independent school for the city

Film & Architecture Studio 2020 – Daily Life in Times of Corona

AN online crash course on filmmaking in relation to city and architecture, led by Jord den Hollander.

After a successful first edition in 2019, the Independent School for the City and the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR) have joined forces again in 2020 to organize another course on film and architecture that offers a comprehensive method to use cinematic language in architecture and urban design.

It was an hands-on online studio that focuses on learning and understanding the narrative of filmmaking as a way to explore the built environment. Participants in this course were introduced to the essential elements of filmmaking and learned how to relate these to architecture and the city. The focus of the studio was not so much on the technical aspects of filmmaking and post-production, but rather on film as a way to structure thoughts and to turn observations and findings into a gripping story.

The studio was organized around a series of zoom meetings organized between November 2020 and January 2021. Through bi-weekly meetings and conversations with various cinematic professionals, we explored framing as a way of looking at the city, talked about the main principles of storytelling, and dived into the use of scenarios as a means to structure and relate different elements to develop a certain narrative. Taking the current situation of the coronavirus as a starting point, participants were asked to produce a short film of around 3 minutes that explored their personal experiences concerning the space we live in: isolation, distance, closed off in our houses, separated in the streets. The course included online lectures by architect and curator Jord den Hollander, filmmaker Hans Christan Post and Director of Photography Erik van Empel. Some of the results can be be found below.

Seelige Sehnsucht, a short film by Elena Pibernik
Berlin Corona Times, a short film by Yuliia Surova
Repetition, a short film by Rasmus van Overhagen
Incentives, a short film by Nezza Barendse
Are we safe yet?, a short film by Adi Samet
The Spontaneity of the Lights, a short film by Taher Abdel-Ghani
Solitude letters, a short film by Floor Hofman
A short film by Lola Scurlock

Participants: Adi Samet, Andrea Bijen, Catherine De Wolf, Elena Pibernik, Floor Hofman, Lola Scurlock, Nezza Barendse, Rasmus van Overhagen, Sophia Klinkenberg, Taher Abdel-Ghani, Yuliia Surova. Tutors and organisation: Jord den Hollander, Ewout Dorman, Mike Emmerik, Michelle Provoost and Joep Mol.


Jord den Hollander
After having finished his master’s in architecture at the Technical University of Delft, Jord den Hollander followed a course in scenario writing at the Filmschool in London. Throughout his career he has often combined both disciplines. He has made documentaries about art and architecture, has written and directed internationally acclaimed television series for children about art and science and is curator of the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (, the world’s biggest architecture film festival, which he co-founded in 2002. In addition, he has designed a unique oeuvre that includes an architecture centre for children in Almere, a mobile kid’s library, a floating hotel and a tensegrity bicycle bridge.

Contributions by

Hans Christian Post
Hans Christian Post is a writer and filmmaker. Having a PhD in Modern Culture from the university of Copenhagen his main field of research is cultural and urban memory. With Dresden and Berlin as primary cases, he has written extensively on the intertwining of city planning, building preservation, memory, and history politics. Since 2014, he has worked independently as film maker and producer. In 2015, he finished his first documentary, Last Exit Alexanderplatz, which was followed by Whose city? in 2017. The theatre film We are here came out in early 2019, and later that year, he completed Where to with history?, his fourth film to date. This film had it’s Dutch premiere in October at AFFR 2020.

Erik van Empel
Erik van Empel is an director and cameraman who’s worked on an extensive amount of documentaries in the Netherlands, Turkey, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola. Van Empel currently works on a documentary series together with journalist Tom Kleijn during which they return to disaster spots all over the world. From London and Genoa to Paradise and Fukushima and – in our own country – Enschede. They examine how the local community continued when the media attention faded. The series shows the resilience of people who went through the unimaginable.