FAMU puts famous graduates’ work online in anniversary celebrations


As part of celebrations of the 75th anniversary of its foundation, Prague’s FAMU has just launched a special new video streaming website. The service makes accessible often rarely seen works by graduates of the famous film school, including by some very well-known directors.

Virtually all of the best-known Czech film directors have attended FAMU, the film section of Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts.

Now, to celebrate its 75th anniversary, FAMU is making hundreds of graduation works by former and current students available online via the video streaming service FAMU Films. It is the first institution of its kind in Europe to take such a step.

Alexandra Hroncová, the person behind the project, says preparing the website, including digitising many works, was a major endeavour.

Věra Chytilová - 'Strop' | Photo: FAMU

“It took us one and a half years, I would say.

“There was demand from the public, because nowadays FAMU films are very well known across the globe.

“And we would like to show that not only current films are great and successful, but with the whole history of our film school – which means 75 years. We really have something to show and present.”

Rarely seen and in some cases completely inaccessible early works by the likes of Věra Chytilová, Jan Němec, Helena Třeštíková, Jan Svěrák and Jan Hřebejk – as well as some notable international names – are becoming available via the streaming service.

“I think people will be very pleased to watch films by directors from the famous Czech New Wave.

'Člověk Kilimandžáro' | Photo: FAMU

“As well as that, we have many world famous graduates, like for example Agnieszka Holland and Emir Kusturica, and current [Czech] filmmakers.

“I could name directors from the ‘90s. For example, Tomáš Vorel and Milan Šteindler – really famous Czech names.

“Also Jan Svěrák, the director, who won the Student Academy Award as well as later on winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.”

The new streaming service also offers short videos by FAMU teachers breaking down the films that are on offer.

The video on demand market is rather crowded. However, Alexandra Hroncová says the FAMU service will cater for very specific groups.

'Daughter' | Photo: FAMU

“As well as a lot of film fans and cinephiles of course, because some of those films have never been seen before, we expect attention from professionals from the audio-visual industry and cinematography, because we often have requests from professionals to show them current films, because they are looking for new colleagues for their projects. And we also expect interest from young people interested in studying at FAMU.”

There are over 200 films on offer at present, with more set to be regularly added.

Currently the service is only available – for CZK 80 a month – on the territory of the Czech Republic, partly for rights reasons, though some of the works do come with English subtitles.

However, FAMU also plans in future to launch an international version.

Trailer for FAMU Films