THE FILM ACCELERATOR is a life experience designed for new filmmakers seeking to find a creative challenge. In 2024 a new generation of filmmakers and cinematographers will experience a unique encounter. For 11 days, Werner Herzog and his cinematographer, Peter Zeitlinger, will guide 25 artistic pairs in the creation process of a cinematographic piece of work.


La Palma Island, in the Canary archipelago, on the Northeastern African coast will be our venue. Exactly three years after the Cumbre Vieja volcano eruption, Werner Herzog travels to La Palma Island leading a group of 50 filmmakers, 25 directors and 25 cinematographers, who with their stories will honor the people of La Palma Island, who endured 85 seemingly endless days of eruption.



The island, historically known as San Miguel de La Palma, is the northwestern-most island of the Canary Islands in Spain. It has a surface area of 708 square kilometers, the fifth largest of the eight major Canary Islands. Late in 2020, its total population was 83,875 inhabitants, with 15,716 living in the capital, Santa Cruz de La Palma, and about 20,467 in Los Llanos de Aridane. Its highest mountain is the Roque de los Muchachos, 2,426 meters high, the second highest peak in the Canary Islands second to the Teide Mountain, in Tenerife.

This is an Oceanic volcanic island. The volcano rises almost 7 km above the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. There is road access from sea level to the summit, at 2,426 m, with its highpoint at Roque de Los Muchachos. Here is one of the world’s leading observatories for astronomy.

La Palma is the Canary Island where the most volcanic activity occurs. Approximately half a million years ago, the Taburiente volcano caved in with a massive land slide, forming the Caldera de Taburiente. Since then, erosion has exposed part of the ancient seamount in the northern part of the crater. Since the earliest Spanish records, there have been eight eruptions, all of them on the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge. 


On September 19, 2021, after several earthquakes that shook the island, a new monogenetic volcano erupted on the Cumbre Vieja ridge. For 85 days it ejected lava spreading and reaching the coast over an area of 1200 hectares. In its path, the lava devastated more than 1500 houses, factories, industrial buildings, leisure businesses and hotels, schools, temples, parks, squares, the island’s road grid, and farms.

The eruption forced more than 7000 people out of their homes. many of the places where they had their family, social and working life were wiped out taking with them part of their memories, their identity.



Werner Herzog is one of the most prodigious filmmakers in the history of cinema. His unflagging curiosity about nature and human complexity has driven him with passion and zeal to explore the most mysterious places on earth. His extensive and diverse career reflects his unique and tenacious outlook, his inner fire that always drives him to create. 

His films are characterised by a surreal, unusual quality of strange atmospheres. He is acclaimed as one of the most innovative contemporary directors. His characters are dreamers often faced with loneliness and the failure of profound yearnings. He has his own approach to cinematic truth, and often describes his fictional documentaries as a kind of ecstatic truth

Volcanoes, among the thrilling mysteries of the earth, have marked his history as a filmmaker from an early stage. A mystery, origin and end of life, symbols of divinity, gates to hell, to myth, to the fiery heart of the unfathomable. 

In 1975 on the island of Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, while 75 thousand inhabitants were evacuated due to the imminent eruption of the Soufrière volcano that threatened to burst with the force of 5 atomic bombs, Werner Herzog advanced towards the crater accompanied by his two camera operators, fascinated by the story of the only man who refused to leave his home, ready to submit himself to the fury of the lava. 

In 2016, with Into the Inferno he reactivates his volcanic activity in the company of the British volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer. Along with the great cameraman Peter Zeitlinger, they set off in search of the five most powerful active volcanoes in the world, seeking the magic granted by man to the uncontainable force of the earth’s fire.

In 2022, Werner Herzog pays tribute to the mythical couple of French volcanologists and filmmakers Katia and Maurice Krafft, who lost their lives in the eruption of the Unzen volcano in Japan. Using an assemblage of more than 200 hours of footage shot by the volcanologists, Herzog crafts the requiem of the couple who were “almost always too close” to the fire.

Peter Zeitlinger guest of honor at Film Accelerator 2024

Born in Prague, Peter Zeitlinger, a seasoned cinematographer, honed his skills at the Vienna Film Conservatory. His filmography includes more than a hundred titles and ranges from solo auteur films, thrillers, science fiction films such as James Franco‘s Future World or Abel Ferrara‘s Tommaso (2019) to works such as Ulrich Seidl‘s Predictable Losses (1993). The latter drew the attention of Werner Herzog who invited him in 1995 to start their collaboration with the documentary Death in Five Voices.

The prolific creative partnership Herzog – Zeitlinger, awarded in 2023 with the Directors Duo Award at Energacamerimage, has spawned iconic films in the history of cinema such as: My Best Fiend (1999), Grizzly Man (2005), Encounters at the End of the World (2007), Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010), Into the Abyss (2011), Into the Inferno (2016), Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds (2020), Theatre of Thought (2022), Invincible (2001), Rescue Dawn (2006), Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009), My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? (2009), Queen of the Desert (2015), or Salt and Fire (2016) among others.



The work methodology of the Film Accelerator was pioneered by Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, and enriched by Lucrecia Martel and Werner Herzog. It aims to enhance creativity, innovation, experimentation and collaborative work.

The Film Accelerator aims to provide a space for cinematic experimentation and a meeting point in which the international work teams once they are formed continue their collaboration under many circumstances over time.

Werner Herzog will pose a central working theme, opening up the realm of the imaginative, inviting participants to move beyond the boundaries of conventional and traditional narratives.

Participants will start with an idea from the ground up and then make it into a film. The starting point will comprise resources provided by the production, exploring the area, and finding the characters. Participants will go through all the stages of filmmaking including the screening of the finished work.



Teamwork is a cornerstone in Werner Herzog’s cinema. Throughout his career, he has worked with a recurring team. Lucki Stipetić has been the Producer, his early cinematographers were Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein and Thomas Mauch, and then Peter Zeitlinger for the last 25 years. 

Werner Herzog and Director of Photography Peter Zeitlinger will mentor the 25 up-and-coming pairs, coaching the projects right from their inception to finding their storytelling and their visual form on set.

In 2024, 50 young filmmakers, 25 Directors and 25 Directors of Photography, arranged according to common interests and skills in creative pairs, will explore their personal vision of cinema, supported by individual and collective mentoring provided by Werner Herzog and Peter Zeitlinger.



All day

Participants will arrive at La Palma.

Evening: Participants welcome cocktail.


Morning: Opening Meeting

Werner Herzog will explain the work method and unveil the theme of the workshop.
Production will provide credentials and the production folder including: a list of the locations and shooting permits, casting registries, transportation arrangements, and production stations.
The 25 working pairs will be introduced. Each pair will briefly explain their background, interests, and expectations for exploring the island.

Afternoon: Location visits 1

Werner Herzog will guide the visits to the several locations according to the main theme of the workshop.

Evening: Ideas 1

The pairs will share their first ideas with the other participants and receive comments by Werner Herzog.


Daytime field work: Location visits 2

Werner Herzog will guide the visit to new locations bearing in mind wider ideas to enrich and nourish the stories.

Evening: Ideas 2

The pairs will present their initial ideas to hear comments by Werner Herzog.

Welcome Cocktail for Peter Zeitlinger.


Morning Talk: Working in Pairs

Werner Herzog will introduce his guest, Director of Photography Peter Zeitlinger, and will talk about his experience and working methods.

Afternoon: Desk Work

Each Pair will get individual coaching from Werner Herzog and Peter Zeitlinger to enrich their approach and point of view on the theme.
Each Pair will work on their idea according to the coaching received, shaping their initial idea.

Evening: Evening Talk

Werner Herzog and Peter Zeitlinger will share summaries of their work and answer questions asked by the participants.


Morning and afternoon: Preparation, pairs work on-set

Each team will work on location with the chosen character for their story.
Werner Herzog and Peter Zeitlinger will be available to mentor projects at the production stations according to the planned schedule.

Evening: Projects 1

Pairs will explain their ideas and the progress made in the field.
Werner Herzog and Peter Zeitlinger will provide feedback on each project.


Morning and afternoon: Shooting day

Each team will work on location with the chosen character for their story.
Werner Herzog and Peter Zeitlinger will be available to mentor projects at the production stations according to the planned schedule.

Evening: Projects 2

Pairs will explain their ideas and the progress made in the field.
Werner Herzog and Peter Zeitlinger will provide feedback on each project.


Morning and afternoon: Shooting day

Each team will work on location with the chosen character for their story.
Werner Herzog and Peter Zeitlinger will be available to mentor projects at the production stations according to the planned schedule.

Evening: Open Talk with Werner Herzog and Peter Zeitlinger

Farewell to Peter Zeitlinger


Morning and afternoon: Shooting day

Each team will work on location with the chosen character for their story.
Werner Herzog will be available to mentor projects at the production stations according to the planned schedule.

Evening: Open Talk with Werner Herzog


Morning and afternoon: Shooting day / Editing Room

The teams that are done with shootings will start the editing, mix, and composition of their work.
Those teams that are not finished, will continue shooting

Evening: Opening of the retrospective screening TALK + Q&A

Werner Herzog will present one of his movies to the public and will answer questions from the audience/ 1h30


Morning and Afternoon: Editing Room

Werner Herzog will watch and mentor the first edited pieces of work (final cut).

Evening: Open Talk by Werner Herzog

DAY 10 SEPT 30

Morning and Afternoon: Editing Room 3

Werner Herzog will watch and mentor the first edited pieces of work (final cut).

Evening: Open Talk by Werner Herzog

First part of the screening of the finished films.

DAY 11 OCT 1

Morning and Afternoon: Hall Screening

The finished films will be screened.

Evening: Certificates’ Awarding

Wrap-up Celebration Cocktail.



Participation Requirements

  • International Entry Call:

The 3rd Film Accelerator opens 50 spots for filmmakers from around the world distributed as follows:

  • 25 spots for Directors
  • 25 spots for Directors of Photography
  • Applications:

Each applicant must submit the application form individually with all the requested documents enclosed. If a pair wishes to participate together, they must submit their individual application and specify the name of their partner in the letter of motivation.

Selection Process:

The selection of the 50 candidates will be in the hands of 5 professionals at La Selva.coop. The evaluation will consider the following features:

  • Motivation
  • Autonomy 
  • Impact of the studies in the participant’s career
  • Quality of previous work

Likewise, the committee will match the work pairs according to the following features:

  • Mutual nourishment and learning
  • Affinity in the approach to cinema
  • Complementary input
  • Cultural Diversity 

The list of the teams will be communicated to participants 2 months prior to the beginning of the workshop. This will facilitate that pairs may meet online prior to the workshop.

  • Technical Material:

The Film Accelerator is a practical program, then, it is mandatory for the participants to have previous experience and skills in shooting and editing.

Each pair Director/ Director of Photography must be technically autonomous and have a basic and portable unit of image-recording, sound, and montage.

  • Language:

The language of the group talks will be English. However, private mentorships can be also in Spanish and German. 

  • Payment Conditions:

Once the payment is made, there will be no possibility of reimbursement.

We do not have a system for scholarships or funding. However, once selected, participants can reach out to their Film Departments in the countries of origin with these institutions to obtain support where available.

  • Health Insurance:

It is mandatory for the selected participants to certify an international travel health insurance.

  • The organization is not accountable for:
  • Visa application and travel processing. Each participant must find out the requirements for entry to the Canary Islands depending on their nationality.
  • The inbound and outbound flight costs from your point of origin to La Palma.

Entry Calls Dates

  • Call opens: March 25th
  • Call closes: May 4th
  • Announcement of the selected participants and the waiting list: May 8th
  • Payment Deadline: May 22th

Workshop Dates

  • Work Pairs Announcement: July 18th 
  • Arrival to La Palma: September 20th
  • Workshop Begins: September 21st
  • Workshop Ends: October 1st
  • Departure from La Palma: October 2nd

Workshop Fee: 7,800 euros



  • Artistic and Technical Mentorship

Werner Herzog, Peter Zeitlinger 

  • Production Support Team 

La Selva.coop Team advised by Lucki Stipetic.

  • Accommodation

12 nights in single rooms at a 4 stars hotel

  • Meals

Three meals a day for 12 days

Coffee at the Station, morning and afternoon

Welcome and Farewell Cocktails

  • Transportation

Trips to and from the Airport to the Workshop Venue 

Daily trips to and from locations before and during shooting dates.

  • Pre-production

General pre-production for local resources.

Actors Database: a varied casting will be provided including availability and contact information.

Location Database: a list of locations with pictures, description, and shooting permits. 

  • Casting Payment:

The production will cover the payment to one actor/actress for four days of work per participant.


  • Distribution:


Five films will be chosen for one-year distribution.

Application here


Executive and artistic production:
Liliana Díaz Castillo y Marc Vila Bosch 

Production coordinator:
Héctor Ulloque Franco 

Victoria Martínez 

Graphic design:
Marta Montenegro 

Web design:
Maneko Estudio  

Press Manager:
Núria Costa 

Yaite Luque

Image Credits:
Werner Herzog | Behind the scenes La Sufrière
© Werner Herzog Film / Deutsche Kinemathek

Werner Herzog and Peter Zeitlinger on a set of Cave of Forgotten Dreams
© Visit Films

La Palma gallery
© La Palma Film Comission © Chukumi


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Supported by

LaPalma_Film kinemathek