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La Femis

updated 09/01/2013

Presentation & Philosophy:

La fémis, the national French film school, offers technical, artistic and cultural training programmes. La fémis was created in 1986 after the IDHEC and since 1998 has been an industrial and commercial public institution supported by the French Ministry of Culture and the National Center of Cinema.

La fémis has trained more than 1000 professionals over the last 25 years and many of them can be seen on the credits of recent movies, series, TV programmes and multimedia works.

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La fémis has come to be a reference in France and abroad, providing an excellent level of training (50 students are selected each year among some 1.200 candidates), based on high standards regarding films, permanent transversal collaboration between the various departments and more generally, courses balanced between artistic research, professional development and technical training.

Over twenty five years, La fémis students have directed over 2 000 short films, fiction films and documentaries. Often more than mere exercises, some of these films are genuine works containing the seeds of new talent, which have been selected and rewarded at many festivals (Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Clermont Ferrand…)

La femis has four main purposes: providing initial and ongoing training programmes; cooperation with other film schools and foreign institutions offering training courses in the TV and film industry, producing, editing and distributing movies and documents related to the school’s educational methods; promoting and spreading the culture of cinema.

Number of students/ full time/ part time workshops: 200 total for full time programs (50 per class during 4 years)/ 80 people in part time continuous training programs

Number of students in film/animation studies: all in film

Number of international students:  Around 4 per class

Number of teachers:  500 on a non permanent basis

Degree category / length of studies: the curriculum is divided in  3 different paths.
The initial training in the school is composed of 3 study programs.
The main program consists in 7 departments and the schooling is 4 years long.
There are 6 students per department (4 in set design).
The Continuity program is 3 years long and admits 4 students every 2 years.
The Distribution/Theater management program lasts 2 years and admits 8 students (5 in theater management, 3 in distribution).

Programme objective and content:

Six main categories structure the study program:

  • Knowledge, culture and creation
  • Master classes are organized with directors and professionals. In 2012, Nanni  Moretti,  Jean- Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Francis Ford Coppola, Rith Panh, Frederic Wiseman taught master classes..
  • Workshops (exercises and films)
  • Specialized teachings (courses and practical exercises)
  • Apprenticeships
  • International exchanges
  • End of studies work

Teachings are dispensed by active professionals, under the leadership of 20 department heads who conceive the programs. Over 500 professionals intervene each year (for periods that vary from 3 hours to 3 months) either in lectures, workshops, practical exercises or encounters. There is no permanent faculty.


The layout of each scholastic year is overseen by a head whose responsibility is to prepare, organize, and put into place the program, hiring the staff and following the students, in collaboration with the department heads and under the authority of the head of studies and his assistant.

The study program is set up in 4 distinct years lasting 10 months each:

  • 3 years of training composed of teachings (by department and intra-department) and filmmaking (at least one major exercise per year).
  • 1 year producing a work and a personal research project to be presented before a diploma granting jury.

The sum of the teachings is supplemented throughout the year by regular weekly interventions entitled: Knowledge/Culture/Creation composed of lectures, films analyses, guest filmmakers, thematic seminars …

1st year: Teachings common to all and start of specific department teachings.

  • This year dispenses an initial training common to all students, regardless of his department affiliation, in the form a common curriculum, and leading to a first series of department teachings.
    The training includes an initiation to the different crafts the school teaches, an approach to working with actors, an introduction to writing a screenplay, working on a set, directing and editing, film analysis, screenings and meetings with filmmakers, professionals, and lectures.

  • 3 short workshops:
    « Portrait / Auto-portrait » (shot list and editing)
    Workshop introducing drama
    Workshop directing actors (in conjunction with acting students from the Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique).
  • « 1st Year Films »: writing and directing a film by each student, and carrying out a rotation for each technical position once.
  • 5 to 10 week training specifically for each department.
  • The year ends with 6 films shot in HD where each student holds the position of the department for which he was admitted into the school within the framework of the Directing workshop.

2nd year: Training by department

  • « 2nd year films - documentary »: 3 weeks entitled « an approach to the documentary form », followed, from November to beginning of March, by the writing and shooting 6 films directed by the 6 students in the directing track with the la collaboration of each in his own department function.
  • Specific trainings for each department.
  • « Actors’ workshop » in collaboration with the CFA of Asnieres, shooting 6 films directed by the 6 students in directing with the la collaboration of each in his department function joined by 2 guest students from Columbia University, in the framework of an exchange agreement with this American university.
  • At the end of the year the writing of “3rd Year Film” begins for directing and screenwriting students that will be shot after the summer.

3rd year: Training by department

  • The major workshop of the year is the « 3rd year Film ». It is entrusted each year to a new professional filmmaker who brings his «style» and his «way of doing». Each student insures the position of his department and hence collaborates on one of the 6 films shot digitally (+ 1 film shot by a team of students of the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg of Ludwigsburg, in the framework of the exchange agreement with this German school). Preparation, shooting and post-production follow each other from September to March.
  • Specific training by department.
  • The students in the editing department follow a « Special effects exercise » lasting several weeks at the beginning of the year, before editing the films of their classmates.
  • Starting in the spring, each student carries out an apprenticeship. The main goal of this experience is to place the student in a professional situation in relation to the craft and activity for which they have been trained and intend to practice, and help them acquire the know-how that is inseparable from the school knowledge. Also, it is a great opportunity given to them to put into practice the teachings acquired within the framework of a professional crew outside of the Femis. The general handling of apprenticeships is under the responsibility of the exterior relations department. It coordinates the search for apprenticeships and acts as a go-between for professionals and companies on one side, and the heads of departments and students on the other.
  • In the spring, the students in the directing department begin writing their end of studies film that will be shot in the summer.

4th year: End of studies work and personal research

For students in directing:

  • Post-production of end of studies films from September to December.
  • Writing of a feature film script under supervision and consultation from March to June

For students in other departments:

  • Conception and execution of a work of end of studies (TFE) that may take different forms depending on the department, a creative work along with a written research work (memoir):

    • Screenwriting: writing a feature length film,
    • Production: producing a film by one of the 6 directing students and producing a film of a student of a department other than directing; writing a research memoir,
    • Cinematography: assuming the cinematography of a TFE in directing and testing in cinematography the question covered in the research memoir.
    • Sound: assuming the sound of a TFE in directing and testing in film the question covered in the research memoir.
    • Editing: assuming the editing of a TFE in directing, making a film using existing film clips.
    • Set design: testing with a set design project the question posed by the research in the memoir. 

Each student participates, in his position, in one of the directors’ films.

Also, each student is freely associated in the making of one or several end of studies films of the other students of the class.

Diplomas are granted on the basis of the presented works, the pertinence and the good execution of the research work, the student’s progress over the 4 years of study by juries composed for the circumstance.

Stays abroad

Between the 2nd and 4th year, some students will have a stay in a foreign film school. To this day, there are 6 exchange programs for the following 5 departments: editing (with ECAL in Lausanne), screenwriting (with Columbia University in New York), directing (with FUC in Buenos Aires and CalArts in Los Angeles), production (with Tokyo University of the arts - Geidai in Tokyo-Yokohama), continuity (with INSAS in Brussels), cinematography (with Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg), distribution/theater management (with HFF in Munich). Other exchange programs concerning the other departments are presently under study.


The organization of this curriculum, specific in its length and recruitment, is placed under the responsibility of a person for the year who prepares, organizes and puts into place programs and insures the supervision and follow up of students, in collaboration with the 2 department heads and under the authority of the head of studies and his assistant.

The continuity department students follow the studies common to all students for the first year main curriculum. By the end of the 1st year, the curriculum evolves around three essential axes:

  • a team work: participation in the preparation, shooting and editing of the « Director’s workshop» at the end of the 1st year, of the «Actor’s workshop» for the 2nd year, of the «3rd year films » and the TFE,
  • a specific training with pertinent courses and apprenticeships on professional shoots organized in relation to film and/or television activity.
  • periods in conjunction with the other departments: film analysis, exercises or courses, reflection workshops.

The end of the curriculum is marked by a personal research project that is presented to a jury, in view of obtaining a diploma. It may be either a memoir, of research or analysis on a subject which pertains to the specificity and responsibilities of the craft of continuity; or an in depth study of a project based on a feature length screenplay which, ideally, has not been shot yet.


The organization of this curriculum, specific in its 2 year length and recruitment, is placed under the responsibility of a department head (permanent in the school) who prepares, organizes and puts into place the programs insuring the supervision and follow up of the students, in collaboration with the 2 other department heads and under the authority of the head of studies and his assistant.

The two year teachings is divided into four sequences:

Year n:

  • the first sequence, two and half months long (from September to October and 15 days in December), is constituted by a program in common with the first year students for the main curriculum and the continuity department centered on the creative process and cinematic production, as well as the specific environment of French cinema.
  • the second sequence, covering the second and third trimesters (from January to mid July),  is dedicated to courses on distribution and theater management comprising periods in common or specialized in each domain. These courses include an important number of case studies, practical exercises complemented by visits, study trips (in France and abroad) and participation in festivals...

Year n and n+1:

  • the third sequence is dedicated to an apprenticeship in a company from October to March (in France and abroad)

Year n +1:

  • the fourth sequence (April to May) is dedicated to writing the memoir. This work is presented before a diploma granting jury at the end of May/beginning of June. The memoir is a personal research project, a way to explore an issue in depth and develop a professional know-how.

Entry requirements:
admission exam

School Information:
6, rue Francoeur
75018 Paris - France
Tél.: 33 (0)1 53 41 21 00
Fax: 33 (0)1 53 41 02 80

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