During the spring semester of 2015, as part of my film studies at the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, I studied in the Czech Republic at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU). After receiving a generous scholarship from CET Academic Programs, I was designated a Student Correspondent to post articles or videos to their blog during the semester. The article below was my first blog entry. The original blog post can be found on the CET Academic web site. Click here to see it.
"Film Production in Prague" by Terry Jones
During the first week of freshman year at Syracuse University in 2012, the faculty called a meeting for all film students within the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The film faculty not only informed us about the requirements needed for our bachelor’s degrees, they all told us about opportunities to enhance our learning experiences while at SU. Of the three possibilities (studying documentary film-making in Italy, interning within the film industry in Los Angeles and/or studying at the FAMU film academy in the Czech Republic), I set my sights on working with 35mm film in Prague through the collaborative program between CET and SU Abroad.
At the end of that meeting in 2012, we were told that if any of us wanted to study in Prague, we needed to follow three basic rules: do your work, maintain your GPA and stay out of trouble. During my first two years at SU, I kept my absences to a minimum, I completed my projects on time and my GPA reflected my hard work and efforts.
Upon my acceptance into the CET Prague program, I was given the opportunity to actualize three life goals: to live and study in a foreign country, to learn about other cultures (as well as share my own American Indian heritage) and to make a movie using 35mm film. Now that I have settled into my apartment and started my studies at FAMU, I am slowly accepting the fact that Prague will be my home away from home for the next four months. In order to understand the history of Prague and the culture of the people who live here, there is a necessary obstacle to overcome; namely learning the Czech language. The ability to communicate with others has never been stronger than right now. How ever will I order food in a restaurant or ask for directions if I am lost if I don’t know the local language? I have made it an additional goal to become as proficient in Czech as I can before I complete my studies here in Prague.
The opportunity to make a movie in 35mm film in Prague is the goal that could possibly have the most profound impact on my life. We live in an age where technological advances offer ways of ushering in new technologies while retiring the old ones. We can now use digital technology to make photographic images without the use of film stock. Like hydroponics is to farming, where one can grow plants without soil, the original art of farming may be lost. Studying at FAMU will allow me to get my hands into the soil of 35mm film-making where I will learn the art of making movies as it was originally intended.