Film Studies in Prague – Nolan Kelly

Summary of the Project:
While in Prague I have been studying through CIEE’s Film Studies program at the National Film and TV Academy (FAMU), a unique and rigorous program centered around short film production. In addition to a 14-credit class schedule, the program was geared toward students working in groups of 2 or 3, as either a director or cinematographer, to come up with an original script and then produce a 7-10 minute film based on it, shot on 16mm film. I worked as the cinematographer in a group of 3, filming on location in Prague for a story about an estranged brother coming home after his parent’s death. The program took field trips to Prague’s famous Barrandov studios and performed animation workshops in Prague and Zlin.

Reflection: So far this has been an incredible experience which would not be possible anywhere else on earth. In a program of only fifteen, I have grown incredibly close to peers which will grow in this industry with me and represent an international coalition of thinkers and doers. This program has been demanding, in terms of its hours and technical expectations, on a level which I have never found within my academic curriculum but which is certainly representative of the energy it takes to pull off a multi-day film shoot while maintaining more day-to-day concentration in other activities and studies. In this sense, I think the program properly captures what it means to be a young filmmaker starting out in the industry, and what kind of dedication you have to have in order to achieve your vision on a level of quality. So much of filmmaking cannot be taught in the classroom and has to be experienced on the set, which is why every member of our program assisted on at least two other film shoots, in roles that they never would have chosen otherwise, and got a more cohesive understanding of their work. As a cinematographer, I also got an in-depth education into the technics of photography, something I have been teaching myself for years from a purely aesthetic standpoint. I now know enough about sensinomitry, exponomitry, and the different components of cameras and film to make a competitive in this professional field.

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