Portugal Film School

Summer 2021 courses

Our low cost documentary film course provides you with the chance to shoot your own short documentary. Each course has 4 to 8 participants. You will be taught how to direct, produce, shoot and edit by experienced documentary makers. It’s a great start to your film career!

If you complete this course satisfactorily you’ll have become a fully operational one person film crew. It will enable you to make short (or long) documentaries on your own for whatever purpose, like facilitating your entry into a film school, making a short film for a business situation or to furthering your general career. 

This intensive, hands on course is very practical: you’ll already be handling a camera on day two,  going out on field trips on day three and start the actual shooting on day four.

Your challenge will be to make a 5 minute portrait of a local person (we only select local persons who can speak English as well as Portuguese). Each student will in turn direct, shoot, produce and edit.

Under the guidance of the highly experienced teachers and staff you will work to develop basic competence in using a high-end camera, microphone operation and placing, basic lighting principles and how to manage an interview in order to get a reliably good result. You will learn how to acquire and manage good raw material and how that correlates with the editing process as you develop your narrative We will try to tailor our teaching to your individual learning goals as well as providing the overall learning of the things you really need to know in any circumstance.

Classes will usually take place in the mornings, with research field trips, actual shooting and editing in the afternoons. We use a professional HD camera and Adobe Premiere editing software. A copy of each individual film and of the longer combined version will be provided to everyone to take home with your name as a director on the credits.

On several nights after dinner we will show a feature documentary to be discussed in the class the next day.

This intensive course takes place in a small village in the countryside of southern Portugal with meals provided. Classes are taught in the former village school which also houses our technical facilities. The course language is English, but we also speak German, Portuguese, French and Dutch.
Your teachers are experienced filmmakers from the Netherlands, England, Germany and Portugal.

There will be one full day off with a trip to the beach and transport included.

At the end of the course you will receive a certificate. We will also provide a reference when requested by employers or institutions.


Ton van der Lee

Ton van der Lee has directed and produced more than 20 feature documentaries and series in Europe, Africa and the US. He has also written and produced TV drama and feature films. His films have been broadcast in many countries and have been shown at a number of international festivals. His feature documentary ‘Rock ‘n Roll Junkie’ about rockstar Herman Brood was voted best postwar biopic by Dutch viewers. He has also published 15 books. 


tonvanderlee wikiipedia

Katinka de Maar

Katinka de Maar has directed a number of feature documentaries for Dutch television. She has won several prizes with her work. Katinka’s series ‘100 Dagen Voor de Klas’ has been broadcast in 2020 and received a nomination for the prestigious Nipkow prize. In 2021 she will be making a new 6 part doc series for VPRO television.


Ian Davidson

Ian has worked in the TV business in the UK for over 20 years. Having worked as a video editor, sound recordist, cameraman, sound post-production engineer among other technical roles in film and television. With a business partner he set up Conscious Life, a subscription based online platform offering courses, live streamed events and documentaries. Their recent documentary ‘How I created a Cult’ is currently being sold in the USA.


Kiki Ho

Hi I’m Kiki, a young documentary filmmaker, recently graduated from the MA Ethnographic and Documentary filmmaking at UCL, London. With an intrinsic curiosity and empathic outlook, I aim to capture bigger issues in small and personal stories. My bachelor in film studies helped me to develop my cinematic eye, my master taught me how to utilise it in practice. I always find myself on the hunt for authentic and captivating narratives, ready to provide a platform for those whose story has to be heard. As I shot my last short documentary here, in Alentejo, I had the privilege to experience the fascinating people, landscape, and culture first hand: This enchanting region truly holds countless stories to be told and I cannot wait to discover them together with you all.

A professional editor will be available at all times during the course


The price for the summer course includes the full course, lunch in the local restaurant and accommodation. There are 3 places in small tents: €895, 4 in large tents (standing room, shared tent with 2 separate compartments each with its own bed): €995 and 1 place in a large private tent €1195. 


The 2020 course has now finished. The dates for 2021 will be Sunday 25th July until Saturday 7th August, also Sunday 15th August until Saturday 28th August.