Pure animation, film, advertising, video games ... wherever there is the moving image, one wants the "French touch". In recent years, the French animation is at its highest form: internationally recognized and appreciated.

Schools of art, theatrical success, gateways to television, video games ... The animated creation is renewed and French exports to the United States, where Frenchies impose their expertise. 

Movie Animation 

The opportunity to study animation in France has been available for almost 40 years now. Some French schools have earned international recognition for their animation programs.

The first of these is the Gobelins School, widely known for excellence in traditional animation training. The best students of this school go on to work in leading American studios. Several years ago, this school began producing student graduation films, in addition to cinematic trailers for the Annecy film festival. These films give students greater opportunity to extend their studies past the technical aspects to include story-writing as well.

Supinfocom does much the same, except with computer-generated animation. A number of grand-prize winning student graduation films have allowed the Valenciennes-based school to open branches in Arles, in the south of France, and, more recently, in India.

The third highly-recognized school in France is La Poudrière, located in Valence. It was founded by the creator of Studio Folimage, whose headquarters are just next door. This institution’s curriculum offer many different exercises, such as TV and short film production, but its focus is on directing. 

Other schools, like Paris’ ENSAD (École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs) and Angoulême-based EMCA (École des métiers du cinéma d’animation), allow their students a great deal of freedom to express their personal creativity. This creativity has paid off and earned substantial recognition for student graduation films: The 2011 Annecy Grand Prix for best student film went to ENSAD and the year’s Special Jury Award went to EMCA.

Others, such as LISAA (L’Institut supérieur des arts appliqués), will base their education on the technical aspect of the field, thus opening doors for graduating students to find work with film studios.

It would be difficult to list every school in France—not to mention each school’s specialty—but the RECA (Réseau des écoles de cinema d’animation) was created to help simplify matters. It currently includes 15 institutions (though new ones could join very soon) who agree to respect a charter outlining the programs offered at each institution.

Programs last between two and five years. Most schools start recruiting at the Bac +2 level, which is the equivalent of the completion of a two-year post-secondary program, while some others recruit students right out of high school. In terms of price, aside from the rare completely-public schools, a year of study at a private institution can cost up to 8,500 Euros.

 

The French animation figures:

• 75% of employees in the sector have less than 40 years.

• 5000 employees in France,

• 300 hours of television programs and 3-10 feature films each year,

• 3rd largest in the world (behind the U.S. and Japan)

•  first place in Europe (40% of production European animation)

 

// Some schools' websites //

www.gobelins.fr

www.supinfocom.fr

www.eesa.fr

www.poudriere.eu

 



Video games 

Welcome to a world of enthusiasts, offering many jobs: writer, graphic designer, "game designer" ... Where the creations "made in France" are considered.

France has a recognized expertise in the formation and creation. Sector recruits but still is very selective. As such, "it is important for students to acquire expertise in their field while relying on general knowledge of the sector and its limitations," says Stéphane Natkin, director of ENJMIN (National School of gaming and interactive digital media).

This is why it is advisable to start with a general training in graphic design or programming, then specialize in video games. Schools like Gobelins, Supinfocom or Lisaa offer useful training to future designers. Few schools are truly specialized in video games; ENJMIN, Supinfogame and Créajeux.

Most wanted professions are those of creation: design, graphic design and development accounted for 71% of job offered. Add to that a strong ability to work in a group, and you're ready to start.

 

// Some schools' websites //

www.enjmin.fr

www.lisaa.com

www.creajeux.fr