A disclosed method provides techniques for forming low-cost, mechanically strong, highly electronically conductive porous structures for solid-state electrochemical devices. In particular, a method of forming a ceramic film on a substrate using electrophoretic deposition (EPD) is described. The method employs a colloidal dispersion of particles during the EPD process where a distribution of particle sizes is selected to eliminate drying cracks in the ceramic film prior to firing of the ceramic film-coated substrate. The method may be used to provide a high-density green film which can be sintered on to a non-shrinking substrate. For instance, a thin film of YSZ with a high green density may be sintered on to a non-shrinking LSM substrate. In particular embodiments, the distribution of particle sizes used in the EPD process may be selected to reduce a firing temperature and a firing time during sintering of the film coated substrate.