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05 May 2011

Ateliers Varan

Ateliers Varan’s hands on documentary filmmaking course encourages students to take a fresh look at the world.

Neither a school in the classical nor academic sense, Ateliers Varan’s teaching methods lay strong emphasis on learning through practical experience. Students focus on making a full-scale film.

Free from audiovisual market constraints, participants are encouraged to dive into the adventure of cinematography. Budding filmmakers work their way towards self-expression.

As students move through the different stages of their film, they learn about cinema language, camera handling, sound recording, directing and editing. Directing your own documentary film speeds up the learning process and makes for branding experience.

Ateliers Varan, an internationally recognised French film school acts as a consultant to UNESCO and collaborates regularly with the Communication Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nonprofit association and non-governmental organization, it is a member of CILECT (the association of the world’s major film and television schools).


In 1978, the young Mozambican Republic asked famous directors to film the changes occuring in their country. Jean Rouch offered to train the country’s future filmmakers, thus enabling them to film reality from the inside.

Jean Rouch and Jacques d’Arthuys, France’s Cultural Attaché, set up a documentary filmmaking workshop with teaching methods that are still valid today : " learning through practice"

Following that experience, the Ateliers Varan were set up in Paris in 1981.

In 2004 Ateliers Varan has conducted a series of training workshops on documentary film in Vietnam. The workshops resulted in 10 documentary films. Three of them have been shown to the public at "L'ESPACE" in Hanoi in May 2004.