Film Studies and Global Architecture and Design semester activities
It might seem that film and architecture are only remotely connected, however, the same cannot be said about students of CIEE Film Studies program, and students of CIEE Global Architecture and Design. Since the very beginning of the program, students have been invited to attend extra-curricular activities that would help them to understand to the Czech culture.
One group of the organized events have been Cultural Workshops. Through these three workshops, students were able to learn how to observe and interpret a new culture and apply this knowledge to the Czech traditions. Furthermore, they have been learning about Czech historical figures and also how to market their experience abroad.
Students were observing their personal development through the “Czech-in session”, during which they have set their goals and expectations, reviewed them and in the end of the semester evaluated their growth for themselves.
Fun activities included visiting a home hockey game of Sparta, ice-skating, screening of the Czech movies, laser-tagging or events organized by flat buddies. Those have been for example visits of Czech museums, cooking lessons or escape games.
Extra-curricular activities organized for these two programs are inseparable part of the stay of students. The aim is to help to students to immerse in the Czech culture and feel like home.
In order to get away from a daily rush in Prague, students of CIEE Film Studies have left Prague in October for one weekend. They spent the whole weekend in South Bohemia, visiting historic town Pisek and castle Zvikov.
The main reason for going to Pisek was International Student Film Festival which is happening each year and attracts attention of not only student from the Czech Republic but the whole world. CIEE students had a chance to attend several blocks of festival films and also meet students from a local film academy (Filmova Akademie Miroslava Ondricka).
Diving deeper into the South Bohemian culture, students have visited a traditional and famous restaurant U Reineru that has been founded in 19th century and represent the local food.
On Sunday, before returning back to Prague, our little travelers have visited a castle Zvikov, its nature and also Zvikov’s brewery. This visit helped students to understand better the history of the Czech Republic and also the important of the cold beverage in the Czech culture. Overall trip broaden horizons of students and showed them life outside of Prague.
The second half of the CIEE Film Studies semester at FAMU has started and while our students are busy with developing their screenplays before the pitch (Screenwriting track) and shooting their 16mm feature film projects (Production track), we are back with some updates on their academic trips in Fall 2016.
As a part of their Intensive Beginning Czech Language course, our Screenwriting track enrollees had a unique opportunity of joining their Czech teacher for a trip to Bohemia (as we mentioned in our first semester newsletter). During their 5 days in the beautiful nature of Stráž nad Nežárkou, they did not only spend 3 hours each day intensively learning Czech, but also bonding with each other and immersing themselves into the local culture (among others by spending time with their peers from Charles University) and the Czech concept of "turistika" (tourism)... they also got their own hands-on production experience! You can enjoy the results here:
Courtesy of Luděk Brouček (CIEE Czech professor), Adam Turkel, Clayton Davis, Joey Lieberman, Max Nelson, Liam Driscoll, and Melissa Heineman.
Academic overnight trip to Bohemia (Písek and Zvíkov)
For the weekend of October 21-23, Film Studies Resident Director Ivana Skenderija planned an overnight trip to Písek and Zvíkov. The first two days were focused on the academic aspect while day 3 was dedicated to immersion. Since 1996, this beautiful bohemian town with second oldest stone bridge in Central Europe, has been hosting an International Student Film Festival (MFSF) annually and we had the pleasure of attending the 16th round. CIEE's Global Architecture and Design Program Coordinator (Film Studies interim) Olga Pexídrová was born in Písek, so she provided a guided tour of the city (including and old power plant which gave the city public lighting as early as in 1888!). We tasted local dishes and met with local film students (who joined us for dinner and showed our students around). We also visited FAMO film school, so students had a chance to compare the differences between two major film schools in the Czech Republic. Of course that the students were also given a fair share of free time to be able to explore independently. On Sunday, we continued with a short hike to the beautiful castle of Zvíkov with mysterious Hliza tower (connected with many myths and legends). Students took some amazing pictures inside the castle as well as in the gorgeous park/forrest surrounding it. The trip was ended by a guided tour of a small brewery in Zvíkov - the founder and current owner showed us around and students appreciated his passion.
I am very excited to publicly share the final cut of "Mezi Nami (Between Us)," a short film that I wrote and co-directed during my semester abroad in Prague during the Spring of 2015. As of last weekend the film completed its short festival run after showing at Mid Americon II and the TRIFI International Film Festival. This film is the product of four months of intensive work and collaboration between myself, my co-director Javier Torres (University of Rochester), and cinematographer Oliver Hamilton (Denison University). I would not be the filmmaker that I am today without these two, without the help of our FAMU and CIEE mentors and professors, or without the support of everyone who participated in the CIEE Prague Filmmaking program. Also, a huge thank you to our star, Linda Svobodová, who put up with shooting for three days wearing a sheet, and brought this script to life with her flawless talent. We had an incredible time creating this film, and I hope that you all enjoy the fruits of that labor!
Studying abroad the CIEE Film Studies program in Prague is truly a unique and life enriching opportunity! Check out the video that our Spring 2016 student Jackson Xia (University of Colorado at Boulder) created for us as a part of his volunteering project!
The 3rd Issue of CIEE Prague Newsletter concentrates on the special projects which were prepared by CIEE students during the Fall 2014 semester. Students from our four programs, namely Central European Studies, Communications, New Media + Journalism, Film Studies and Global Architecture and Design, spent a considerable amount of time and put a lot of effort into creating those exciting and unique projects, which are discussed in this newsletter in detail.
Enjoy reading about those outstanding special students´ projects!
Central European Studies
Special Immersion trip
Special Czech Immersion trip is an optional 3 day trip that our students can join. We prepared this trip last semester and because it was so successful, we decided to keep it. This trip is specific not only because just a small group of students attend (max. 10), but especially because our students do not stay in a hotel. They are accommodated with local families in Vodňany, a town in Southern Bohemia.
Students are accompanied by one of our Czech language teacher on behalf of CIEE. By preparing this trip we wished to give our students another opportunity for their immersion. And what is better than to take them to a small town far away from Prague and let them live with local families for a weekend?
On Friday, students visit a local high school, meet up with local students and spend an evening together. They meet their families for the weekend and also learn more about our culture. This semester students learned more about our St. Nicolas traditions and even decorated typical Czech ginger bread cookies. Saturday is spent with the families that prepare the program for the day.
On Sunday, students are taken to České Budějovice where they have a guided tour around the town and a brewery visit. After lunch, it is time to say good bye and head back to Prague.
This trip is an exceptional opportunity for students seeking to get more out of their study abroad experience, and we are that several students take advantage of this unique opportunity.
Feedbacks from our students:
“Fantastic! It was very well-organized and there was also time to explore the town with family. The high school was interesting and I enjoyed spending time with the students.”
“The trip gave me a chance to interact with Czech people that I have not had yet this semester.”
“The trip was well organized and very interesting.”
“I had a wonderful weekend, and I am very glad that I came on this trip! Výborně!”
“My best experience in Czech Republic so far! Thank you!”
“This was the most growing and learning experience I have had here so far and I am so thankful!”
“This has been the highlight trip since I have been in the Czech Republic. It was an amazing experience.”
“I learned a lot and loved staying with a family. It was nice experiencing what short stay would be like.”
“I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone in the program, it was so fun and a real immersion experience.”
“Loved it! Had an amazing time. Everything was great.”
Communications, New Media + Journalism
Victoria Macoul spent her semester as an intern for Motus, an organization “helping to create and present new performances and other creative acts, run debates and workshops, and initiate events beyond theatre: cultural development activities for an open democratic society” (Motus website). Victoria had many tasks, but one of her favorites was participating in the Dia De Los Muertos/Day of the Dead festival:
„Motus, in cooperation with Puppets without Borders, brings a bit of Mexico to the Czech lands this year for the ninth time. Against the romantic background of Stromovka park children and their parents can learn these traditional practices, participate in a parade of lanterns, hear real live Mexican music, see performances for kids, shadow puppets and installations made of food – to eat!” (Motus website)
“I think the best part about working at the festival was being immersed in a setting where there were people from every generation. Sometimes as a student you find yourself surrounded solely by people your age, so it was nice to have interaction with families and young children.” Victoria Macoul, Communications Major, Virginia Wesleyan College
Český Rozhlas, Radio Prague:
You can learn more here about Jelani Spencer-Joe’s (Public Relations Major/Broadcasting Minor, Susquehanna University) work at her internship with Český Rozhlas, Czech Republic’s public radio broadcaster in operation since 1923.
Opened for the first time this semester, ICL is taught by Jana, our Center Director. Because the course touches on issues on intercultural communication issues, this course is offered as CNMJ course credit. Several CNMJ students took part and had to complete a „digital story.“ Alex Paxman, Communications Major, Bryant University would like to share hers with you:
CNMJ’s very own Jake Weeks (Roger Williams University, Communications Major) was the Creative Director of The Happening and was instrumental in putting the event together. Here’s more about it in his own words:
“The first annual CIEE ‘Happening’ was a program for students to partner up with a Czech action artist and collaborate on a project. Cynthia, Ivanna, and I met with Tomáš Moravec, an artist turned viral video star after he hacked a wooden pallet to glide down the tram tracks of Bratislava, Slovakia, and over the course of the semester we carefully planned out our project. We would film the ‘action’; the students coming in and out of the CIEE door, and edit the footage together to form a construction. Later on the evening of December 8th, we projected this footage onto a cloud of steam outside the door to complete the reconstruction. The intention was to make a statement on how fast the semester goes, and how our time in Prague will soon fade away.”
Insert video from Z:\CIEE Promotion\Newsletters\Fall 2014\Newsletter 3\CNMJ materials
Buddy Dance Video
“Honza is an awesome buddy for many reasons, but mostly because he's so fun to be around. As you can see in the video, he's always a source of entertainment. At the same time, I wouldn't have survived the first two weeks in Prague without Honza. He was more than willing to drop everything at any time to help me find the post office, grocery store, or wherever I needed to go. He is always willing to help and made my experience in the Czech Republic much easier and more enjoyable.” Joel Thom, University of California-Sacramento, Communications
Hafan animation studio workshop
Undoubtedly the most favorite excursion/workshop for the Film Studies program is HAFAN Studio Animation workshop. They split into groups of approximately 5 students and during one day they learn how to make a traditional animation short film with puppets. Only a couple of minutes of film can be created within the limited time, but all students agree it is definitely worth the experience.
Feedbacks from our students:
“A great place to explore and helpful to get experience using professional expertize.”
“One of the coolest projects I got to work on!”
“Absolutely wonderful. I'd love to spend a day just watching the animators!”
See one of the outcomes of the Fall 2014 semester below:
Intensive Beginning Czech Language course
CIEE Prague makes sure that even the Intensive Beginning Czech Language course is designed specifically for filmmakers. Vocabulary and phrases learned are often time then used during the production process when Production track students occasionally get Czech actors to cooperate with them (if they choose to make their final film in Czech, subtitled to English). Our Czech teacher Luděk Brouček makes them work with the textbook Film Czech - Survival Czech Course for Students of Film and Photography published by Ilona Kořánová in 2013.
Feedbacks from our students:
“It really helped with daily life in the Czech Republic and being able to at least try to communicate.”
“This was one of the best and most interactive language courses I have ever taken. We learned so much in such a short period of time.”
“I learned a lot in this course - Luděk is an amazing teacher and I was so impressed by how well he handled the whole class.”
To deepen the student experience, Luděk came up with a special video project: students had to come up with scenarios in which the got to use what they learnt. Again, see some of the results below:
CIEE Film studies students are usually strongly motivated individuals with true passion for filmmaking. Therefore they often come up with short independent films during their study abroad experience. Aaron Barnett from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and James Cashman from Seattle University came up with a couple of videos for their CIEE film studies blog - do not forget to checkout previous entries:
And last, but definitely not least, - <List names> from <list film name> production gave us a permission to publish their 16mm feature film project they created as their program requirement this term. They managed to shoot this project within 48-72 hours. Enjoy a selection of what we saw on the Final Screening on Thursday, December 18th.
Global Architecture and Design
This semester´s final projects of Global Architecture and Design students explored the island of Štvanice and proposed various ‘‘Amphibious Structures'' for the new festival ground. <insert GAD Photo Stvanice> This area with lot of commercial and urban potential became quite isolated and unused over the years. Our students presented new concepts for its future development.
In particular, students focused on opportunities to use the island´s full potential, especially for commercial use. The main focus was on the entertainment aspect of the island´s urban development. Nowadays, festivals are becoming major contributors to local and global economy as they have the ability to revitalize specific urban context and internationally promote the city as a rich-program destination.
Each student was given a specific area which they had to research and present a new idea of its future development. They had to face several challenges. The necessity for self-sufficient public space and infrastructure of future cities, they succeeded to propose a unique typology and technological intervention that can have profound impact not only on local surrounding, but can be applied on any context with similar challenges.
During the three core courses of Global Architecture and Design, the students were taught new technologies, methods and ways of thinking by leading figures of the contemporary scene of Czech architecture in order to successfully complete their special tasks.
CIEE Study Center Prague wishes you Happy Holidays!
Summer holidays are over and CIEE Prague has new group of students on site. James Cashman from Seattle University was kind enough to share his first video blog post - enjoy the student's view on his first days in Prague (orientation sessions and walks, Prague Castle Tour, welcome dinner and more!).
We are back with some information on New Academic Developments of CIEE Study Center in Prague.
Central European Studies (CES)
The Central European Studies Program has grown recently in terms of the number of participating students as well as in a greater variety of offered courses and provision of academics. The current offer of courses provides a complex understanding of the process and challenges of recreating a democratic government in a former communist country, and brings an insider perspective on its current challenges (including human rights, minority and gender issues, globalization, as well as social, economic, and political challenges connected to the EU). New courses include e.g.: Anthropological Perspective on the Czech and Slovak Roma, Economy of the EU, Journalism in the Facebook Era, 3rd Force Psychology in CE, and many others.
Introduced changes aim also at deep cultural and social immersion within the academic part of the program. All courses offer an in-class part and out-class activities. These include site visits, research projects, and many other activities that allow students to develop their knowledge and academic skills.
CES and CNMJ students at the “Academic Meeting”: an open house of CIEE courses with professors
At the same time the program keeps its strong thematic accent in art and design, exploring the extraordinary architecture of Prague and other unique sites. Offered courses foster the understanding of the historical context of Central Europe including communism, nazism, the Holocaust and other important periods and figures from Czech and European history.
Last but not least, Eva Janebová, Ph.D., who has been working as the liaison of Charles University in the CIEE Study Center in Prague, has newly become the CES Resident Director overseeing the quality of academics. She provides faculty trainings and individual coaching to the faculty in order to align interactive teaching styles and rigorous academic standards. She has also introduced a new format to the academic meetings and works with individual faculty on responding to the needs of students provided in student feedbacks.
Eva Janebová, CES Resident Director
Film Studies (FS)
The Film Studies Program in Prague has been offered since Fall 2008. All classes are taught solely at the Film Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) and core classes are designed specifically for CIEE students so the benefits of mentor-apprentice style of teaching are maintained. FAMU has been awarded the best European (and 7th in the world) film school according to the Hollywood Reporter in 2011. The school, founded in 1946, is one of the oldest in the world (5th).
In 2008, we started with the Production Track in which students develop 5-10 minute-long 16 mm feature film in production groups of 2-3. During the past few semesters, students have occasionally struggled with finding the best way of forming their production teams. The question was whether teams should be formed based on similar perspectives on filmmaking or around specific screenplays. Either way, starting to shape the team within first weeks of classes was rather time consuming. Starting this semester, the FS Academic Advisor Mary Angiolillo and Film Studies Coordinator Ivana Skenderija came up with a new idea. Production students had a couple of meetings during their Czech intensive and pitched their ideas. Students with similar perspectives were matched and the first week of core classes was already dedicated to screenplay development. On Friday, February 28th, they had their official pitch for all the mentors, and they received feedback on their projects. After the pitch, a production meeting on realistic expectations followed.
FS students vividly pitching their project proposal
Since Spring 2011, we were able to add the Screenwriting Track to the selection in which students develop a first draft of a half feature-length screenplay (appx. 60 pages). This track is rather selective as CIEE/FAMU would not accept more than the 6 best applicants. Even though their curriculum strongly emphasizes writing scripts, students from past semesters have been demanding some production experience as well. And since Fall 2013, their requests have been partially fulfilled. Not only are they present at the production pitch and write a reflection with their tips on improvement as a part of their Script Analysis class, but they also partake in the production as actors and crew members. And of course, they will again have their “grand finale” just like the production students have the final screening. Final screenplay presentations are not only just a reading of the script, but also a dialogue presentation by real actors they learn how to direct!
Communication, New Media + Journalism (CNMJ) – New program from Spring 2013!
The Communication, New Media + Journalism (CNMJ) is a new niche program which started in Spring 2013. This program caters to majors of media, journalism, marketing, and communication studies; it focuses on providing students with hands-on experience through media and/or journalism-focused internships and provides students with coursework relevant to their field.
In terms of academics, students are allowed to choose at CIEE from an array of communication, media, and journalism courses taught by local and international media experts and renowned journalists, but they can also choose from specially-selected courses at FAMU and the Institute of Communication and Journalism Studies at Charles University’s Faculty of Social Sciences.
Additionally, with an internship for credit, students polish their professional skills and gain invaluable experience working in a local company or non-profit organization. CIEE helps CNMJ students with the entire process from setting up interviews to placements in prestigious organizations to monitoring students’ progress throughout the semester. Another integral part of the internship program is the internship seminar, where students have a chance to discuss their experiences, to make sense of cultural differences, and to learn how to market these experiences to future employers.
Since this program’s inception in Spring 2013, it has grown significantly. This semester we have 17 participants!
Spring 2014 CNMJ students getting ready for their orientation walk with their buddy
Global Architecture and Design (GAD) – Brand new program since Spring 2014!
The Global Architecture and Design program connects in its concept three beautiful European cities: Barcelona, Berlin and Prague.
The program concentrates not only on history and culture of the host city, but also explores current and future social, economic, and technological trends. Cities today offer a unique setting for resources, people, opportunities, and ideas to converge and spur new paths of innovation, technology, and thought. The program´s curriculum includes wide range of technologies from BIPV (building integrated photovoltaic) skyscrapers, personalized public transportation systems, sustainable green spaces, to sewage and water treatment and reclamation infrastructure.
The Global Architecture and Design program is focused on “Future Cities” and addresses the emerging discipline of global ”urbaneering” by assembling a faculty of innovators from fields as diverse as architecture, material science, urban design, civil and environmental engineering. Using each city as a laboratory, the program´s goal is to rethink what is salubrious about the city, in both its forms and its life. The Global Architecture and Design program explores the effects of technological interventions that can have profound impacts on the planet as a whole.
It was decided that this youngest program will have a theme unifying all three cities - Water and the City. This focus is apparent throughout the whole semester including academic trips that will take students to the Berlin Summit, Moldau Cascades and other significant sites.
The program gears towards advanced students with at least two to three semesters of design studio and overall GPA at least 2.75. Students enroll directly in courses focusing on architecture and design at ARCHIP, the first international Architectural Institute in the Czech Republic and also have the option of enrolling in courses at CIEE. Students take part in projects and create presentations related to their field of study and incorporate it in the local context.
Studio space at ARCHIP
GAD and ARCHIP students visiting Moldau Cascades and its dams
Fall 2013 Film Studies semester is over and students are on their way home to reunite with their friends and families. The upcoming holidays are making their process of leaving the city of Prague and their wonderful study abroad experiences a little bit more bearable. It needs to be said that we had a very good group that stuck together at all times this semester - and their screenplays and final films reflected that. But how did they spend their last weeks in Prague?
Production and post-production
Production track dedicated their last weeks primarily to production and postproduction. Film Program Coordinator Ivana occasionally paid a visit to their sets to make sure everything was in order. Production managers Pavla Klimešová and Filip Teller and Camera Supervisor Tomáš Daliman made sure that all 5 shoots went smoothly. A couple of shooting days needed to be rescheduled due to weather, but students and their crews were flexible and everything ended well.
Photo courtesy of EJ Kennelly
We already shared Laurel Schwartz's (Scripps College) video about her shoot on CIEE FS blog, however, we want to make sure you don't miss it:
Screenwriting track: presentation rehearsals
All students enrolled in the Screenwriting track helped on the Production track film sets (as grips, caterers and actors), but of course they have been busy with their screenplays as well. All 4 students are quite ambitious, so during their regular Tuesday sessions with their FAMU Academic Advisor Mary, they came up with their screenplays introductions as well as short dialogues presented by actors. Therefore they experienced directing real actors during these meetings.
Last CIEE Cultural Workshop
Our last cultural workshop took place at the CIEE Study Center. Students started part of their orientation there and we thought it would be a nice wrap up for them. Over a late lunch, students, Ivana and Eva discussed reverse culture shock and ended the workshop with Greatest Czechs matching game which became quite competitive. Just before the sunset, we took a group picture together:
CIEE Christmas party
Just like every Fall semester, CIEE Study Center hosted all programs get-together Christmas party. Students had a chance to taste traditional Czech Christmas specialities (fish soup, fried carp, potato salad, baked groats with mushroom "Kuba", sweat bread "Vánočka" and indispensable Christmas cookies)! They also experienced local Christmas customs, such as gingerbread baking and decorating, Christmas decorations creating, nutshell mini-boats creating, and much more. Of course not even a Christmas tree wasn't missing and all students found a small gift from Baby Jesus underneath it (CIEE got them Christmas ceramic decorations created in workshops for people with disabilities so local NGO Jedlička Institute - where CIEE Prague CES students volunteer - was supported). All students had a blast!
Final Screenplays presentation and Final Screening
Thursday, December 19th was a big day. At 2pm, Screenwriting track students (Jamie, Nicole, Alex and Edan) started with their screenplays presentations. Their rehearsals truly paid off and full projection room appreciated their work. They also received feedback from the audience. The actors (DAMU and CIEE students) they managed to find were extraordinary and made their dialogues quite lively. We would like to congratulate them all for their progress!
At 4pm, projection of Production track final films followed. The audience consisted of FAMU professors and staff, CIEE students and staff, actors and special guests got to enjoy 5 films plus a bonus - Hafan classic animation workshop outcome. Students were provided with feedback by their professors and a big (deserved) applause from everyone present.
CIEE FS Farewell Dinner
After the screening, everyone continued on to FAMU student club and pub Lažanských for the farewell ceremony and dinner. All students received their FAMU certificates and final films, CIEE added another CD with Prague Yearbook and a special Film Studies video with a slideshow from the whole semester. FS Academic Advisor Mary Angiollilo and FAMU dean Pavel Jech gave their final speeches, winners of the green game were announced, and most immersed and volunteering students were acknowledged.
The yummy reception with traditional Czech dishes followed. Students said their goodbyes to their professors, crews and staff, and even a few tears had been shed. It has been a great semester!
CIEE staff wishes you HAPPY HOLIDAYS and we will be back with CIEE Prague programs newsletter in Spring 2014!
I am currently studying abroad at the Film and Media University of the Academy of the Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague, Czech Republic. As part of the CIEE Film Studies program, we work in groups of 2 or 3 to write, shoot and edit a feature short film on 16 mm film. It was one of the funnest experiences of my life. I want to do it over and over again. Thank you to everyone at CIEE and FAMU who made it possible. And, thank you to my wonderful friends who made the experience so enjoyable.