Werner Herzog, tireless explorer, creator and protagonist of the history of cinema, has traveled the world investigating it, rediscovering it, resignifying it, making it a film.

Each of the more than 70 works that make up his extensive and diverse filmography, testify to his unique curiosity, his particular way of narrating the world, it’s history, natural phenomena, landscapes, hilarious companies, failure, the complexity of the human existence and at the same time its insignificance compared to the greatness of the universe.

With serenity and without limits, Herzog has faced throughout his more than 50 years of career the biggest and most insane obstacles that a film director has been able to find when it comes to carrying out titanic projects. His experience and his daring will be the driving force behind this cinematic encounter.

In 1968, in a global context of student revolts, Werner Herzog traveled to Lanzarote for the first time to shoot his own aesthetic and cinematographic rebellion “The dwarfs also started small” (1970): a subversive film with which he speaks directly about society, exclusion and repression, filmed in the arid landscapes of the Canary Island.

The same place where the filming of “Fata Morgana” (1971), a poetic work about the Mayan myth of the creation of the world and the utopia of beauty, also played in the background the drama of human misery.

The rebellion and utopia were recreated by Werner Herzog using the beauty and rarity of the landscapes of Lanzarote. Locations that inspired him to create two of his most extreme works in terms of style, and that will inspire the group of filmmakers who accompany him on this new creative adventure.

In the rarity of a post-pandemic world, with his gaze directed towards outer space as a gateway to chaos, Werner Herzog returns to the lunar landscapes of Lanzarote to stimulate the limits of creativity of a group of filmmakers from all over the world willing to create alongside one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema.

The rebellion, the utopia, the surrealism, the beauty and strangeness of the volcanic landscapes, are just some of the points that unite Werner Herzog with Lanzarote. The mystery of the new creations that will emerge under his tutelage is yet to be built.

The island of Lanzarote, one of the 8 islands of the Canary archipelago (Spain), located in the Atlantic Ocean in northwest Africa, will be the base of the international creation meeting.

Under the guidance of the great German director, each participant will individually experience all the phases of making a film, from the birth of the idea, inspired by a theme proposed by Herzog on the 1st day of the meeting, to the first exhibition of the finished piece.

On a daily basis, field work in locations with characters will be enriched by individual exchanges between Werner Herzog and the participants, as well as by group evening meetings, in which they will be able to address the concerns they face when making movies.

To facilitate the creation process, the Film Accelerator’s production team will provide each participant with a complete base of production resources available in the area to develop their projects. This base includes a varied casting of local characters, a scouting of locations with their respective filming permits, a daily transportation system for the film crews, as well as translation support to facilitate the exchange work between the characters of the stories and the filmmakers.

To encourage creativity and maximum use of time, the Film Accelerator will take place in an artistic residency format, in which the participants will live together during the 11 days of the experience. The Accelerator base camp, in addition to housing the authors, will host the evening group talks and individual writing and editing consultancies.

As a result, the works are projected publicly, thus closing the cycle of cinematographic creation with all its participants.

Known as ancient times by Phoenicians and Romans, Lanzarote was inhabited by peoples of Berber descent. These inhabitants, called majos, lived by grazing, fishing and a very limited agriculture. At the end of the Middle Ages, the Spanish crown conquered the entire Archipelago, consolidating one of the key points for commercial and cultural traffic with the new lands of America.

The volcanic eruptions of the 18th and 19th centuries gave the landscape a unique aspect of great beauty. Next to unusual places formed by volcanic caves, lava lakes and craters, lie beaches of golden or black sand and transparent waters.

Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1993, Lanzarote was the first destination in the world certified by Biosphere Responsible Tourism (2015). The Timanfaya National Park contains a beautiful succession of volcanic landscapes, standing out as one of the great attractions. The original farming systems of the Lanzarote peasants, who have overcome the sterility of the island and make the lava lush, are another of its peculiarities.

Day 1: Observation: “Day one is the point of no return”. WH

Initial General Meeting

Introduction and explanation of the method of work of the Accelerator by Werner Herzog.

Delivery of accreditation, work perimeter maps and pre-production dossier.

Field work day: Exploration without cameras

Participants will visit some locations in the area preselected by Herzog around the central theme of the workshop. Neither cameras nor sound recorders will be allowed.

Night talks:

How to learn to read the inner essence of a landscape?

Day 2: Intuition

Day Field Work: Field Exploration 2

Participants will visit new locations in the area shortlisted by Herzog based on more general themes that can enrich the stories.

+ Individual advice of ideas — brainstorming.

Night talks:

Move to where the heart of the story is.

Day 3: Ecstatic truth

Day Field Work: Actors and Stories

Participants will meet the local characters and discover local stories.

+ Individual advice of ideas — brainstorming.

Night talks:

Sublimates the truth. “The facts are facts, but they do not enlighten us. The facts are for the accountants. Cinema and filmmakers have to look for new answers ”. WH

Day 4: Practice: “Work under pressure, with your knees in the mud” WH

Day Field Work: Shootings # 1

Herzog will visit the shooting of the participants to advise them on their work.

+ Individual advice on mise-en-scène.

Night talks:

Cinema is learned by doing.

Day 5: Exploring the world

Day Field Work: Shootings # 2

Herzog will visit the shooting of the participants to advise them on their work.

+ Individual advice on mise-en-scène.

Night talks:

How to picklock or obtaining filming permits in North Korea.

Day 6:  Respect for actors, technical, artistic and production team

Day Field Work: Shootings # 3

Herzog will visit the shooting of the participants to advise them on their work.

+ Individual advice on mise-en-scène.

Night talks:

How to keep the team rolling after 5 minutes with Klaus Kinski?

Day 7: Action! “That unexposed celluloid reel that you have in your hands, could be the last one in existence, you have to do something impressive with it”

Day Field Work: Shootings # 4

Herzog will visit the shooting of the participants to advise them on their work.

+ Individual advice on mise-en-scène.

Night talks:

How to sell a clock in the middle of the Amazon when food is scarce in a shooting camp?

Day 8: Work alone as a movie soldier: following your own vision

Day Field Work:

Last Shootings # 5


Start of work on Editing Room # 1.

Day 9: No complaints!

Daytime desk work: Editing room

Herzog will view the material of the participants who have already edited a first version of their works.

+ Individual advice on editing.

Night talks:

How to restart from scratch. With new actors and less money. The filming of the most complex feature film of your life after having shot more than 70% of a version you cannot save?

+ Finished shorts exhibition.

Day 10: Never regret

Daytime desk work: Editing room

Herzog will review the material the participants who have already edited a first cut.

+ Individual advice on editing.

Night talks:

How to rewrite the film in the editing room, finish and move on to the next project?

+ Finished shorts exhibition.

Day 11:  Finished shorts exhibition

“You will not cry on the set: It is not allowed to have too many emotions; You have to do your duty, you have to do what you have to do. S/He does not cry on the camera ratio. Nobody cries. If someone cries, it has to be the public; never the actor, nor the director, nor any of those on the set. So I delegate my emotions to the spectators”. WH

Workshop closure: Celebration workshop.

* Werner Herzog is free to modify the method of the program taking as a framework of reference the practical work in the conclusion of an individual piece. Following his method of work, some participants manage to make up to three short films during the 11 days of the program.

The Accelerator Methodology was initially proposed by the Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami who experimented with different methods of practical training for more than two decades in 18 countries, stimulating the creation of young filmmakers from all over the world, to whom with each discovery project and training we pay tribute.

Werner Herzog continued to lead the creative meetings, modifying the practices, times and resources of the initial approach. As well as the past experience with the Argentine director Lucrecia Martel, with whom the process was reinvented, from the methodologies of writing and sound creation.

The current structure proposal brings together elements and processes learned throughout the experience with all the directors previously appointed in 4 countries, Abbas Kiarostami (Colombia 2014, Barcelona 2015, Cuba 2016), Werner Herzog (Cuba 2017, Peru 2018), Lucrecia Martel (Barcelona 2019). Each creation meeting, with variable production resources and limitations, all included with the sole objective of facilitating the creation process and enhancing the quality of the works produced.

Organized by
In alliance with
With the support of
In collaboration with


Liliana Díaz Castillo Co-coordinator


Marc Villa Co-coordinator


Matheus Mello Executive production




Film Lessons: Werner Herzog’s commandments, tips and phrases for making movies. Film fellas club, No Film School, EnFilme, Indiewire, Screen Addicted, Morelia Film Festival, Bunke Pop. September 20, 2016.


Lanzarote Film Commission y ©Werner Herzog Film / Werner Herzog Film Archivo Cinemateca Alemana.

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Vera Tamayo

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