Every 2 years, next session in September 2022


Developing a personal cinematographic vision, understanding the filmmaking process and apprehending the stakes of production so as to pave the way for graduates to smoothly join professional circles – such are the main objectives of this programme. This Master course relies on a partnership between ECAL and HEAD/Geneva University of Art and Design and is aimed at the holders of a Bachelor’s degree, or with equivalent experience, wishing to further their knowledge in one of the following fields:

Majors: Direction – Screenplay – Editing – Sound – Production

Rewatch the live information session dedicated to the Master Cinema

Learning objectives


First Year

We give you the keys to:

  • Deepen your knowledge of technical tools relating to image, writing, production and sound, depending on the major: filming in studio sets; direct sound recording and mixing; developing skills in software for sound and editing (ProTools, Avid); script dialogue; exercises on reading sheets; preparation of a shooting plan; etc.
  • Carry out workshop projects supervised by international professionals: research and approaches to documentary or fiction, sound creation, editing creation, work on directing actors.
  • Develop a personal project (concept, writing, production) accompanied by a tutor.
  • Produce and direct a commissioned film (writing and presentation of the project to the commissioning body; shooting in a small team, editing).
  • Enhance your knowledge through theory courses in collaboration with the University of Lausanne (UNIL), the University of Zurich (UZH), the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK) and the Università Svizzera Italiana (USI): film history, screenplay and criticism; media economics, film archiving; methodological and practical approach to film restoration.
  • Meet personalities from the film industry and other artistic disciplines in masterclasses.
  • Participate and collaborate with national and international film festivals. 
Masterclass with Gus Van Sant
Masterclass with Barbet Schroeder
Shooting of "Europa" by Lucas Rubio Martinez, major Direction (produced by Ketsia Stocker, major Production)
Vuk Vukmanović, major Sound, on the set of "Red Jungle". Image Charlotte Muller
Shooting of "Europa" by Lucas Rubio Martinez, major Direction (produced by Ketsia Stocker, major Production)
Diploma film by Lucas Rubio Martinez, major Direction (produced by Ketsia Stocker, major Production)

Second Year

We give you the keys to:

  • Benefit from professional internships in Switzerland or abroad.
  • Participate in the“Great Trip”: film shooting abroad during a trip lasting several weeks in collaboration with filmmakers and film professionals from the country visited (in the past Bela Tarr in Sarajevo, Alain Gomis in Dakar, etc.).
  • Immerse yourself in cross-disciplinary courses and workshops in collaboration with the Swiss Film Archive in Lausanne, RTS/RRS, La Manufacture/University of Performing Arts in Western Switzerland in Lausanne, Haute Ecole de Musique in Lausanne, the Swiss Literary Institute in Biel and La Fémis in Paris.
  • Write a thesis based on the knowledge acquired throughout the course.
  • Put into practice the know-how acquired in a graduation work, depending on the chosen major: directing, screenplay, editing, sound or production.
Great Trip in Dakar, Sénégal
Rencontres du 7e Art Lausanne at ECAL
Lecture by Werner Herzog at Visions du Réel, Nyon
Diploma film – Paul Choquet
Diploma film – Nina Defontaine
Diploma jury
Special Mention from the International Jury to Jorge Cadena for "Sisters Jarariju" at the Berlin Festival
Screening of diploma films at the Cinéma Capitole, Lausanne


Film director of documentaries or fiction, Director of photography, Editor, Sound mixer, Sound engineer, Scriptwriter, Producer, Teacher…

Testimonial from our alumni

Carmen Jaquier
Raphaël Meyer
Klaudia Reynicke
Vuk Vukmanovic

Other alumni

BA and MA Cinema:
Fabrice Aragno, Kaveh Bakhtiari, Claude Barras, Fulvio Bernasconi,
Jean-Stéphane Bron, Frédéric Choffat, Elie Grappe, Blaise Harrison,
Marie-Eve Hildbrand, Nathan Hofstetter, Frédéric Mermoud, Lila Ribi,
Christophe M. Saber, Rafael Sommerhalder, Karine Sudan, Mathieu Urfer....


Lionel Baier (ECAL)
Nicolas Wadimoff (HEAD)

Jasmin Basic

Irene Muñoz (HEAD)
Jules Pourchet (ECAL)

Production and distribution
Jean-Guillaume Sonnier (ECAL)
Professors, visiting lecturers, masterclasses
Elsa Amiel
Claire Atherton
Joëlle Bertossa
Jean-Stéphane Bron
Claire Burger
Joel Coen
Abdel Raouf Dafri
Thierry de Peretti
Philippe Faucon
Emmanuel Finkiel
Amos Gitaï
Delphine Gleize
Jean-Luc Godard
Alain Gomis
Yann Gonzalez
Joana Hadjithomas & KhalilJoreige
Mahamat Saleh Haroun
Mikhaël Hers
Mike Hoolboom
Carlos Ibañez-Diaz
Antoine Jaccoud
Agnès Jaoui
Simon Jaquemet
Tom Kalin
Anurag Kashyap
Alanté Kavaïté
Marthe Keller
Stéphane Kuthy
Julien Lacheray
Rachel Lang
Sébastien Lifshitz

Noémie Lvovsky
Vincent Macaigne
Ursula Meier
Peter Mettler
Valérie Mréjen
François Musy
Bettina Oberli
Jeanne Oberson
Ruben Östlund
Jean-Gabriel Périot
Vasco Pimentel
Pedro Pinho
Nicolas Philibert
Katell Quillévéré
Charlotte Rampling
Joao Pedro Rodrigues
Antoine Russbach
Emmanuel Salinger
Stefano Savona
Eyal Sivan
Béla Tarr
Marianne Tardieu
Jeremy Thomas
Gus Van Sant
Virgil Vernier
Marc Von Stürler
Frederick Wiseman
Katharina Wyss
Andreï Zviaguintsev


Yearly fees (materials included)
CHF 2 225.–

Languages: French and English

Length 4 semestres

Credits: 120 ECTS

Qualification issued
Masterof Arts HES-SO in Film, major in Direction, Scenario, Editing, Sound or Production

Frequently asked questions


What are the qualifications required to register for the admission exam in Master?


  • Bachelor’s degree in the target field
  • Equivalent foreign certificate*

*ECAL evaluates title's equivalences. This procedure being relatively long, a request of examination must be submitted by email to ECAL Secretariat until 23 March 2021 the latest. Request of evaluation submitted after the above mentionned date will not be processed.

What is the Master’s project?

This is a project that can be developed over the course of an applicant’s studies, perhaps in the context of the diploma. ECAL does not, however, expect applicants to submit finalized project plans on registration. Applicants usually submit ideas or outlines that they then develop over the course of their studies.

Is there a limit to the size of the portfolio?

Yes, in that applicants are asked to submit a portfolio that is representative of their recent work. Applicants thus select the work they want to present.

Is it possible to work at the same time as I complete the Master programme?

The ECAL Master programme is full time. The time spent in courses and workshops, along with the hours spent on course-related personal work, leave little time for a student job.

Does ECAL offer French classes for non-French-speaking students?

No, not at the moment.

Can I register for one of the ECAL Master entrance exams if my Bachelor is not in arts and design?

Yes, but only for the Master in Film Studies, which comprises various options (direction, editing, screenplays, sound and production). For the other Masters (Fine Arts, Product Design, Photography and Type Design). applicants must have a Bachelor in a related field. Don’t hesitate to contact the ECAL Secretariat if you have any questions.

Can I register for two Master entrance exams at ECAL at the same time?

Yes, if you have the requisite diplomas. Don’t hesitate to contact the ECAL Secretariat if you have any questions.


What are the languages of instruction?

Courses and workshops are in French in the Foundation Year and at Bachelor level (some Bachelor workshops are in English). Master / MAS programmes are for the most part bilingual (English/French). Fluency in French is therefore essential for the Foundation Year and Bachelor programmes. The same applies to English at least for Master programmes.

Do I need a language certificate to enrol in an ECAL course?

Yes. For the Foundation Year and Bachelor programmes, non-French-speaking applicants who have not attended school in Switzerland must be able to attest that they are proficient in French at the B2 level of the European Language Portfolio. The B2 level is required on registration.

Generally speaking, language proficiency is also checked by the juries during the entrance exam.


Does ECAL have a residence?

ECAL has neither a residence nor a campus, but it can, to a limited extent, help students looking for accommodation. As the housing market in the Lake Geneva area is relatively tight, students are advised to make arrangements well in advance.

Can ECAL act as a guarantor on a lease signed by a foreign student?

No, not at the moment.

Practical informations

Due to a serious lack of availability on the local market, it is very difficult to find an accomodation in Lausanne therefore you should look well in advance to find a suitable accommodation. Please keep in mind that you may be required to provide a
3 month safety deposit.

The following solutions are available:

Furnished studios or flat-sharing for students in Lausanne

Rooms to rent

Scholarships / tuition

I am a foreign student. Can I obtain a scholarship in Switzerland?

Educational assistance (grants or student loans) is awarded by the cantons and is intended for Swiss students (nationals, foreign permanent residents and persons with refugee status). It is not available to foreign citizens residing in Switzerland for the purposes of study only. However, the Swiss Confederation offers excellence scholarships to foreign students, researchers and artists for a period of study or research in Switzerland.

I am resident abroad. Will my tuition at ECAL be higher than for a student resident in Switzerland?

Except for the Foundation Year, where the course fees are determined by the student’s domicile, tuition is the same for all students in the same Bachelor, Master or MAS programme.


Does ECAL offer evening or summer courses? Can I sign up just for certain specific courses or workshops?

No, not at the moment.

Can I have a tour of ECAL?

En dehors des manifestations organisées par l’ECAL (expositions diverses, Open Day, etc.), aucune visite n’est autorisée à titre individuel. Des visites de groupes peuvent être organisées, mais planifiées suffisamment à l’avance. Le cas échéant, merci de contacter directement le Secrétariat de l’ECAL, à l’adresse

My company wishes to hire an ECAL student as an intern or employee. What do I have to do?

Please send the ECAL Secretariat, at, an advert in A4 PDF format containing all the information on the internship or job. The advert will be published on the ECAL intranet. Interested students will contact the advertiser directly.