Werner Herzog Launches Rogue Film School

Only $1500 for a date with Werner Herzog.

Okay, so it’s not quite a date… well it is, if you date a large group of people all at once, and there’s no sex, but things definitely get a bit intimate and weird. It’s probably a lot more exciting than a date – it’s Werner Herzog’s rogue film school! At the fresh price of $1500 for a three day seminar, I find myself questioning who would be crazy enough to pay that for a weekend, but at the same time wondering how I’m going to be able to stop myself from submitting an application.

Checking out Werner’s website, the about section features a strange yet typically Herzog-style set of rules (Dogme 95 movement anyone?). The film school will not teach anything technical related to film making – in fact students are prohibited from bring laptops or recording devices of any kind – instead it’s ‘about a way of life. It is about a climate, the excitement that makes film possible. It will be about poetry, films, music, images, literature.’

Topics covered include ‘How do you sensitize an audience’, ‘how do you produce and edit a film’ and ‘How do you create illumination and an ecstasy of truth’ but for those rogues out there it will also cover the often overlooked subjects of ‘the art of lockpicking. Traveling on foot. The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully. The athletic side of filmmaking. The creation of your own shooting permits. The neutralization of bureaucracy. Guerrilla tactics. Self reliance.’

I think this whole concept is making me love Werner more, as if that’s even possible – we’re talking about a man that ate his own shoe, featured in Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely as a priest encouraging nuns to sky dive sans parachute, pulled Joaquin Phoenix out of a car crash and insisted on continuing an interview even after being shot with an air rifle.

Werner also warns that in his film school ‘There will be no talk of shamans, of yoga classes, nutritional values, herbal teas, discovering your Boundaries, and Inner Growth.’ And that most importantly ‘Follow your vision. Form secretive Rogue Cells everywhere. At the same time, be not afraid of solitude.’

The inaugural film school seminar will be taking place in January in LA and is currently accepting applications. You have to submit a film you have shot and edited yourself and be prepared to shell out the $US 1500 fee for the seminar.