Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague

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Film and TV Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague
Filmová a televizní fakulta Akademie múzických umění v Praze
DeanAndrea Slováková
FAMU sign outside of the school's building in Prague

The Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Czech: Filmová a televizní fakulta Akademie múzických umění v Praze) or FAMU is a film school in Prague, Czech Republic, founded in 1946 as one of three branches of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.[1][2] It is the fifth oldest film school in the world.[3] The teaching language on most courses at FAMU is Czech, but FAMU also runs certain courses in English. The school has repeatedly been included on lists of the best film schools in the world by The Hollywood Reporter.

In the 1960s and 1970s, several young directors from Yugoslavia were FAMU students (Rajko Grlić, Srđan Karanović, Emir Kusturica, Goran Marković, Goran Paskaljević and Lordan Zafranović). All of these directors would become very successful in the following decades, prompting the coinage of the term Praška filmska škola ("Prague film school"), or Praški talas ("Prague wave"), which is sometimes considered a prominent subgenre of the Yugoslav cinema.[4][5]


The school was established between 1946 and 1948, as one of the three branches of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU),[6] the fifth oldest film school in the world after Moscow, Berlin, Rome, and Paris.[6][3] The school was initially based on the 4th floor of Havlickova 13, before moving in 1948 to the Vančura building at Klimenská 4, which would house theoretical and also some practical tuition until 1960.[3] The new school also shared some facilities with the Czechoslovak Film Institute. However, when the institute was dissolved in 1949 by the new communist director of Czechoslovak State Film, Oldřich Macháček, many of the former staff became tutors at FAMU.[3] In 1952 FAMU was given the Roxy Cinema, a former Jewish cinema at Dlouhá 33, which it used as a film studio from 1955.[3] During the school's early years it faced numerous challenges, including a negative reception to its academic program from film-makers at Barrandov Studios, attempts to have the school closed, and political interference from the AMU Action Committee following the communist coup of 1948, which led to the expulsion of two students.[3] Nonetheless, the school survived, and built an academic program based on the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow.[3]

Although the 1960s are considered to be FAMU's "golden period", during which many of the central figures of the Czechoslovak new wave were students at the school, including world-famous directors such as Miloš Forman,[3] FAMU was also able to maintain a relatively free educational culture during the normalisation period, resisting attempts from the regime to focus the school's program on agitprop after the Warsaw Pact invasion in August 1968.[3]


FAMU forms one part of AMU, alongside the Theatre Faculty (DAMU) and the Music and Dance Faculty (HAMU).[3] In 2011, the school had 112 faculty members and 350 students across bachelors, masters and doctoral programs, including 80 foreign students.[3] As of 2014 the school had 450 students studying in Czech and 100 in English.[7]

FAMU is composed of eleven departments: Directing, Documentary filmmaking, Scriptwriting and Dramaturgy, Animated Film, Cinematography, Sound Design, Editing, Production, Photography, and the FAMU Center for AudioVisual Studies, focusing on contemporary audiovision at the intersection between theory and practice. Studies are offered at the bachelors, masters and doctoral levels.

Most courses at the school are taught in Czech. However, certain courses are taught in English, including: the one-year Academy Preparation Program, an intensive course focused on theoretical as well as practical film instruction; the three-month Special Production Course, which focuses on the practical issues of production and distribution of audio-visual work; the three-year master's degree "Cinema in Digital Media", a course for foreign students focusing mainly on authorial script-writing and directing work, run by FAMU's International department; and summer workshops. The individual departments are gradually expanding their programmes to include instruction in English, which is currently offered by the departments of Photography and Cinematography. Students studying in English must pay tuition, while courses offered in Czech are for free.[7]


FAMU's main building is located in the historic centre of Prague. The school includes Studio FAMU, a production and post-production facility with fully equipped sound stages and TV studios. Each autumn, FAMU organises a showcase of its students' work called the Famufest festival, with an accompanying cultural programme and visits by prominent figures in film-making.

International affiliations[edit]

The faculty is a founding member of the CILECT network and also of the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA).[citation needed] FAMU runs several short courses organised in cooperation with organisations such as the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), CET Academic Programs and schools including New York University's Tisch School of the Arts,[3] Emerson College,[7] Syracuse University,[7] Columbia University,[citation needed] Yale University,[3] and CalArts.[citation needed]

International rankings[edit]

The Hollywood Reporter has repeatedly named FAMU among the best schools in the world, including as the 7th in the world 2011,[3] and 11th in the world in 2012,[8] as well as the best school in Europe in both years.[3][8] The magazine subsequently included FAMU in its annual lists of "Best International Film Schools" (outside the United States), placed 4th in 2014,[7][9] and included in an unranked "top 15" list in 2017.[10]

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Richard Taylor, Nancy Wood, Julian Graffy, Dina Iordanova (2019). The BFI Companion to Eastern European and Russian Cinema. Bloomsbury. p. 1942. ISBN 978-1838718497.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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  4. ^ a b c d e f Istočnoevropski filmski fenomen (in Croatian)
  5. ^ Praška škola ne postoji (in Serbian)
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  10. ^ "Top 15 International Film Schools Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. 16 August 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
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  12. ^ a b Sioras, Efstathia (September 2009). Czech Republic. Marshall Cavendish. p. 107. ISBN 9780761444763. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
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  15. ^ Hames, Peter (2005). The Czechoslovak new wave (2. ed.). London [u.a]: Wallflower. ISBN 978-1-904764-42-7.
  16. ^ Silverio, Robert. Karel Cudlín. Prague: Torst, 2001. ISBN 80-7215-148-7. Pp. 10–11.
  17. ^ a b Roddick, Nick. "Dizdar, Jasmin - Beautiful People". Urban Cinefile. Archived from the original on 19 September 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
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  25. ^ "Libuše Jarcovjáková". Rencontres d'Arles. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
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External links[edit]

50°4′54.03″N 14°24′47.69″E / 50.0816750°N 14.4132472°E / 50.0816750; 14.4132472