Russian State University of Cinematography named after Sergey Gerasimov (VGIK) is the world’s oldest state film school. VGIK is part of the history of Soviet cinema, the present and future of Russian film. VGIK, being the first state film school in the world, has developed the models and standards of film education that comprise perfectly theory and practice, knowledge and technical skills.
The State Cinema School was opened after the October Revolution and started working from on September 1st, 1919 when the new government decided to create new art-cinema and to train specialists in this field.
In the 1930-s the School was transformed into the Institute with new Departments being established such as Film Direction, Acting, Cinematography and Scriptwriting.
Sergey Eisenstein, the great film directors was one of the great contributors to the School development. At that time he worked out the first methods of film directing. VGIK played a large part in preparing the staff for the entire multinational film industry. Its ideas were welcomed by many countries and used by them when creating their national film schools.
Among VGIK’s alumni are: Andrey Tarkovsky, Vasily Shukshin, Mikhail Kalatozov, Sergey Bondarchuk, Sergey Paradjanov, Otar Ioseliani, Andrey Konchalovsky, Rustam Khamdamov, Sergey Solovyov, J. Hoffman (Poland) etc. Among them are such film directors as Nikita Mikhalkov and Vladimir Menshov who were Oscar laureates.
VGIK today is a national multi-discipline institution of graduate and post-graduate education. It trains highly qualified staff for film industry, television and other visual media at seven Departments: Acting, Directing, Screenwriting and Cinema Studies, Cinematography, Animation and Multimedia, Producing and Management, Production Design.
The students receive a higher professional education, the duration of the course varying from 4 to 6 years. Those having the Bachelor degree can take Master program at Screenwriting Department. VGIK is famous for its system of workshops; it has become a practical system of education allowing constant personal contacts and collaboration with the master-head of a workshop who supervises the student practical work.
VGIK has special programs in different aspects of film training. Since 2009 annually VGIK holds International Summer School where foreign filmmakers cooperate with VGIK students on shooting films at Documentary and Animation sections.
Another big international event is annual VGIK International Student Festival. It is one of the oldest student film showcases. In 2019 VGIK will be holding the festival for the 39th time.
VGIK’s faculty take part in international conferences, seminars, give master-classes and lectures in film schools abroad. Well-known persons from international film industry, theatre and television are, in their turn, invited to VGIK for meetings with the students and giving master-classes. Such outstanding figures as Tonino Guerra (Italy), Krzysztof Zanussi (Poland), Andrzej Waida (Poland), Jerzy Hoffman (Poland), Claude Lelouch (France), Henri Alekan (France), Jack Valenti (USA), Kim Ji-Mee (Korea), Adilbek Dgaksyibekov (Kazakhstan), Milcho Manchevski (USA), Arystanbek Moukhamediuly (Kazakhstan) were granted the degree “Doctor Honoris Cause” for their impact on world culture and help and support to young filmmakers.
VGIK closely cooperated with many international film festivals presenting best student films, retrospectives, art exhibitions. The works of our students have won first prizes in Oberhausen, Berlin, Cannes, Locarno, Rimini, etc. and a few have been nominated for Student Oscars.