Sunday, 29 April 2012

Great Schools of Animation: Gobelins L'Ecole de L'Image (France)

the toughest entrance exam of any animation school in the world 
Eric Riewer 
Director of International Relations, Gobelins

Gobelins L'Ecole de L'Image is located in the Latin quarter of Paris. Each year the animation faculty accepts 25 (out of an initial 850) applicants for the three year Animated film creator and director course. The larger school (applied arts, print and digital media) has some 700 students in total, affiliated to the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Gobelins has an unsurpassed reputation internationally, most prominently when its work acts as curtain raisers for the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Applications for their three year diploma course (equivalent to an MA) involve submitting a portfolio of art, a proficiency in the French language, together with oral and written examinations including a drawing study and a storyboard exercise. Students should be between 18 - 25. The 2012 procedures are here. A very high standard of drawing ability is required. Internships in the industry, national and international, are features of the vacations. The third year is given over to 3D character animation skills for the autumn with a group project for the remainder of the year in whatever technique is deemed suitable. Fees for the current academic year commenced at 6 350 for year 1. There are very limited opportunities for individuals to join for the final year course, plus summer schools. Most of the biggest animation studios have Gobelins graduates. Alumini include Eric Bergeron, Alexis Wanneroy, Pierre Coffin. Some of the world's leading animators act as tutors. Detailed information is obtained from

It is a seasonal feature of animation blogs the world over to wait for the release of the Gobelins teasers for Annecy. Jazzin, in my view, is the best in the last two years.  Not only has it got vitality in abundance, but the five guys who did it even got the dance steps correct. Joël Corcia, Wandrille Maunoury, Bong Nguyen, Thomas Reteuna and Bernard Som set their 60 second piece in 1930s America and had the sense to use good music. There is a similarity in style in all these second year pieces, inevitable given their common training and the group approach, not to mention the demands of the festival brief. (In September 2009 I wrote concerning the house style of the school) What they all share is a phenomenal artistic ability and a driving energy.

Whilst the Annecy work is 2D the students follow a dedicated 3D unit during their final year. A random example is this compilation piece by current student Mathéo Mercier. Again, by way of example, the blogs of students demonstrate their artistic talent, such as this from Julien Bocabeille, director of Oktapodi, one of the best films to emerge from the school. Julien works at Dreamworks. He is not alone!

In 2009 I featured a film by Rémy Schaepman, A Sheep on the Roof, prior to his arrival at Gobelins. Trois petits points, his 2010 film made with Lucrèce Andreae, Alice Dieudonne, Tracy Nowocien, Florian Parrot and Ornélie Prioul is an imaginative affair that deserves a feature of its own. The storyline is of a seamstress whose power with her needles seems to offer a cure for the ills of war. Its technical and artistic adroitness typifies this top rank school of animation.


Newer Post Older Post Home