CET Prague: Film Production at FAMU

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About

Ready to produce and direct your own 16mm or 35mm film? CET Film students create a film and study at one of Europe’s top film schools, FAMU (Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague). You live and breathe your film project, from directing and screen writing to cinematography and editing. This program is open to challenge-seeking students who are excited to collaborate with artists and mentors.

Highlights
  • 16mm, 35mm, digital, narrative, or documentary
  • Project-based semester
  • Courses taught in English
  • Electives in all aspects of film production
  • Excursions that take you beyond Prague: Berlin, Ostrava, etc.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

83%
based on 11 reviews
  • Academics 6.6
  • Support 7.1
  • Fun 8.9
  • Housing 8.8
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 11 of 11
Default avatar
Christian
9/10

Finding my way abroad

CET Prague was an incredible experience! The program is really great for filmmaking, especially if you have made a film. If you have not, it isn't impossible, you just have some work to do to catch up. The professors are pretty hands off as far as helping you figure it out, its very trial and error. Of course, thats okay, but since you get the (really cool) chance to make 16mm or 35mm film in this program, its nice to know what you're doing.

As far as Prague, its an incredible city to study abroad in. Czech is a fun language, theres PLENTY to do, and so many pretty parks and beer gardens. I also had the chance to go to hiking at nearby state parks. It was so much fun. Another Pro is that Prague is so central that traveling is so easy. The program handles many of the details, I would for sure recommend it!

How can this program be improved?
The school could do a better job to assist the students with the technical filmmakng aspect of the process but that isn't CET's fault.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ethan
9/10

Prague, a Perfect Place to Learn Film

First and foremost, this program can be everything you've wanted from a film study abroad program, or it could be relatively mundane and uninformative – it's ultimately up to you which it is. The educational style is very different from that in the U.S., there aren't nearly as many deadlines or assignments. And, more or less, the ultimate goal is always your final film, not the smaller projects in-between. Also, specifically because of the program we are a part of, some of the professors are more artists than teachers. So, sometimes in the classroom, especially with the language barrier (the Professors' proficiency in English varies from ok to completely fluent), it may seem like you're not getting what you expected.

BUT, this is where it's up to you! All of the professors are VERY capable professionals in their craft, and they want more than anything to talk to you about it. Take them out for a beer, go down to Klub FAMU, and talk about literally anything that comes on your mind (sometimes it doesn't even have to be about film, although that's the topic that stays incredibly interesting). A lot of the knowledge I've learned through this program has been through one-on-one consultations and meetings, it's just so helpful to work with true professionals. If you want to glide through the program and just get by, you probably could, but you're not coming to film production at FAMU for that. If you want to learn, you can and you will, just look out for the opportunities and people. In other words, don't expect everything to come to you. It's there, just grab it!

Having a final film to work on is the other truly amazing part of the program. First of all it's one of the only ones left that still uses real 16mm/35mm film (depending on your group). The other thing is you're not weighted down with a long list of requirements like one may expect from group projects assigned back at your home institution. Don't fret, they don't let you go wild with no restraints, but it is YOUR film, and you can ultimately make it what you want. Your last month will be intensive, but you'll learn so much just going through the experience of film production for your own real film.

Prague's a great place to study abroad: things are far cheaper than in Western Europe, the city is incredible (not too big, not too small), and the culture is refreshing. But more than anything else, if you're looking at film production at FAMU what you care about is the film. So, from somebody who's been here, it's an experience that can be the pinnacle of your academic career – if you put the work in.

How can this program be improved?
The program has many great aspects, but the organization needs to be improved in some aspects. The beginning of the semester is fine, but as production loomed around the corner, it was obvious some groups were not aware of what was expected of them until they were rushing to get everything done. There also was the problem of production manager miscommunication, as some groups complained things were pushed until the last minute before the problem could be resolved. I think most of this can be improved by communicating with the students earlier on what is expected of them (in terms of production requirements and what they will eventually have to accomplish on their own), and starting the production process earlier. If the groups met with production managers earlier on (having the meeting right before spring break proved to be problematic), I believe a lot of the communication issues there could also be resolved.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jordan
9/10

No Prague-blems

As I had never traveled out of the country before, I was very concerned about how living abroad would be, from both an academic setting as well as a general adapting to life not in America. But CET was very helpful in all aspects, from ensuring proper equivalencies would be acquired at my home institution, to knowing where to buy groceries. I also loved how they organized trips to places like Cesky Krumlov that I never would have even considered going on my own.

How can this program be improved?
I think this program could be improved by making more time with same-age Czech students available. While "Czech buddies" are in the apartment, they're often 3+ years older than the students, which can make it hard to connect.
Yes, I recommend this program
Marielle
8/10

Going out of my comfort zone

Going abroad for me was a huge change. I had never even flown on a plane before, let alone tried to live in a new country and speak a different language. CET's program is great in that they emphasize learning the language and culture of Prague so that students can integrate themselves well. They gave me an apartment, a tram pass, and helped expedite the visa process, which is something few abroad programs could offer. I got to take classes at FAMU, which is a hugely prestigious school with some great professors. The film you make during this program has a generous budget and you work with real actors and FAMU students to make a very high quality end product. Sometimes it was difficult to communicate with both my professors and with the people of CET, but eventually issues I had were resolved. Overall, I was very happy with my decision.

How can this program be improved?
There were a lot of issues with getting our schedule--a lot of things were planned last-minute and had the potential to conflict with students' plans regarding outside travel and family visits. Our apartment was also not well-kept when we arrived, and issues we had down the line were not taken care of when we reported them.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jennifer
8/10

Pragueblogging

Coming from a programme that is theory-oriented, with only limited production experience in the past, this programme in Prague was a breath of fresh air for me. Spending time free from the academic pressures of Wellesley as well as learning first-hand how to make a film were all very valuable aspects of this programme for me.

Part of the charm of this programme has to be the fact that I was learning in Prague, at FAMU, one of the oldest film schools in Europe. Aside from FAMU's illustrious filmmaking history there was also the rich history of Prague that enhanced this trip, as well as its relative cheapness -- very good for filming on a short budget! Prague is not only affordable for American students, but also a ridiculously photogenic city, and it is also close to many other major European cities. The only times I had to fly were to London and Paris. Despite the wonky scheduling, I had plenty of free time to meet with European friends from the internet as well as travel.

Overall I found this semester to be excellent, especially since the programme itself was such a different atmosphere from what I'm used to, and it took some flexibility and spontaneity just to go with the flow and make the best of some situations. I enjoyed having the time to go out and explore as much of Europe as I can, as well as gaining practical experience in filmmaking whenever I was in Prague.

How can this program be improved?
Scheduling. The scheduling is ridiculous. Like I said it requires a lot of flexibility on the part of the student, especially with the numerous last-minute changes. The staff could do better to communicate with the students, but the blame for most of the wonky scheduling has to be split between FAMU and CET both.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Halley
9/10

Filming in Prague

Studying abroad in Prague was a fantastic experience. Prague is a beautiful city that is surprisingly easy to feel comfortable in despite the fact that it seems somewhat unreal. Although many of my peers found time to travel, I stayed in Prague on most weekends and there was always so much to do. The city is constantly having incredible events and festivals.

The best part of the CET film production program at FAMU was gaining hands-on experience. I learned so much in the final weeks of the program while working on creating my own film and assisting on my friends' film sets. Learning film production requires practical experience on set. I wish it was possible to spend more time actually working with a camera throughout the semester, but the little time I had was so valuable. Taking the information I learned out of the classroom and applying it to an actual film was an important process.

It is definitely up to the students to make the most of their semester. I wanted more experience on set, so it was up to me to find groups who needed production assistants and volunteer to help. During the lighting seminar, I had to volunteer if I wanted to have an active role. Similarly, I found that my classes were only as challenging as I wanted to make them. For example, the cinematography class was a lecture style course with one final test. The students were at all different levels of experience, so it was difficult for the professor to gauge with information was new to which students and how much time to spend on each topic. Many students didn't find the course especially challenging because they were already familiar with the information. It was essential to ask questions in order to get the most out of this course. When a student would ask a question, even it was about their specific film, I found that I learned the most.

While my group was editing our film, we reached out to our editing professor and asked to meet and get her advice on our progress. She was incredibly helpful and provided us with a constructive critique. It was important to me to have professors who were eager to meet and help us throughout the process of creating a film because I felt like I had support. This support was essential because it motivated my group to commit to our mission and take artistic risks.

Outside of my production classes, I took two elective courses. Although the classes weren't especially well organized, I highly enjoyed them because they introduced me to a lot of films I was unfamiliar with and gave me new ways to analyze film. I especially enjoyed the Film Style & Form course because it was the first class I have taken that was specifically focused on sound in film.

How can this program be improved?
The CET program could have been better organized. There were numerous scheduling conflicts that seemed like they could have been avoided. For example, I missed my first meeting with my production manager because it was scheduled during a time I had class. Scheduling was rarely done far in advance and we sometimes found out about when something was happening at the last minute.

Additionally, there were some issues with communication in terms of which classes were happening and when. We were told a sound seminar started an hour later than it actually did. A few times my professors were late to class and one time they did not show up at all. I am not sure if this was the fault of the professors or the program for not informing up that class would be delayed or cancelled.

I'd advocate for increased communication between CET, FAMU, and the students. I would also suggest completing all of the necessary scheduling as far in advance as possible and making schedule information available to students as soon as it is known.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Abi
8/10

A Semester in Prague

Prague is a beautiful city with so much to offer, and I came into this program and the semester incredibly excited to study at one of the world's most revered film schools. Overall, I would say I enjoyed my time in Prague and did learn quite a bit; however, there were a great many aspects of the program - particularly the CET staff - that left me disappointed.

Scheduling and communication were unacceptably disorganized, and students frequently received misinformation or no information at all. Even when we would reach out to CET staff members with questions or problems, we would not always receive an answer or even the courtesy of a response. I did not feel supported by the CET staff at all during my stay.

Additionally, the way the film classes are set up don't necessarily cater to the best learning experience, in my opinion. I could tell that the professors we had were well-versed in their fields and had quite a bit of knowledge and experience to offer. Based on the format of the classes, I don't think I, or the other students, were able to learn as much from them as we would have liked. Hands-on learning environments would serve these film professors much better than the lecture format we experienced, and I would highly recommend CET look into re-evaluating the structure of classes in the Prague film program.

While I would ultimately recommend this study abroad program to interested students simply because I believe in the value of studying in another country, I would feel compelled to also warn students of the disorganization, lack of communication, and frustration they will likely experience through the CET FAMU study abroad program. Please revisit the program and staff to ensure the best possible study abroad experience for future students.

How can this program be improved?
1. Structure of classes: The professors I encountered seem better suited for hands-on teaching, rather than lecture-based. Especially because we use expensive film equipment near the end of the semester with almost no supervision, learning to properly operate the equipment is an essential part of the process. That learning can better be done in a studio setting than in a classroom.

2. The CET staff: I don't know if it was due to the program accepting twice as many students as it normally does, or because they have hired some new staff members, but I was constantly frustrated and disappointed by the staff working at the Prague location. They need to be held to a higher standard of performance.

3. Program trips: The CET sponsored Cesky Krumlov trip near the beginning of the semester was effective in bonding the students while providing everyone with an informative historical experience. Additionally, the optional Kutna Hora trip, as well as other excursions such as Terezin, were historically and emotionally stimulating. I would highly recommend continuing such trips and possibly adding more like them if at all possible.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Alex
10/10

Abroad in Prague: Film Production with CET

My time spent studying abroad in Prague was incredible. Coming from Whittier College, California I knew nothing about Czech culture or language. Within the first few days of arriving in Prague, CET helped me feel comfortable and competent in my new surroundings, providing intensive language learning, amazing housing with a Czech roommate, and cultural excursions. Each day I would wake up in an apartment just outside of downtown Prague, and take a short 5 minute tram ride into to the FAMU academy's studio building, where my CET film classes were held. Sometime's I would also take a tram to FAMU's main building where professor at the academy would teach additional elective courses. Throughout the semester, there was plenty of time to work on my film, explore the city of Prague, and attend classes. Sometimes CET would even provide free or discounted tickets to events like soccer games, hockey games, operas, theater performances, music festivals, and wine festivals. My semester was an excellent way to immerse myself in my passions and discover a new country from the inside out.

How can this program be improved?
I think that this program could be improved altering the timeline that students are given to create their films. The majority of the semester is spent pitching, writing, and rewriting scripts, and while this is a crucial step in creating a film, I think that there is too little time allowed for production and post production. Even one extra week in editing could deliver amazing improvements for students, and I think many film teams would benefit from having a few extra days in between productions so that more students can help each other.
Response from CET Academic Programs

Thank you for taking the time to review CET Film Production in Prague! We really appreciate the nice things you had to say as well as the constructive feedback you offered about the program timeline. I have shared this with our team in Prague for their consideration. If you have any other thoughts, please feel free to contact me via email.

Thanks again!
Sarah Dixon; CET Academic Programs; [email protected]

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Dan
1/10

Studying Abroad at FAMU

The actual filmmaking program at FAMU, which only accounted for about twenty percent of my misery, was pretty disappointing. Considering that it was a filmmaking program, I expected us to be doing a lot of the making part. In reality, we mostly just watched movies and talked about them. This was not completely useless, but it was leagues below the usefulness of actually learning by doing. I don't think I was unreasonable to expect something like, "This week we're learning about shot selection. Your homework is to make a thirty second film that employs the following technique." I did get to make one short film at the end of the semester, and that was admittedly a fantastic learning experience. But I didn't incorporate anything into my film that I learned in class because I basically learned nothing. Let me rephrase that. I was taught nothing.

The rest of my study abroad experience also less than ideal. I felt alone and depressed most of the time. It's hard for introverts like me to make friends quickly, which is exactly what you need to do when you study abroad. It was hard to be in a room with people for more than a short time without feeling like no one wanted me there. I'm not saying that no one wanted me there. That's just how your brain works when you're shy and socially anxious.

The point here isn't that my program sucked or that the people were terrible. CET tried their best to make everyone feel comfortable, and they organized plenty of fun events. As for the people, everyone I met was wonderfully nice and welcoming. The problem was my having trouble feeling comfortable around new people. Now, you might be thinking, "If you're so shy and introverted, why the heck did you do the program?" That's a very good point, and it brings me to why I wrote this review.

Chances are, if you ask someone who studied abroad how it was, they'll say it was great. Maybe even life changing. But there's a small chance (judging by my program, about 1 in 50) that they had a pretty miserable time. And if that's the case, they'll probably still smile and say it was fine. Because the people who don't enjoy studying abroad are the same ones who don't like to speak up. I heard so many positive stories from people that I honestly thought studying abroad was this magical experience that couldn't possibly go wrong. The fact is that it can go wrong, and people should be aware of that when deciding whether to do it. If there's anything you should take away from my review, it's this: there are a lot of people who should study abroad, but there's a chance you are not one of them.

Response from CET Academic Programs

Thank you for taking the time to offer a review of CET on GoOverseas.com! We value all student feedback and especially appreciate that you are giving voice to a particular group of students that, as you mention, often do not speak up about their experience. Your words about the challenges of study abroad and cultural acclimation are important points for organizations like CET and for study abroad advisors.

You also identified some frustrations you had with you academic experience in Prague. This is also good for us to know as we continually strive to give students accurate expectations of the academic systems and culture they will enter into abroad. You pinpointed some aspects of the teaching style in the Czech Republic that are different to those in the US. Again, we sincerely appreciate your review and hope you will contact us at [email protected] if you'd like to discuss your experience further. -Sarah Dixon, Director of Institutional Relations

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar
Isabelle
10/10

Unforgettable experience

The building location was in a great location, easy to move around with the tram to the center. The appartment had a great amount of space and the local roommates were great. I haven't really encountered any difficulties that I can remember. The weekly routine with classes were quickly adapted and left enough time for us to enjoy the city as well. The satff was helpful throughout the program and everything was well organized. I really can't complain about anything, I had the best and unforgettable experience of my life. I would do it again if I could!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Kylie
10/10

Seriously Amazing

I would highly recommend the CET Film Production program in Prague, especially if you are hoping to work in the film industry. Not only are the professors working professionals in the industry and incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, but, at least for my semester, I learned just as much from my peers, who came from all kinds of backgrounds, and created such an amazing and inspiring environment in which to create a film. Throughout this program my skills as a camera operator and cinematographer grew immensely, and it gave me the confidence to put myself out there more, which helped me ultimately get an internship this past summer doing documentary film work at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington, DC (side note: you can focus on whatever area you are most interested in when creating your film. I was the camera operator and cinematographer, but if you want to direct, produce, write, etc. you can have that role as well). In terms of day to day experience, our apartments, which were way nicer and bigger than I had expected, were right in the middle of the city with lots to do in close walking distance and just a short tram ride from FAMU and the city centre. We did spend quite a bit of time in class, but we didn't have much homework otherwise, so you'll have plenty of time to work on your film and explore the city. On that note, however, you are expected to come to class and participate, and of course write, produce, and edit a short film during the semester. You will have a lot of support from your professors and your classmates (you'll form groups for your film), but it is a lot of work and you need to be proactive if you want to make a film you can be proud of. To end, one of the highlights for me was visiting Barrandov Studios (basically the Hollywood of Prague - you'll go there to get your film transferred from film to digital so you can edit) to tour the set of a film one of our professors was the cinematographer for.

How can this program be improved?
There were initially some scheduling issues with FAMU, and our electives started a week later than intended, but everything worked out in the end.
Yes, I recommend this program

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CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. Originally “China Educational Tours,” CET began operations in Beijing, and today offers a varied portfolio...