who we are ?
The Varan project is part of the worldwide experiments which diversify forms of expression and communication through images. Varan is not a school in the classic and academic sense : the working methods strongly encourage the principle of teaching through practice. For each student, everything revolves around the making of "real scale" films.
But it doesn’t deal with production as such, in so far as the apprentice film-makers in training have a right to make mistakes.
The Ateliers Varan is a non profit-making association and a Non-Governmental Organisation. It is a member of CILECT (the association of the world’s film and television schools).
In 1978, when Mozambique became independent, the government asked the French Embassy to make films about the changes undergoing in the country. Instead of sending over film-makers, Jean Rouch suggested the Mozambicans themselves should film the events in order to show their own realities.
The Varan Association was officially set up on 20 January 1981. The starting point was just before 1978, in Mozambique. Further to the young independent Republic’s request, Jacques d’Arthuys, France’s Cultural Attaché, asked several directors to come to Mozambique to report on the events occurring in the country.
Jean Rouch suggested the Mozambicans themselves should film. He offered to train future directors in documentary film-making.
This first experience was improved and developed ; it was then exported to other countries around the world.
Varan’s calling was originally to enable young directors in developing countries to learn how to read and write with images and sounds. It meant giving them the opportunity to make films with a restricted budget, movies that would escape the invasion of mainstream cultural standards. They could then collect archives on popular or ethnical memories.