidi has dedicated years to the development and refinement of his performative lectures, screenings, and discussions. These events have evolved over time, reflecting his continuous quest for innovative teaching methodologies. As one engages with his teachings, it becomes evident that the essence of exploration is central to Rashidi's filmmaking process.

His work is an ongoing journey of thought and creation, intertwined in such a way that the fundamental concepts of cinema organically surface. Consequently, these performative lectures should be viewed as a glimpse into an evolving work-in-progress that continually accumulates energy and momentum rather than as a definitive proclamation.

Rashidi articulates this sentiment by saying, "I embarked on my filmmaking journey in the year 2000. From day one, I was consumed by a singular concept: exploring what cinema could represent in the new millennium. This question has been a driving force, propelling me to experiment and scrutinise consistently within my filmmaking laboratory. While I may not fit the traditional definition of a teacher, at my core, I am a filmmaker and nothing more. Nonetheless, I impart my ideas and filmmaking techniques to provide context and support for both my work and the work of others. Moreover, I find immense value in developing literature and teaching methods that provide insight into my craft."


Day 1: Welcome Reception and 'Concepts of Cinema and Cinema Thoughts': An immersive performative lecture

Day 2: Unfolding the 'Experimental Film Society Statement': A comprehensive performative lecture

Day 3: Detailed Screening, Insightful Discussion, and Engaging Talk centered on the Films of Rouzbeh Rashidi

Day 4: Hands-on Experience in Shooting, Sound Recording, and Editing an 'Exquisite Corpse Collaborative Film'

This collaborative film creation is inspired by a poetry game, a concept deeply rooted in the Surrealist/Dadaist Movement. Since 2020, Rouzbeh Rashidi, together with his students, has produced one such collaborative film during each of his workshops and courses, marking the culmination of the classes. Rashidi has established a unique set of rules, methodologies, and stylistic approaches to guide the creation of the film. Each participant will contribute a segment to the final film, which will be showcased and critically discussed upon the conclusion of the course.

Day 5: Finalising the editing and premiere Screening of the 'Exquisite Corpse Collaborative Film'


Age Requirement: You must be at least 18 years old to enrol in this course.

Language: This course is conducted in English. Language Code: EN-GB

Tuition Fee: Total Cost: €900 (One-time payment only), excluding accommodation arrangements.

Hours: The daily schedule runs from 10 AM – 4 PM, inclusive of several breaks and a lunch period

Availability: Minimum of 6 participants, Maximum of 20