Study Abroad in the Czech Republic: Film Production in Prague – Academics
At the CET Film program, no one calls out “Lights, Camera, Action!” for you. No, that privilege belongs to you.
The program provides students hands-on instruction at one of the most renowned film schools in the world: the Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (locally known as FAMU).
Students collaborate in groups to produce their own short films. And they do it all: pitch ideas, write the script, create the storyboards, select the actors, set the lighting, direct the films, edit the takes. They work with professional Czech teams—production managers, camera assistants, sound designers, color graders—to produce a film that will be the highlight of any portfolio.
A practicum at FAMU guides students through the lengthy process. A semester lighting workshop gives students access to facilities at Barrandov Studios, the MGM of Prague. Learning is by doing.
Semester electives at FAMU complement the practicum. Students select the courses that they (and their film) need. There’s an elective for animators. Another for avant-gardists. And another for students who just want to hone their editing skills.
A Czech language class helps smooth the production path by providing a foundation in Czech language and culture.
Students return home with the confidence that comes from having a stellar portfolio of work in hand. Past students tell us that no other educational step has advanced their filmmaking knowledge and confidence more than the CET Film program.
All students enroll in the core course—Film Technology and Practice. This is a practicum designed for CET students. It includes a lighting workshop. Students work in production groups to produce a film, 7 to 10 minutes in length, in 16mm. In the fall term, advanced students may apply to work in 35mm. The course is taught in English. Approximately 195 total hours. 9 recommended credits.
Students take one to three electives from FAMU International. Electives focus on topics such as cinematography, animation, production, direction and scriptwriting. See the FAMU website for specific course offerings. Electives are taught in English and commence several weeks into the program. Courses are taken with other international students. 2 to 3 recommended credits each.
All students enroll in Czech Language. Czech language classes are “front-loaded.” This means that for the first week of the program, they meet for 4 hours/day. No other classes meet during this time. After that, language classes continue but at a slower pace, approximately 3 hours/week. Most students take Beginning Czech Language. Intermediate and advanced Czech language learners can be accommodated. 59 total hours. 3 recommended credits.
Film Summer Academic Requirements
All students enroll in the core course—Summer Film Technology and Practice.This is a practicum designed for CET students. Students work in production groups to produce a short (about 5 minutes in length), dialogue-free 16mm film project using natural lighting. The course is taught in English. Approximately 100 total hours. 6 recommended credits.
All students enroll in Czech Language. Most students take Beginning Czech Language. Intermediate and advanced Czech language learners can be accommodated. 21 total hours, 1 recommended credit.
There is no language prerequisite for this program.
Previous experience in film production is strongly encouraged. Students may demonstrate this experience in their application, usually on a university transcript. They also must submit a portfolio.
FAMU courses operate according to the host university calendar. They commence several weeks into the program. Elective offerings tend to be unpredictable from semester to semester. Flexibility is a must! CET assigns students an international student mentor to help them get the most out of their FAMU courses.
Production Group Placement
CET Film adapts to each student’s level of experience. Sometimes, two levels of the practicum are offered. Other times, FAMU faculty strategically group students of similar ability together in production groups.
Final placement is determined by:
- The student’s transcripts.
- The student’s experience in film production as demonstrated in the application.
- The student’s portfolio, submitted with the application.
Adjustments to placements are made during the first week of classes.
CET Film is a study abroad program for serious students. Classes and workshops are scheduled Mondays through Fridays. Attendance is mandatory. Work on film projects spills over to evenings and weekends. Past students report that film projects are engrossing. Students eat, sleep and breathe their projects throughout the term.
Navigating cross-culturally is a part of the film production experience. CET Film semester students take electives at FAMU with Czech and international students. For their film projects, students usually work with a Czech production manager and Czech actors.
The lighting workshop is a much-anticipated part of the CET Film practicum.
To start, students attend a three-day lighting workshop at a FAMU studio. They practice technical skills. They experiment with lighting design. They get their hands on a professional camera for the first time.
The workshop concludes with a trip to Barrandov film studios, the MGM of Prague. Students use the professional facilities to conduct a telecine transfer of their footage.
Overnight Academic Excursion (Fall & Spring)
Once a term, students depart Prague and venture on an overnight excursion to Český Krumlov. This is a beautiful medieval/renaissance castle town on the Austrian border. The castles, deserted German villages and natural beauty of Český Krumlov’s surrounding region give students a new perspective on Czech history and culture.
Overnight Academic Excursion (Summer)
Summer students head to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Karlovy Vary, the festival site, is the largest of the spa towns in the western part of the Czech Republic. Students view films and attend festival events.