Nathalie Coste Cerdan • Managing Director, La Fémis

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– La nostra conversazione ruotava attorno alle principali opportunità offered ai futuri studenti dalla prestigiousiosa scuola di cinema francese

Questo articolo is available in English.

We took the opportunity to interview Nathalie Coste Cerdan, Managing Director of La Fémis, to discuss the main learning opportunities offered to future students. The prestigious French institution is one of the two GEECT (European grouping of film and television schools) and CILECT (International Association of Film and Television Schools).

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Cineuropa: What is the main teaching mission of your school? What are the main advantages for future international students?
Nathalie Coste Cerdan: The main mission of the school is to provide initial and continuing training in all disciplines of cinema and television, and to promote and disseminate film culture as well as theoretical, artistic and technical research.

Students who attend our school can benefit from strong links with the French and international film industry. There is no faculty, as all the lecturers are industry professionals. This makes it especially interesting for students who can already start building their network. International students can also benefit from the school’s extensive alumni network. In addition, we have a team dedicated to the distribution of films at festivals. The school has partnerships with renowned audiovisual companies and students do internships as part of their training. In addition, we often invite producers and other industry professionals to school for screenings, original screenplay readings and other initiatives.

What types of study programs do you offer?
Our school offers initial and continuing training in all areas of the film industry: direction, production, editing, cinematography, sound production, scriptwriting and scenography. There is also a training program for continuity supervisors, a course dedicated to writing and creating series as well as a more business-oriented program for future distributors and exhibitors of films.

Do you offer scholarships?
La Fémis is a public higher education institution, so there are no tuition fees for European students, with the exception of legal university fees which give access to student social security. Additionally, as a state public school, students can apply for state scholarships. Depending on the student’s income, these scholarships can amount to several thousand euros each year.

For non-European students, tuition fees amount to € 8,000 per year, which is often partially or fully paid for by scholarships from the French Embassy in their country of origin. La Fémis also benefits from the generous sponsorship of patrons who support its educational activities through direct grants to students in financial difficulty.

How should a student prepare for admission?
The Fémis competition is known to be very selective. Only 4% to 5% of applicants enter. The entrance exam is open to students who have completed two or more years of undergraduate study, depending on the program. Candidates who are members of the European Union can enter La Fémis through the general competition. The international exam is reserved for non-nationals of the European Union and allows students to integrate the main four-year program. One piece of advice we can give to applicants is not to wait until the last moment to work on their written proposal, which is the first step in the entrance examination. They should prepare it as they would for a movie. They should be as precise as possible and stick to their artistic choices. They can download a detailed list of movie recommendations from the school’s website. We also recommend applicants to have at least some filmmaking experience (in any position).

How are you adapting teaching and other study activities due to the pandemic?
For some courses, we’ve started using digital tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Of course, not all of them can be taught virtually, especially when it comes to technical courses, but theory courses are mostly conducted online. Each year, the school organizes two days of masterclasses with renowned filmmakers, and despite everything, we still managed to organize them this year, thanks to the digital tools available. We were happy to welcome foreign filmmakers, like Ralph Fiennes and Naomi Kawase who would not have been able to come to Paris otherwise! Online events have their advantages.

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