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School of cinema and audiovisual Tours – ESCAT : overview

You have your Tray, or you have the level of BAC and you are interested for careers in the audiovisual and cinema ? The EscaT is a film school that opened its doors in September 2017, at Tours. After a brief presentation of the school, I propose you an interview of Isabelle Heurtaux, the Founding Director.

Campus Tours and relationship with the professional world

It is in a quiet, colorful and green, in the north of Tours, the campus of the EscaT, on 1000m2 was installed to accommodate Audiovisual professionals and young people wanting to discover and learn about the business of cinema. The group courses are given in an amphitheatre to spacious. For their projects, the students will have to provision a set of 200m2. They will be able to use the filming equipment is modern and efficient, equipped with new technologies.

You want to work in the audiovisual sector ? Whether you’re interested in film or television, you will have the opportunity to do an internship in a company involved in film projects or television by joining this school. Each day of the field experience, in the form of practical work and exercises in turning, will be supervised by teams of teachers from the professional world and having accumulated many hours of filming.

The sponsors and partners, including some big names, will share their experiences in the field and accompany the students in their training and their projects.

How to organize the two years in the EscaT ?

The curriculum for the ESCAT takes place over two years. The first year of the degree course is based around a common core, with theoretical classes in the morning and practical courses in the afternoon : the students will, for example, several theoretical courses on the cinema and art in order to complete their general culture. They discuss many of the themes of the writing, to the diffusion (directing, image, sound, editing, post-prod, production, distribution).

The second year will be an opportunity for them to specialize : one side for writing and staging ; and other : frame-image-chef-operator. The major objective is that each pupil will leave the school having made his first film. The emphasis will therefore be placed on the filming, the scenarios and the implementation stage. Through each project, all the competences will be mobilized.

Visit the website of the EscaT

Interview of Isabelle Heurtaux

Hello, Can you introduce yourself, your background, what led you to the creation of this school ?
I was a journalist. I left the profession to raise my two daughters. I came to Oregon because my husband was from the area and wanted to return there. So I worked with my husband and then I opened a restaurant, and then I closed it because I couldn’t see my family.
When I closed the restaurant I wanted to go back to journalism so I bought a camera, editing equipment and I have made documentaries.

In the meantime my eldest daughter is back at the conservatoire in Tours, and I discovered this city that I find absolutely wonderful. My husband has an idea ” why there would not be a film school ? “And I’ve always had a side girlfriend to school, I passed a French diploma, I have given courses in the college of my village. Create this school combines the two : being a teacher and in the audiovisual sector.

Your husband is involved in the project ?

He is an independent producer and already, it is involved because it is he who had the idea, and being in the cinema for 30 years he knows of the world. If we counted the number of oscars and the caesars that these people have received you could fill a semi-trailer and it is very important to show that one does not come out of nowhere. And all these people with whom he has worked will do the Masterclass, and support the school and, of course, share with the students. For the rest, it is me who manages : project pedagogical, administrative, the concept…

For the time being it is a school post-bac ?

No, it is at bachelor level. A mom called me the other day to his son in first, and I encouraged him to spend his tray, so as not to regret after. Someone who has a CAPE in the pocket, it is still better than nothing. For this occupation there, but one never knows what life holds in store, and if there is ever a day he should take another path, to have something in your pocket is still better. So we can say the graduate level, if they have it is better and if they have not it also works. The first criterion is the motivation

Profiles and older who might want to take a new direction, with a few years experience ?

The question I was asked. The problem before which I stand is that I’m going to do teams, 5,6, 7 max. They are going to run things. It would not be necessary that there should be one that takes the advantage on the other because it has a lot of experience. I want them to be all at the same level even if there will always be personalities that will emerge, and that will can be have influence on the other, there is always a leader, but not necessarily older.

After this will be on a case-by-case basis. It has the right to lose, to seek, so I don’t want to close the door at all. It would be a shame. This person here, may be, will bring so much to others.

This would be a course in how long ?

2 years. In the first year is a common curriculum to all the world, with a theoretical part in the morning and practical in the afternoon. The second year with specialization : one side production/script and the other chief operator / image.

On the theoretical part, what the content would be on the first year ?

I refer you to the site or it is very well described. There are of course all that is ” aesthetics of cinema, history of arts, history of cinema, the production, of English. All with a practical dimension. The English will, the English cinema, with the words that go with them, around the audiovisual sector. We will not make them study the history of the real estate.

It is very important to have this theoretical axis, so that students have a minimum of general culture. It is a big lack that I see around me. It is for this reason that I would really like to get them out, with us, to go see movies. They will do reading logs, viewing. Here there are plenty of galleries of painting. I want them to know all that to that they have aesthetic references.

You’re thinking of partnerships with other institutions, including the cinema studios next film, but also in other areas ?

Yes quite. The studios have called me, we will see in the month of march. Necessarily we can’t go near the studios. There are plenty of people with whom I want to work and who want to work with us. And for students it’s going to be great because they will be everywhere.

In the theoretical courses, there is a course in which I like a lot : every Wednesday, review the output of all the films : what’s that spell ? what kind of films ? How much did the movies last week ? Or it is in the news ? I think it’s very important, because if they make the movie, they are going to be faced with it.

Yourself you’ve done a lot of documentary, is it that you want to work specifically for this axis in school ?

It is a school of cinema and audiovisual sector, so we can’t not do the documentary. There will also be a sequence of television : how to make a report, what is the difference with a documentary, because this is not the same thing. The material is not the same, how to approach the image is not the same. I want this to be addressed because these young people will not necessarily find enough to live on in the cinema, and our goal is that they live after. If they make the movie and they did not, they were still a plan B, in the image. They are not forced to be servers, they do what they like. If there is a position of JRI, they are able to do so.

At the level of the students searched, this will be mainly at the level of the pool of local / regional or in all France / international ?

Yes why not. But there is no other school in the entire region. No matter where they come from, I just want that they are passionate about.

What are the selection criteria ?

I want them to tell me who they are : this is the opposite of everything one expects in schools in the so-called normal. Tell me what you are, what you like, what is your relationship to the culture and to the image… It is the above that I’m going to build. After that, maybe they will have already done small stuff in the link with the image. I put online a short film of a minute with a phone, you sense that there is a style, a writing, a particular treatment of the image.

If they have things like that to show it is wonderful. If they have nothing, this is not serious, they are going to learn. If they have the desire it is essential.

What will be the material means made available to students ?

Everything to work : shooting gear, shooting (cameras, sound) and everything that relates to the post-production, with a mixing studio and computers to do the editing. You can follow the chain from A to Z.

Will they have internships to do during the training ? In the first year ? During the second ?

Over the two years, they promised them an internship. It provides an internship so we’ll see how it is organized, because we’re not going to get rid of all of the students at the same time. And then we will see the need of each other here.

There is a lot of audiovisual players here who have called me saying that it was great that the school created, because they needed interns. People who produce works of fiction and important things in the region.

So the idea would be to make the students work more in the region and outside ?

Not necessarily so. After that, I see no reason why I will go and offer stuff away so there is plenty to do here. But we also have the necessary networks in Paris so it is not of concern. The aim is that they work, that they have a foothold in this environment, that they understand how it happens, they see what is expected of them. And we are the form so that they can meet this demand.

What are the costs of the training ?

It is 6000€ per year. There is no trading because it is completely private. There is a registration fee of 500 + 50. The 500 euros are withdrawn only when the student is selected and it covers a lot of things including insurance. Once he has paid it, the student pays nothing more : no memory card, disk drive to provide…

It is located in the low and middle schools broadcasting. There are 7 schools to€ 6000 and all the rest is above, it goes up to 25000€. Our bet is that they fall in the active life just after.

They do not, therefore, necessarily engages with a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree but work directly ?

Yes. Once they hit the practice they want to go back to school. He will want to be in the heart of the thing. I’ve been on the other side, in the production. I see them getting the trainees. When they return, they don’t want to stand out. this is normal. And those who are in alternation, when they must return to the course it is difficult, they have only one desire is to return to the heart of the matter.

Therefore, no alternating ?

No. It is complicated for a box of production to have someone who is there half a day, or a week, and left, you did not follow-up. So that if you have a shoot that lasts several weeks, if you have a person who is there all the time, you’re going to have an evolution. The person will see and understand what is going on from the beginning to the end.

How many classes for the new school year in September ?

50 students maximum, since we can have four classes a maximum of two years. Which would make two classes of 25 at the start of the year.

In addition to the courses taught by practitioners, the curriculum provides for the masterclass ?

Yes, once per month, a masterclass will be hosted by a professional of renown, a certain size, such as, the composer Alexandre Desplat, who has received Césars and the Oscars. And other great technicians like Michel Carrat, audio engineer on Hunger Games or Gerard de Batista, chief operator on the films of Claude Lelouch and Claude Miller. They will talk and give their point of view, to tell how it really goes, speak of the reality of the business.

What form would these masterclass ?

Questions / responses. In fact, in the school, we are going to have a home, which is a great space that will serve as much of a place for the theoretical courses and focus to the primary sense of the term, where they will be able to work in a group, sit in sofas. This will be a warm place. This is where they will eat, also, they will be able to discuss their projects, short films, and it is in this focus that the masterclass will take place, projections will be organized.

The material will also be available for personal projects ?

They will not have the time. We’re going to ask them to do the projects. It is the difference between the tutorials and practical work. The work directed by the teacher who will ask them precisely what he wants : “there you go make me a scene between two people in a cafe, hearing the music, there are people who speak off” It gives them the stage and they will have to film it in field / counter field.

And the practical work it is, ” you write your scene “. For each step of the production of the short film, they will have a job to do. They are not going to have time to do their own work in addition to. And over the two years, they must create a short film from A to Z that will validate their diploma and output, which will be broadcast during a gala evening with a jury of professionals which will award a prize and to explain their choice. The winning team will be able to make a short film with a piece of equipment more important.

And, therefore, each student will be directing a short film ?

This will be by team, but each student will have done all positions : producer, sound engineer… so they can really touch everything.

You will have a willingness to submit their short films to competitions, festivals outside ?

Yes, of course. Everything that is in relation with the reality of the business, and this will be good. And we will be in relationship with all those people there anyway.
Thank you so much for these responses.
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