Rules & Administration

General Rules of the School

The Icelandic Film School (KVÍ) is an educational institution responsible for education in the field of film making. The school’s policy is to contribute to the establishment of an Icelandic visual industry with meticulous teaching, research, educational and communication work in all fields of film making.


  1. The Icelandic Film School (KVÍ) is an educational institution responsible for education in the field of film making. The school’s policy is to contribute to the establishment of an Icelandic visual industry with meticulous teaching, research, educational and communication work in all fields of film making. Furthermore, the school’s goal is to offer an international filmmaking program and attract talented individuals from all corners of the world to study and work in this country. The objective of the Icelandic Film School is to attain the stature of one of the world’s premiere film schools.


  1. The school board consists of five individuals nominated by the school’s owners. The goal is to have board members with various backgrounds and connections in the Icelandic work market and cultural life. The term of office of board members is two years and each term commences 1 August of every year. Two observing representatives attend board meetings; one being a representative of the teachers nominated by the teachers’ assembly; the other a student representative nominated by student council. The observing representatives are nominated for a one-year term at a time and the selection should be announced before 1 October of each year. The dean attends meeting with the right to speak and be heard and to propose a motion. The board of directors of the Icelandic Film School has the ultimate power of discretion within the school, makes the future policy, is responsible for its operations, accounts and financial decisions. The board validates the university’s operational schedule and operational budget and its annual financial statement. The board of directors hires the school’s dean and relieves the dean of his or her duties.

  2. The dean as an agent of the board of directors is responsible for the running of the school. He or she is responsible for the school’s operations being in accordance with the school’s role, goals and standards. He or she works at forming a general school policy and takes the initiative when reviewing the curriculum and the constant state of reform within the school. The dean hires the department heads and other employees who fall under his direct supervision and governs their daily activities. Yet the hiring of key staff, such as financial manager, teaching or technical director, shall take place in collaboration with the board of directors. The dean presents the annual operational budget and schedule to the board of directors at the beginning of every fiscal year and is responsible for the school’s operational report at the end of every academic year. The dean represents the school and acts as the school’s spokesman.

  3. The school board assists the dean and advises him or her on the running of the school. In addition to the principal, all department heads, the teaching director and two student representatives nominated by the student council are members of the board. The board discusses the operational plan and its implementation, school regulations, school conduct and other issues. See further regulation number 140/1997. The board convenes weekly during the academic semester.

  4. A school meeting is held once every academic year. All school employees have a right to attend, both regular employees and temporary workers. Furthermore, the student council nominates two students from every department to represent them at board meetings. Matters concerning the school operations suggested by the dean, staff or students are discussed at school meetings. The dean presents the program and chairs the school meeting.

  5. Teachers’ meetings are held at least once every semester. There policy-making in school operations, the structure of the curriculum, teaching methods, the drafting of the curriculum, the organization of tests and the curriculum evaluation are discussed. All teachers and instructors employed at the school have the right to attend and bring up issues. It is compulsory for temporary teachers in a 25% position or more to attend teachers’ meetings. The teachers’ meeting nominates a representative observer to the school board.

  6. At the Icelandic Film School the following subsidiary departments answer to the principal and the board of directors in the following fields of school operations: The school office supervises student registration, schedules and the organization of the facilities, curriculum evaluation and quality control, student counseling and overall employee and student support. The office also supervises supply purchases and communications with the school’s associates concerning facilities and general school operations. The head of the university office is titled educational manager. He or she supervises all office staff and the building caretakers. The technical department supervises all technical issues at the school. The head of the technical department is titled technical manager and supervises all technicians. The technical department makes equipment purchase suggestions and supervises equipment setup and maintenance. The technicians assist students and teachers as required. The technical department is also responsible for all production within the school and the process of production projects. The dean is the head of the subsidiary departments.

  7. The department head is responsible for the professional supervision of the department and answers to the dean on operational and financial issues. The department head shows initiative in terms of forming department policy. The department head hires teachers and other department staff. The department head draws up a financial plan for the department in question and presents it to the dean. The department head has a final say within the department in matters concerning the academic career and process of students. Students can refer the decisions of the department head to a special arbitration committee, see article 10.

  8. The Icelandic Film School employs both regular teachers and temps. The majority of teachers are temps; indeed it is the school’s main policy that teachers be active and working filmmakers and actors. The dean hires regular teachers once a jury board and temps have made their evaluation according to the suggestions of the department head. Those instructors who do not have a teacher’s certificate work under special supervision of the teaching director who initiates them into the job and counsels them.

  9. At the school a special arbitration committee has the final say in disciplinary issues within the school and in cases pertaining to students’ rights. The students have a right of objection in accordance with good administration practices. On the arbitration committee are, in addition to the dean who serves as the board’s chairman, two department heads, two teachers’ representatives and two student representatives. The teachers’ and students representatives are nominated for a year at a time and they have deputy members who serve for an equal length of time. The department heads vote amongst themselves for their representatives and deputies. The teachers’ representatives are selected at the first teachers’ meeting in the fall. The student council board selects the students representatives. Their term of office is from 1 October to 1 October. If a student does not wish to abide by the decision of the arbitration committee, he or she can refer his case to the school’s board of directors. If the student does not accept the decision of the board of directors, he or she can refer his or her case to the Arbitration Committee of the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

Study and Teaching Arrangement

  1. The Icelandic Film School is accredited by The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. The school uses FEIN-credits according to the junior college academic level but the time criterion is based on ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credit system, i.e, each credit corresponds to 25-30 hours of student work. This applies to all of the school’s courses. The Icelandic Film School operates according to the Icelandic National Curriculum Guide published by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

  2. There are four departments at the Icelandic Film School : I. The Directing and Producing Department. II. The Department of Creative Technology. III. The Screenwriting and Directing Department. VI. The Acting Department. Each department is an independent academic unit and the department head is responsible for its supervision in accordance with article 8. All departments offer a two-year program, 120 units towards a diploma degree. Students need to fulfill the exact criteria set by each department and do not have the option of transferring between departments once their studies have commenced, barring exceptional circumstances.

  3. During evaluation of applicants a review is conducted into the student’s background in regard to education, professional experience and general life experience. An attempt is made to evaluate how suitable the Icelandic Film School program is for the student in question and how likely the student is to succeed upon completing his or her studies. The applicants for all school departments should have completed a junior college degree or the equivalent. Still, the school reserves the discretion to admit applicants with knowledge and experience considered sufficient preparation for school studies. The principal decides, according to the recommendations of the admissions committee, which students should be admitted on those premises. Applicants must attend admission interviews. Applicants to Department IV, the Acting Department, must undergo a practical admission test as well as attending interviews. New applicants are admitted both in the fall and spring semesters. Fall applications are advertised no later than April 1st and the admission process should be completed by May 10th. Spring applications are advertised no later than October 1st and the admission process should be completed by November 25th. The maximum number of students admitted to each class is twelve. Every attempt is made to ensure gender parity in classes.

  4. The term is divided into two semesters, fall and spring semester. Each semester should consist of no fewer than 15 weeks of classes. Tests and vacations are not included so the term for each semester is seventeen weeks. No teaching takes place on mandated holidays. The results of the academic evaluation is to be presented no later two weeks following the semester graduation. All grades and reports should be ready on graduation day. Graduation takes place twice a year, at the end of fall semester around 20 December and at the end of spring semester around 15 May. To be eligible for graduation students must have completed all courses according to the curriculum at the beginning of their studies. All financial debts to the school should be settled.

  5. The school’s credit system is based on the FEIN credit system (junior college credits) but also takes into account the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) system, the criteria under which Icelandic universities operate. The estimated number of student work hours is 25 to 30 hours for each credit. The standard school week is estimated at two credits. As a rule a student must complete 30 credits to transfer from one semester to the next. In case of sickness or acceptable absences, an exception from this rule may be in order, although no more than eight credits can be lacking in overall student performance over a single semester. In order to graduate, a student must have comprehensively completed 120 credits. A student who has not completed the sufficient number of credits for graduation has the right to complete the lacking courses over the following three semesters but he or she pays pro rata fees corresponding to his or her course participation. Yet he or she does not have precedence for a place in the full courses and must wait for a vacancy in those courses.

  6. The school publishes a revised curriculum annually and the curriculum is to be completed no later than 20 August of every year and is valid for two semesters. The review and revision process takes place from 1 June to 20 August. Beyond that the curriculum remains unaltered. The curriculum includes the curriculum structure, a roster of courses according to semester and course descriptions. The course description includes the title and characteristics of the course, a content summary in addition to learning outcomes. Emphasis is be placed on making the course description as thorough as possible and that the description conform to the actual teaching in practice. The valid curriculum at the time the student commences his or her studies applies for the duration of his or her studies in spite of changes made during the term. Deviations from this rule shall take place with full consent of the students and the educational authorities. The curriculum is published on the school’s web page.

  7. The majority of teachers and instructors at the school are part-time teachers and their main occupation is in some field of filmmaking, music or drama. The prerequisites that part-time teachers and instructors must fulfill are that they be educated or have a vast experience in their chosen field and are professionally active. They must be endowed with indubitable teaching skills and be ready to adapt to the school’s teaching methods. Certified teachers have all things being equal precedence with vacancies. The regulations stipulated in article 10 apply to tenured instructors. The teachers present the curriculum to the department head for validation at least two weeks prior to the beginning of semester. The curriculum shall contain the following information:

    • A course description in accordance with the curriculum. A direct description of the curriculum should be included.
    • Information about instructors, lecturers and guests.
    • Information about the time-table in accordance with the schedule, along with a syllabus description at any given time.
    • A description of teaching materials and aids.
    • Books, films and supplementary material of which the teacher will avail him- or herself or use as reference material.
    • A definite time-table for tests/project deadlines.
    • A description of student performance evaluation.
  8. Internal Rating

    The Icelandic Film School’s quality control system is in a state of regular development but the goal is to contribute to a constant process of improvement at the school. Efforts have been made to update the system for this publication of the curriculum and fix the points of emphasis more firmly in the internal rating. The Icelandic Film School emphasizes a constant revision of the internal rating and for that purpose pursues a process which entails inter alia:

    a) an annual revision of the curriculum.

    b) follow-up observations of school operations and a commitment to the learning outcomes in the curriculum.

    c) an analysis of academic performance, teachers’ evaluation methods and grade distribution.

    d) an analysis of student’s evaluation of the quality of teaching and school operations.

    e) a meticulous evaluation of the students’ background, especially in the granting of exemptions from having completed a matriculation examination.

    f) follow-up observation of a selective choice of staff, that the staff be only chosen on basis of strengths – education, experience and professional success.

    g) an evaluation of the school’s working environment and the equipment of students and teachers.

    h) a meticulous adjustment system for teachers and instructors.

    The principal is the school’s quality manager and is responsible for the practical implementation of curriculum revisions, regular audits of all aspects of the school’s quality system and information disclosure to students, staff and officials at the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, as deemed appropriate.

    Factors that concern academic progression, the well-being of students (e.g. in cases of bullying) and problems that may arise during daily activities are the subject of the weekly meetings of department heads where the status of all of the schools’ classes is reviewed. Efforts are made to solve all problems as expeditiously as possible. The school’s quality system is in a state of constant development and modulation. All school staff is informed of quality emphases and trained to work in a spirit of constant improvement in keeping with the principles of the Icelandic Film School.

  9. The Icelandic Film School expects full attendance in all classes and that all projects be delivered in a satisfactory manner. If absences, including those due to sickness, are over and beyond 20% of overall class hours, the student is considered to have failed the course. In case of special circumstances or those beyond the student’s control, he or she can apply to the department head for an exemption from this rule. In the exemption petition there should be a tangible explanation for the student’s absences and suggestions how the student intends to comply with the demands of the course. In case of a specific make-up assignments or some sort of individual compensation for the missed classes the student must pay for those services especially.

  10. A performance evaluation, where the status and progress of the student are evaluated, follows each course at the school. The results of the academic evaluation are composed from grades and written reports about the student’s projects and work. Grades are given in whole and half numbers from 0 to 10 and predicated on the following criteria:

    • 10 for a perfect grasp of the material and outstanding solutions.
    • 9 – 9,5 for outstanding understanding and skills.
    • 8 – 9,5 for good knowledge and understanding.
    • 7 – 7,5 for competent knowledge.
    • 5,5 – 6,5 for acceptable knowledge of the basics.
    • 5 for minimum knowledge of the fundamentals.
    • 0 – 4,5 for unsatisfactory performance.

    Written reports should be no shorter than five paragraphs and they should be directed towards the assignments in question and the student personally. Emphasis is placed on reports dealing with both weaknesses and strengths and that the reports be constructive for the student. In special courses where there are no actual projects to be turned in or tests to be taken as such, it is permissible for the course evaluation to be indicated in letters rather than numbers: “P” for “passed” and “F” for “failed”. The academic evaluation is at the teacher’s discretion and the teacher gives grades unless an evaluation committee is involved. In the curriculum handed out at the beginning of the course it should be clearly stated how the academic evaluation is conducted and the weight of various factors which form the premise of the evaluation.

    The following factors should be kept in mind when evaluating student productions/films:

    • The passion of the student for the project and the student’s application.
    • Organization and delivery.
    • Technical aspect of production.
    • Artistic factors of production.
    • Factors the student wishes to emphasize as his or her field of speciality.

    The results of the academic evaluation should be available within two weeks from the time the evaluation took place, as per article 16. All students have the right to explanations for the premises on which the evaluation is based within two weeks of the evaluation’s publication. If the student is dissatisfied with the teacher’s evaluation he or she can appeal to the department head. If the department head sees just cause he or she can appoint an outside examiner. In which case his or her verdict is final.

  11. A student who does pass a test or fails an assignment but has adequate attendance in a course is allowed to repeat the exam or project. An application to this effect must be made to the department head within ten days after the publication of the grade. The student cannot attempt a final test/project more than three times in the same course. A make-up exam/project should be conducted as soon as possible and never later than four weeks after publication of the failing grade. The school charges a special examination fee for make-up/sick tests as well as projects that need to be repeated. The fee should be commensurate with the real costs incurred by the school because of the make-up exam/project. A student failing a course because of inadequate attendance can obtain permission to repeat the course, in which case the student must wait until the course is offered but does not have precedence in the event of the course being full.

    A student who does not hand in an assignment before the stipulated deadline and has not received an extension or does not show up for an exam and fails to inform the school beforehand is considered to have completed a project or exam with a failing grade. A student who fails to show up for an examination or does not turn in assignments because of illness or other approved reasons shall announce that he or she is unable to attend before the examination begins or the assignment deadline runs out. A medical certificate should be presented at the school office at first convenience and no later than five days after the test was given or the deadline expired. Failing that, the student is considered to have completed an exam or finished an assignment with a failing grade. The same applies when the child of a student falls ill. If a student does not complete the program at the end of the normal term of his or her studies, each individual grade of the student’s remains valid over a period of five years from the time normal completion of studies should have taken place. After that time the student must retake the same or comparable courses.

  12. A student applies for the school online and gives information about background and competence. When the student turns in an application he or she is thanked for the participation and given information about when the admission interviews or entrance examinations are to take place. Once the admission interviews and entrance examinations are completed all applicants receive a reply as to whether they will be offered a place at the school. As a part of the school’s opening ceremony a special presentation is given of the facilities, teaching conditions and rules of conduct. Group dynamics of various kinds are incorporated into the first week of freshman teaching. The goal is that students assimilate quickly and make use of the school’s facilities. The assimilation process for teachers/instructors is through the department head with the consent of the dean. Before the start of term he or she meets with the teaching director who evaluates his or her plans and gives him or her introductory documents.

General School Operations

  1. All new students should be thoroughly informed of the general school rules of conduct at the very beginning of their studies. These rules are the following:

    • Mutual respect, courtesy and honesty set the standard in communication between students and staff and wherever one represents the school. The objectives of the school should be respected, as well as its policies and regulations and care should be taken in all respects so that the reputation of the school remains untarnished.
    • The students attend all classes and show up punctually for class and other school activities. In courses with compulsory attendance, students must attend at least 80% of all classes to attain the right to complete a given course.
    • The students should keep the school and school grounds tidy.
    • Smoking is prohibited in school facilities and on school grounds. All possession and consumption of alcohol and other drugs is strictly prohibited throughout the school.
    • Consumption of food and drink in classrooms and work rooms is prohibited.
    • The students themselves are responsible for their valuables.
    • Any damage which the students may cause on school grounds or to school property shall be compensated by them fully.

    A violation of these rules can result in expulsion from the school.

  2. A student can be expelled from the school if the student is guilty of a serious violation of school regulations or fails attendance or exams. The responsibility for a permanent expulsion rests with the principal and the principal shall seek the recommendations of the disciplinary committee in this instance, see article 10, before the expulsion takes effect. A student receives a written admonition before school authorities resort to expulsion and the student is granted a period of grace to appeal.

  3. The Film School advocates a healthy lifestyle throughout its activities.

  4. The Film School advocates equal industry opportunities for both men and women throughout its activities. In order to attain this goal all departments strive to retain an equal gender ratio among students as well as teachers. Teachers/instructors are directed to offer special encouragement to female students, in addition to honoring women’s filmmaking.

  5. A strong emphasis is placed on energy saving and electronic teaching methods as well as in film production. The school also advocates waste recycling and categorizing.

  6. The dean, the teaching director and the department head in question run the school’s anti-bullying team. The resolution of cases of bullying must be conducted to the satisfaction of both victim and perpetrator but in such a manner that risk of recidivism is reduced. Full confidentiality should be observed at all times when dealing with instances of bullying. In such instances it is important that the staff member or student who discovers the case bring it to the attention of the department head or the school’s teaching director/student counselor. If they see fit to activate an anti-bullying team these measures should be taken immediately. The principal then takes control of the case and runs the team. The teaching director/student counselor is a special representative of the victim in cases of bullying.

    The following plan of action is set in motion:

    • An thorough investigation is conducted immediately and the seriousness of the case evaluated. A meeting is convened with all parties present. The process is recorded meticulously.
    • The team then decides on the next step according to the nature of each case. This can entail a class meeting, a special meeting with the perpetrators and victims, organized group work with the bullying perpetrators and assertiveness training for the bullying victims.
    • The anti-bullying team monitors the progress of the case and conducts a revaluation if need be. If the bullying cannot be curbed within school walls professional assistance will be sought.
  7. The principal and teaching director are responsible for taking measures when students or staff suffer mishaps during school activities, such as accidents, illness, disease or deaths. Professional assistance shall be sought when necessary.

  8. An evacuation plan is introduced at the beginning of term and exits are indicated on maps and school signs.

  9. Mutual respect, courtesy and honesty shall set the standard in all school communications, both between students and staff and among all groups. The goals of the school, its policies and rules, should be honored, and pains taken in all respects not to tarnish its reputation. Teachers/instructors should respect the rights of their students and be guided by their interests. Teachers/instructors should take care not to discriminate against their students because of, e.g. gender, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability or views. Teachers/instructors should be conscious of their position of authority in their dealings with students and be careful not to abuse their standing. Students should show their teachers courtesy and consideration and be honest in their dealings with them. Teachers/instructors and staff should maintain confidentiality in their dealings with students. They should observe full discretion whenever student issues arise and take pains that confidential data concerning students doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

  10. The Icelandic Film School seeks to maintain close relations with all academic levels within the Icelandic educational system. The school has collaborated closely with all educational levels, from nursery schools up to university level. The goal of the school is to encourage film studies at as many levels as possible within the Icelandic school system. The Icelandic Film School is a member of the CILECT – The International Association of Film and Television Schools – and takes part in international activities, student and teacher exchange programs, educational conferences, film festivals, etc.

  11. Kínema is the student association at the Icelandic Film School. The association’s board appoints one student representative to attend a weekly meeting with department heads. A part of the confirmation fees paid by new students is allocated to Kínema.

  12. Teaching is conducted in classrooms, lecture halls, sound studios, a studio and technical facilities. Project screenings and film history lectures take place at the Bíó Paradís movie theater. All departments have access to the Icelandic Film School’s equipment rental service. The service offers a vast variety of lights, movie cameras, audio recording equipment and technical gear. The school also collaborates closely with all the main rental houses in the country.

  13. All audio/visual material produced at the school is the property of the Icelandic Film School and the school reserves the right to publish and present the material under the school banner in all media. In the event of a screening or third-party sale of the material, the students or others who have a copyright-protected participation in the production should grant a formal consent for the screening/publication. Students who wish to screen their film with a third party must receive formal authorization from the Icelandic Film School.