Training courses can be organised in countries who request them. We liaise with representative bodies in those countries, such as universities, TV networks, unions, cinema schools and cultural organisations...
The course does not require any particular technical knowledge. Selection is done after an interview. The trainees come from all ethnic, cultural and professional backgrounds. Varan encourages a wide selection representing the different sociological realities of the country. Experience has shown that a diversity of origins favoured exchanges, encouraged a creative drive and a particularly rich reflection within the group.
Thus, the workshop becomes a microcosm of a given society
Conveying what a big city or a country is, or at least reveal one of its most representative facets, is a difficult task. Only by cross-examining the visions of directors from different social and cultural backgrounds can a true range of situations and themes be woven. .
Although short-lived (the time to set up one or two courses), some of these centres have enabled film-makers to be trained and films to be produced (Mexico, Kenya and Portugal).
On the other hand, in some other centres (Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, South Africa, Cambodia and Columbia), a long-term follow-up could be carried out over several years. Strong groups have emerged.
The films made during the course show a range of situations and characters which globally makes the complexity of the country easier to understand. This course aims at approaching, through practice, the act of filming with its intellectual, moral and aesthetic commitment. It is when students make their films that they learn writing, production, camerawork, sound recording, editing and direction. The goal of creating a film gives a purpose to each technique required in film-making. Directing a film speeds up and sustains the learning process. Thanks to the equipment it now owns, the workshop becomes an audiovisual unit. The young directors, now fully trained, have the means to continue to produce films. The workshop is a development centre which creates a drive to film and show the movies throughout the country.
Initially, the Communication Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the sole source of finance for the workshops. Since then, funds have come from several diverse sources. The Ateliers Varan and the foreign organisation concerned apply for funds. These requests are sent to the local French Embassy, International Organisations’ delegations (European Union, UNESCO...) and the local institutions. The Ateliers Varan, together with their local partner are in charge of following up the funding requests lodged with the various ministries and bodies. Together they draw up a budget which includes :
the purchase of shooting and editing equipment, video tapes, the trainers’ wages, local transport costs, the trainees’ grants if applicable and the cost of the training centre...