Bernie Stampfer • Head of studies, European Film Business and Law MBA
“This master creates a high-quality basis for the continuous expansion of expertise”
- The master’s course run by the EPI offers an opportunity for audiovisual professionals to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the European film business and legal landscape
The European Film Business and Law master’s course, run by the Erich Pommer Institut (EPI), offers a unique opportunity for professionals working in the audiovisual industry to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the European film business and legal landscape. We spoke to the course’s head of studies, Bernie Stampfer.
Cineuropa: In the rapidly evolving film industry, what significant developments do you foresee posing major challenges for film and audiovisual professionals in the coming years?
Bernie Stampfer: With the progressive convergence of film and TV/streaming, and the increasing need for high-quality, competitive and globally distributable products, a fierce battle for IPs and their successful and mostly capital-intensive development has broken out, and with it, a similar battle for showrunners, writers, directors and talent in general. The small and medium-sized production companies are in great danger of going under in this global battle.
Considering the upcoming challenges, what specific skillset do you believe is essential for professionals to master in order to navigate and overcome these industry hurdles?
There are some huge challenges: having an absolutely clear view of “what markets want and need”, being able to recognise mostly very rapid market changes, having the financial and creative possibilities to react successfully, having access to intellectual properties or actually originating them, gaining access to talent, possessing a high degree of understanding of all legal matters, and having enough financial resources to be noticed at all. All of this together cannot be managed by one single person, so the creation of a highly competent team is absolutely essential.
What makes this programme unique? From your perspective, why should film professionals and lawyers apply?
For some time now, further training has no longer been a luxury that can be afforded from time to time. Continual training is an absolute sine qua non and must be undertaken more and more frequently. This master creates a high-quality basis for continuous expansion of expertise, presented by leading experts from the industry.
Could you provide any insights into the key elements of the module for which you serve as the head of studies, “Solving the Financial Puzzle”? What knowledge and skills can students gain from this module?
For many decades, the European film-financing system has been evolving into a highly complicated spider’s web of diverse financing schemes. This module includes all of the questions about project financing, corporate financing, corresponding legal classifications, and topics such as bank and cash-flow financing in the national, European and also international arena. Questions about distribution and (international) sales, plus a comprehensive analysis of the existing market participants, round off the programme.
What personal takeaways do you have? How has this experience shaped your understanding of the film industry and how it intersects with business and law?
It became obvious that the hunger for detailed, specialist knowledge was also huge for those master's students who had been working successfully in their professional fields for many years. The academic "master" (MBA/LLM) title is certainly a valuable attribute, but strengthening personal competitiveness in an exponentially developing digital environment is undoubtedly the second essential component.
Professionals seeking to advance their careers in the continuously evolving film industry, and those interested in gaining a deep understanding of both the business and legal aspects of the European film industry, can get more information on the programme and submit their application here.
The deadline for applications is 31 July 2023. EPI will also award a scholarship, which will cover 50% of the tuition fee costs, to one prospective student. The next information session is planned for 13 June at 5 pm. You can register free of charge by clicking here.
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