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18 posts categorized "Resident Director"


Fall 2013, Issue II


The Fall 2013 Film Studies semester is half way through and we are back with some updates on what CIEE students accomplished thus far.

Some of you may have read about their academic overnight trip to Bohemia in a student blog, but we want to make sure that the others won't miss it:

CIEE Academic Overnight trip to Bohemia

The weekend of October 4-6th, Film Studies students went to the Bohemia region to attend Písek International Student Film Festival and enjoy a nice hike to Castle Kašperk. We believe that pictures are often better than words, so now you will be able see for yourselves how much fun they had. Laurel Schwartz (Scripps College) was kind enough to share her videoblog with us:


CIEE Halloween party

On Wednesday, October 30th, CIEE Study Center Prague organized their first Halloween party. All Prague programs were invited and Czech buddies helped with the organization. And the evening was a blast - best student and Czech buddy Halloween costume was announced (and awarded), everyone got a chance to taste various kinds of trick or treat candy, jack 'o' lanterns made by students during the interest group activity decorated the premises and everyone had fun!


Flat buddy organized activities

Flat buddies planned some more cool immersive activities since you got our last newsletter! Students are always excited for cooking lessons, art & film festivals and exhibitions, but one of the most interesting events was probably a tour of Prague given by local homeless men, Karim and Emil (see the picture below) which is organized by Pragulic Organization. Seeing the city through their eyes was truly interesting for all students.


photo courtesy of Chelsea Steeb

CIEE Open mic night (all CIEE Prague programs get-together)

On Tuesday, November 12th, students from all three CIEE programs (FS, CES, CNMJ) enjoyed a get-together event with CIEE staff and buddies: the legendary OPEN MIC NIGHT! Participation was amazing (more than 70 people came) and we had 9 outstanding performances + free karaoke at the end. There was a good variety of performances, so we enjoyed singing, musical instruments playing, poetry and even folklore dance! One of the best performers was Edan Laniado from the Film Studies program who played the piano and sang few of his own songs. 


Screenwriting track pitch

We have reached the second half of the semester, so on Wednesday, November 13th, FS Academic Advisor Mary invited FAMU screenwriting professors Jan Fleischer and Pavel Jech and directing professor Asmara Marek to the Screenwriting track pitch. CIEE FS Program coordinator and Production track students also joined this event. Nicole, Alex, Jamie, and Edan introduced their screenplays and received some useful feedback on how to make their characters livelier, along with other various tips for improvement. All stories pitched were quite interesting and FAMU mentors seemed happy with students' progress. We can't wait for the final screenplay presentations on the final day - it still remains to be decided whether authors introduce their screenplays or ask actors to rehearse a couple of their dialogues (and learn how to direct them in the meantime).


Production track: preproduction

Students enrolled in the Production track have also been busy lately. The last two weeks were dedicated to locations scouting, casting, meetings with mentors and production managers and other preparations. Friday and Saturday, November 15-16, were dedicated to the camera orientation when students got their hands on the 16mm film equipment. And on Sunday, they started making their 7-10' films - so let's keep our fingers crossed for them!


photo courtesy of EJ Kennelly


Písek Academic Overnight Trip

The weekend of October 4-6th, Film Studies students went to Bohemia region to attend Písek international student film festival and enjoy a nice hike to the castle of Kašperk. We believe that pictures are often better then words, so now you will be able see for yourselves how much fun they had. Laurel Schwartz (Scripps College) shared her videoblog with us:



Ahoj Praha!

Fall 2013 semester has just begun and our Film Studies student Nikki would like to share her first impressions with you:

By Nikki Kiga, University of Washington

Ahoj Praha!

“Prague never lets you go… this dear little mother has sharp claws –Franz Kafka”

The jet lag has worn off. The apartment isn’t completely white.  I finally have a few Czech words in my arsenal. I’m Ready. Set. GO!

Although it has only been two weeks, I have already fallen in love with Prague. It has been so humbling to gaze at centuries-old buildings and literally feel the history here in this city. Yes, the city obviously has energy thanks to its international status, but it also has a different sort of energy quality. Prague has a kind of energy from the rise and fall of governments. Energy from great artists—and fantastic filmmakers. I can’t believe that I will have the opportunity to make a film here.


Already I have to ask myself, “Is this really happening?” From our group’s first few days tromping the city with four-foot maps—stumbling upon tucked away vintage stores and stumbling upon small gardens. This trip is characterized by adventure and discovery.

Sometimes the best discoveries are made alone. Last weekend, I wanted some quiet time to myself so I made my way to the palace gardens and enjoyed a quiet few hours reading my book in the maze of hedges and flowers, only to be interrupted by the occasional peacock.


Once I finished my book, I went for a stroll through one of Prague’s more touristy spots, by Charles Bridge, through Little Venice and finally to Muzea Kampa. This was one of my favorites. I spent hours looking at Milan Grygar’s  Drawing with  Wooden Stick and wandering through the various installations including some of Gustav Klimt’s work including Judith. One of my favorite installations is the reflective glass roof from the second level. From here you can see the river and Charles bridge as well as take some amazing pictures of the clouds.


Our group also loves to attend the open air cinema screenings by the river. We will all be so sad when it gets to cold to view them anymore. It really is a whole different setting to watch a movie framed by swans in the Vltava river and Prague’s lights gleaming at dusk.


I am still very much a tourist to this exciting city, but I hope to eventually navigate the streets like a local. You’ll soon find me sipping the Kava in a favorite coffee shop and nestling into a cozy spot in the library. Here’s to a semester full of wandering!


A  view from the Kampa Window. Old Town Square at Night


The goods from the farmer’s market—all under $25



Spring 2013 semester begins...

February 10th, 2013

The winter is almost over in Prague and Spring 2013 semester has already begun. Both tracks (Production and Screenwriting) were opened this term.

How did the first week go?

On Wednesday, January 23rd, CIEE Film Studies Program Coordinator, Ivana (who is back with CIEE Prague after her maternity leave as an external coworker) and buddies Lucia & Jonáš, picked up students from the airport and took them to their apartments. The rest of the day was dedicated to getting to know each other, exploring the neighborhood and resting after their long trip.

Since students needed to get adjusted to the European schedule, Thursday morning we started orientation sessions (Housing, Safety & Health, How to deal with bureaucrats and How to navigate Prague). After a yummy lunch, students had their visas registered at the Foreigner’s Police with CIEE assistance. To brighten the day, orientation walk around the city followed. 



Friday sessions were dedicated to academics (including detailed tour of FAMU by FS Academic Advisor and Acting professor Mary Angiolillo) and extracurricular opportunities. RD Jana also introduced students to their very first batch of Czech vocabulary. And the dean of FAMU, Pavel Jech, stopped by to welcome students in Prague. Students had a traditional scavenger hunt afterwards and we have to say that they were quite competitive this time! The day ended nicely – Welcome Dinner was held at U Šemíka Restaurant (where Summer orientation is ran).


Saturday sessions started slightly later and students had a chance to explore CIEE Study Center. In the afternoon, CIEE Art and Architecture professor Marie Homerová took them for a tour of Prague Castle.

Sunday was a free day so students could get ready for Intensive Czech and other new experiences. FAMU buddies 

used this free time to take 3 students who were interested to underground Světozor movie theatre for Cloud Atlas.

And on Monday, January 28th, students started classes: Intensive Czech course was their focus for the first two weeks. Their teacher says that even though Czech language is a hard one, they do their best to master the survival basics.

On Sunday, February 3rd, another flat buddy organized extracurricular activity was planned – Kupka exhibition at Salmovský palace. Six FS and two CES students joined buddy Jonáš. In his words „We saw František Kupka's path to abstract art. The exhibition has shown his works which he presented at art salons in Paris in the beginning of 20th century. After exhibition we went to dinner together.“

Thursday, February 7th was a busy day. Students had their academic advising sessions with Mary. They went through the core class syllabi so their expectations would be realistic. But studying abroad means having fun too, so after advising, students continued to Bowling and Pool night...and won the tournament against all CES program teams! This wasn’t the only opportunity to mingle with the big program though – FS students were also invited to CES welcome dinner at the Municipal House; they joined two lunch sessions (focused on Brief History of the Czech lands and Minorities and Genders in the Czech Republic); and a trip to Kutná Hora where students visited the extraordinary church made of human bones and explored the local silver mines.


photo courtesy of Amanda Lechner

This week students started their core and electives and from now on they will meet their Czech language teacher once a week. There is so much ahead: Barrandov film studios excursion, CIEE sponsored high culture events, flat buddy organized Interest Group activities, cultural workshops, academic trip to Moravia, One World & Febiofest film festivals, Hafan animation workshop and more!


Barrandov Film Studios Excursion

Barrandov Film Studios Excursion The excursion on March 9th was amazing. Students spent nearly 8 hours there and enjoyed it immensely. Going through depository of costumes, props, furniture, wigs, and shoes was inspiring. They even got to sit on chairs from the movie Amadeus and try on some costumes!


After seeing films labs, color grading, editing and few other sites, they continued to Borgias exterior set (which is currently being reconstructed). They also saw some studios and atelier/studio for a music show, where they started with a little singing and dancing improvisation.

But hear about it from student's perspective:

Wigs, lots, and Britney?

by Sharon Krome (Muhlenberg College)

What do 11 film students do when given a tv set all to themselves? Why bust out into some song and dance of course! After touring the extensive Barrandov studios, my peers did indeed break out into “Not Yet a Woman” as the rest of us, Barrandov studio head included laughed until we wept. But that wasn’t all the studio had to offer.

The average American may never visit the Czech Republic (or even know where it is on a map) but I can guarantee that you’ve seen a film shot here. Such titles include “Casino Royale”, “Mission Impossible Four”, “The Bourne Identity”, “Prince Caspian”, “Amadeus”, “The Tudors”, “Kolya”, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, “The Brother’s Grimm”, “Oliver Twist”, “The Illusionist”, “Everything is Illuminated”, “A Knight’s Tale”, and many, many more. Then of course there’s the costume and prop storage. Imagine 10 of the classiest GoodWills you’ve ever encountered stacked atop one another and you may be able to visualize the sheer mass of furniture, hats, chandeliers, and all other imaginable movie props that Barrandov has. I was amazed. Rooms piled full of “things” just for cinematic magic! Our next stop was a studio lot that would put a soccer arena to shame. The size, my God, I was dwarfed in awe, just imaging the possibilities, what great actors must’ve stepped on this very surface. We even meandered to the outdoor lot where an entire castle was constructed for an HBO tv series. I thought I had gone back centuries. Everything was so incredibly lifelike, well until you tapped on the “brick wall” and realized it was plaster…but still, SO lifelike! What an incredible day. Certainly one for the ages, dear friends. The biggest perk? Experiencing it with fellow film lovers who were just as enamored. 


(myself, modeling a spiffy prop. Photo credit: Will Sampson)



Spring 2012 semester begun!

Hello everyone!

Spring 2012 Film Studies students arrived safely to Prague in the end of January, they completed Orientation sessions, walks and Intensive Czech Language course and this week they start for real! Their core and electives classes have started only today and they have one week left to finalize their schedules.

But let's hear it from the students themselves!


Another semester in Prague is beginning...

The Fall 2011 semester is about to start for real! Students have finished their Intensive Czech Language course and just started with core class Topics in Production (consisting of Screenwriting, Camera and Film Language, Cinematography, Acting, Editing, Sound and Directing). You will be able to read some of the students’ blog entries soon, but for now, we would like to refer you to the link for blog of our Spring 2011 semester student John Goodwin (Columbia University) who kindly shared it with us:


Film Studies Students in Action

The weather in Prague changed from a lovely Indian summer through surprisingly sunny colorful fall to the classic November nastyness of rain and grey overcast, but that does not mean that Film Studies students slow down.  Recently we have heard from Colin who shared with us his blog available here

Please enjoy Colin's cultural encounters as much as we did in our office on this cold day--it definitely warmed up the afternoon as much as all the teas and coffees consumed - who knows, it may have the same effect on you!