Since its beginning, the Ateliers Varan are organizing cinema workshops in many countries around the world. Once the directing workshop is finished, the Ateliers Varan are supporting the trainee filmakers for the time necessary to ensure their autonomy.
The workshops can be organised at a country's request, in connection with representative organisations, such as universities, TV networks, unions, film schools, cultural organisations...
25 years ago, the Ateliers Varan chose to give the opportunity to learn how to use audiovisual tools to those who didn't have access to them. But today the use of digital video is available almost worldwide. However the standardised programmes broadcasted by mass medias leave little room for an author's vision and diversity.
In many countries documentary films are fully absent from the audiovisual landscape.
For the workshops, the Ateliers Varan recommend to recrute trainees from various sociological backgrounds. Experience showed that cultural, ethnic and professionnal diversities build up group dynamism and create fruitful intellectual exchanges.
The workshops consists in learning video techniques and making a 10 to 20-minutes documentary film. It aims at understanding through practice what is implied intellectually, morally and aesthetically when shooting a film. The workshop is intensive and availibility and motivation are essential.
Thanks to the equipment bought for this purpose, the workshop can become an independant audiovisual unit. The young directors are able to produce their own films.
The workshop acts like a development center and diffuses a new broadcasting dynamic through the country.
The workshop operates like the microcosm of a given society.
Conveying the reality of a big city, of a country or at least revealing its most representative facets is a difficult task. The films depict a range of situations and characters which help altogether to deepen understanding a of a country's complexity.
Although short-lived some of the workshops still have enabled filmmakers to be trained and films to be produced. For other workshops in some countries a long-term follow-up could be carried out over several years. Strong groups have emerged and alumni gathered to create production structures.
Initially the Communication Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs entirely financed the workshops. But since financial resources have largely evolved and diversified.
The Ateliers Varan and the interested organisation apply for funding. requests are sent to the French Embassy representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to the local delegations of international institutions such as the European Union, the UNESCO, foundations... and to local institutions.
The Ateliers Varan and the local partner follow up on the advancement of project with the various institutions. They establish a budget for the workshop, including the purchase of shooting and editing equipment, the trainers' wages, the cost for transportation, the trainees' grants if necessary.
The documentary in your own home
Find out about new films by sifting through our media library to find all the films made in our workshops since 1978.