Gulf Summer University

La Fémis Gulf Summer University was an intensive training programme for aspiring young filmmakers from the Gulf region. For five weeks in Paris, selected filmmakers were enriched with theoretical and practical filmmaking knowledge, and gained insight into the film industry through interaction with French filmmaking professionals. At the end of the training, filmmakers directed a five-minute film.

La Fémis organized from 2014 to 20106 the Gulf Summer University , an intensive training programme for young aspiring filmmakers native from the Gulf Region, with the active support of local sponsors (the Doha Film Institute in Qatar, the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters in Kuwait, Total in the UAE, private sponsors in Bahrain such as Dadabhai Travel, Garmco) and all the French Embassies, French Institutes and Alliances in the GCC region.

The programme took place in Paris in August, and ran for 5 weeks of intensive classes, all week long, during which trainees thoroughly explored the filmmaking craft.

Objectives of the programme

The objective of the programme was to teach the fundamentals of cinematic language, the principles of directing, cinematography and sound, and the steps and professional methods from shooting to editing. The aim was not to provide specialized technical training, but to involve trainees in creating works that allowed them to better understand the roles and tasks that are part of today’s filmmaking.

Trainees also had the opportunity to discover contemporary French cinema through the study of major French directors.


The programme was divided into two parts:

—  Filmmaking: Theory
Classes were given by professionals from the French film industry in which the following subjects were taught: production craft, the work of a producer, co-production, funds and festivals, cinema aesthetics, French cinema, screenwriting, film fundamentals, script continuity, story breakdown, directing, casting…

—  Filmmaking: Practical
While making a film (in digital) based on an existing script, trainees were involved in the various stages of the project’s development: rewriting, location scouting, shooting (1 day) and editing (3 days).
Each trainee made a 5 minute fiction film. Each trainee, in turn, assumed directing, camera operating and photography, sound recording and editing. For that purpose, trainees learnt the fundamentals of cinematography, sound recording and editing.
Throughout these exercises, the trainees were supervised by professionals who regularly teach at La Fémis.


This programme was open to very motivated young filmmakers, native from the Gulf region who wished to develop their practical and theoretical knowledge of filmmaking in France.

All courses were taught in English. The ability to speak, write and read English was compulsory.

Number of trainees: 9 from the Gulf Region (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates).

Admission level: Students or young professionals who were highly motivated to make films.

Age: Applicants must have been between 21 and 33 years old.


The last edition of this programme was supported by local sponsors who covered the tuition, travel and accommodation costs:

—  in Kuwait: the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters
(information through the French Institute in Kuwait)

—  in Qatar: the Doha Film Institute


—  in Bahrain: the French Embassy in Manama