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Dear reader, i have graduated from the school in 2009 (the year this was written) in the international department.
Beneath all that professionally-written articles found on their website promising a captivating, strictly professional school system that will provide its students with equal chance and gear to work with, lies the pragmatical truth.
EICAR-Paris is a place where there is no equal treatment, people can be absent from school for more than 3 weeks and nobody will even care about it (in fact you might see them in your class-room next year), some people get more equipment than others (not because their scripts were chosen, but because they were in "good hands").
A Divided group of people are running the international department with esteemed (and some not so esteemed) ex professors suing the school for mis-treatment. In fact, at the time that this was written, there are now at least three (3) court cases pending, which include directing professors, administration and other staff. This situation within the school results to a very bad "dynamic" between administration, professors and ultimately the students. Who are stuck between ego-fights and financial management.
The people Of Eicar
A fair warning. Although it's claimed in the website, there is no selection. People don't get "accepted" in this school. The schools financial situation (it's Computer graphics dept located in Normandy had to close down 2 years ago) and the recent re-location they made into a far more expensive "studio" location both indicate that the school is in dire need of funds. Thus every student applying there gets accepted. If you want to cross reference this, just look at the sheer increase of accepted students over the past 3-4 years. What happens when money runs out? You put an actual exec. producer running productions. What does that mean? They'll try and make you rent everything so they can avoid the cost. You will be fighting for your film, every single aspect of it, and before u think "thats how it happens in the real world", make sure u look into that wallet of urs that is missing 11 grand for services like equipment etc etc.
Now, due to the lack of acceptance standards, it is perfectly understandable that you will encounter mostly ignorants and not-so-professional fellow students. Most of them rich kids who decided to play film making on this playground called paris. Most common indication of that is lame, hollow, empty scripts being shot with amazing production values (worked on a first year shoot that costed 16 grand and was shot on super 35 on a panavision camera) A way to get convinced is to actually go to one of their screenings.
The school will give you a certain amount of film rolls and equipment to work with, be assured, you will have to spend money anyway, cause you will be responsible for everybody's food, transportation, even more equipment AND for sure more film rolls. If your script doesn't get selected during the semester selection (4-6 films per class i think) ur basically screwed. you have to beg that evil exec. producer for ANYTHING AT ALL (lights, a digital camera, smt!) and then rent / acquire everything else by yourself.
So what is eicar good for????
Well, 1st: Hands on departments, such as Gripping & gaffing, cause you;ll get lots of on-set action, and it wont cost you extra cash. Ull learn the ropes, and you'll be almost ready to start freelancing upon graduation.
Editing: The best way to learn directing is by cutting. learn from the rich kid's expensive mistakes, not yours.
DoP'ing: Literally, 3 years of active practice AT NO ADDED COST. Since directors pay for all the toys the DoP wants to try for the first time for every individual project. If you see a DoP paying his part in an EICAR film, it would be the day hell freezes over. go there and built a showreel now!
On a more serious note, if you are looking for a film school with a certain mentality and standards, i urge you to do a bit more research, maybe learn some french and try Lumiere or La Femis, both respectable schools worldwide and with very narrow and quality-driven selections.
This school is in a really bad shape, been like this since i've been there, and it was like that the day i graduated. weigh your options wisely, do a decent budget, and look at alternatives.
for my closing i will just say that i am NOT a student that did badly, i directed 3 short films, been to festivals with them and was generally happy with a couple of my professors. But to be honest, i suffered for 3 years, three years i will never forget. Sure things could've been alot better, A LOT BETTER. (Getting ur final class schedule within the first 2 weeks of school would be nice instead of christmas for example)
Could you please tell us which degree you completed at EICAR--MFA or BFA? I was thinking of applying to the graduate program (where hopefully people are more mature, take the craft more seriously and have better taste). It's not very often that you see shallow, spoiled rich kids get their GRADUATE education paid for by their parents too; I think that usually they find college to be a total bore the first time around so they don't even consider pursuing graduate school... hence, if you were only describing students in the BFA program then there might still be hope for the MFA program. Also, do the graduate students and undergrad students have to interact at all? I was just wondering how often (if ever) the graduate students and undergraduate students had to battle over equipment since their school is so low on funds according to you. Did they ever have to work on projects together? There's some American film schools I've heard of where both the undergraduate and graduate students take the same classes together with the same teachers as though they were at the same level (maybe they are but it would be more reassuring if the curriculum catered to the specific needs of both programs individually). How was the networking situation? Did any of your professors or PR men actually know anyone in the industry? Are MFAs offered at either of those two other film schools in France you mentioned, and do either of them give you the option to specialize--say, in cinematography for example? Sorry your experience at film school had to be so terrible. I wish you the best of luck, and if you got nominated, won, or had one of your films screened at any of those festivals you attended then congratulations!
This school is complete shit, shit, shit! Don't waste your money in this! In these days there's many swindlers around... this Eicar is one of them. Buy a horse, buy a car instead, if you want to splurge.
I was there one year and I regret it badly. I hated, hated, hated it. They just want your money. "Students" are rich kids who wants to be great film makers in the Paris, because its SO COOOOL to be FILM MAKER and specially it's SO COOOOL to be in Paris, oh my god! Paris! Eicar's "theachers" are amateur people who know shit about film making. Maybe there's couple of wise around, I don't know, I really don't care.
This "Film school of Paris" is such a kindergarten. Fuc**ng wankers... I really hope this place will go bankrupt.
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