Summer Film Network

Pisek, Czechia, 5 - 16 July 2021


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The Summer Film Network (SFN) is a two week summer program of film production, education, collaboration and experimentation in Pisek, the Czech Republic.

It brings together students from Film Production at Salford University in Manchester, London-based actors, and students from FAMO in Pisek (and their friends at the Anglo American University in Prague).

The SFN is an opportunity to engage in international collaboration, networking and skill-sharing, while taking part in advanced creative workshops and jointly making short fiction films.


Intimate, personal environment in which to produce strong collaborative work

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Pisek is a beautiful small town in the south of Czech republic, about a 90-minute drive from Prague, surrounded by pristine, atmospheric countryside.

FAMO is a small film school with very high production standards and dedicated facilities. 

Over the 12 days of the SFN, you will form strong creative and personal bonds with other filmmakers, and work in an inspiring, stimulating environment.


Focus on working with actors and experimental storytelling

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Specialist workshops and dedicated masterclasses in directing, storytelling and working with actors, delivered by John Zibell, Alex Lichtenfels, Pavel Prokopic, and others.

We will be joined by a group of ten highly suitable and talented actors. This will be a great opportunity to practice and experiment with directing actors, while forming strong creative relationships. 

The actors will inspire your stories and characters (rather than casting based on specific characters in a script). This will be a creative limitation driving the work.


Innovative ways of working together

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Short films will be made in small production teams during the second week. However, every evening we will reflect on the rushes as the whole group – from this, certain unifying aspects between the individual projects will emerge, supported by the shared cast.

Teaching staff will supervise projects, but also contribute their skills to projects, and make their own practice. 

The footage from all the projects will be shared, and all groups will be able to incorporate each others’ footage. All the resulting films will eventually be combined into a single feature-length project.


The Summer Film Network Plan

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April 30, 2021: Application deadline.

May 14, 2021: Payment deadline.

June 2021:  Participants begin to network online, meet each other and share ideas. Creative ideas and concepts begin to be developed.

Week 1 (5 - 9 July): Workshops in directing actors, experimental storytelling and devised cinema. Masterclasses by participating tutors, previous work presented by students, ideas and scripts are discussed and developed. 

Week 2 (12 - 16 July): Intense production in small teams with daily reflective viewing of rushes. 

August 2021: Individual films are edited; all footage is available to all groups.  

September 2021: Cuts are reviewed and reflected upon online by the whole group. Once finalised, all films are combined together in a feature-length structure. 

October 2021: The resulting film is screened to the public.


How to take part?

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The SFN is especially suited to people interested in directing, storytelling, experimental film and cinematography, but all specialisms are welcome!

A maximum of 20 places on the SFN can be offered by FAMO.

The application process will close on 21. March, 2021. 

If you want to take part, you will have to submit a creative video statement (up to 5 minutes), introducing yourself, outlining your motivation and suitability to take part, and your creative vision and ideas for the SFN. You should incorporate examples of your previous work that best demonstrate your suitability, or film new examples of creative video work for the statement. There is no 'right' way of doing this. Be creative. Be yourself. Make it unique and interesting. 

Videos are to be submitted to, along with your personal details (name, email address, telephone number, and institution) in writing.

If you are selected, this video statement will be shared with all participants, so that everyone can get to know each other and where they are coming from creatively – so please bear that in mind.

Submit a movie file (.mov or .mp4), compressed in h.264 and up to 1GB in size, name the file with your full name only, surname first (e.g. and also include a caption with your full name, email and telephone number right at the start of your video (from the very first frame of your video)!


The cost of taking part

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The program is offered at a cost of 9,700 CZK (390 EUR if being transferred from a foreign account).

This amount is to be paid into the following bank account by 01.04.2021.


Bank Account Details

Beneficiary: Filmova akademie Miroslava Ondricka v Pisku

Bank: CSOB

Branch: CSOB, a.s. Pisek

Karlova 107/1

39701 Pisek

Payment from Czech accounts (to be paid in CZK):

190 134 906 / 0300

Payment from foreign accounts (to be paid in EUR):

IBAN: CZ39 0300 0000 0001 9013 4906



For those participants not living in Pisek, low-cost daily travel may be organized from Prague via

There are various accomodation options in Pisek. Budget (primarily shared room) accomodation possibilities include Hotel Buly, or Hotel Pod Skalou. More luxurious options include Hotel Art and Hotel Biograf

If you need assistance with organizing accommodation in Pisek please contact


The key creative workshops will be delivered by John Zibell, Pavel Prokopic and Alex Lichtenfels

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John Zibell is a lecturer in Film Production at the University of Salford. He earned his PhD in Performance Studies from UC Davis. He is a performance scholar / practitioner working on critical training and radical politics. His material practices happen in the theatre, cinema, gallery, and the street and focus on exhaustion, image, and presencing. Zibell earned the Provost’s Dissertation Year Fellowship at UC Davis, during which time he developed a major Practice as Research work in the immersive virtual reality environment of the UC Davis KeckCAVES. The piece was suggested by the film/TV works of Samuel Beckett and the outcome was a dissertation chapter on the systematizing of actor training practices involving embodied engagement with new media. As well as a practicing scholar, John is a conservatory-trained actor currently working with a company of actors/filmmakers using the methodologies from his reasearch in the CAVES to produce workshops directed at cinematic devising strategies around de-unifying the camera’s “gaze.” Zibell’s key research focus is constellated around strategies (largely taken from theatrical knowledge systems) that can be used to pull the camera into practice and process as an active player. 

Pavel Prokopic specialises as a director and cinematographer, but has comprehensive skills and understanding related to all key aspects of the creative process, especially from the perspective of an experimental filmmaker and self-shooting director. Pavel has recently completed an AHRC-funded practice research project entitled Affective Cinema, which resulted in a feature-length series of 12 short films. The research, which earned him a PhD and won the Award in Creative Media Research, experiments with established and innovative approaches to storytelling, cinematography and directing actors. As an independent filmmaker, Pavel has written and directed several dramas and experimental projects, and worked as a freelance cinematographer in London for clients such as Sky, American Express, Toyota Classics, Ogilvy and Live Nation. He also worked as a director/producer on a research project The Living Room of the Future with BBC R&D and the British Council, and has taken part in various artistic residencies and collaborations, including the Visual Research Network, StoryLab and the Sidney Nolan Trust. His work has been widely published, exhibited and presented, including FACT in Liverpool, Grosvenor Gallery in Manchester and Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Before coming to Salford, Pavel worked as a lecturer in Film and Screen Production at Queen’s University Belfast and as a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster and various other UK institutions. Prior to his PhD, Pavel earned a Master’s degree in Film Aesthetics from Magdalen College, University of Oxford. For more information, please visit


Frequently Asked Questions

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How are the production groups going to be formed?

In the month before the SFN, we will make sure that everyone who is taking part gets to know each other online. People will have the opportunity to share ideas, and establish common ground. We will especially encourage collaborations between students from Salford and FAMO. However, the actual production teams will only be formed and decided during the SFN residency. The creative teams will generally be very small, usually formed by three students. However, collaborations between production teams – and across the whole SFN group – in terms of sharing resources, skills and feedback will also be very important, and encouraged through the daily reflective discussions where we'll jointly view the rushes and consider plans for the following day.

What kind of films will we be making?

We will focus on fiction – but we call it experimental fiction, or experimental storytelling. This is because we will strive to combine our creative ideas with opportunities (and creative limitations) presented by immediate circumstances. The ethos will be to keep our creative ideas fluid and open, and constantly evolving. For example, your stories will be shaped and inspired by the available cast, and interesting/atmospheric locations that you will discover whilst in Pisek – but also by the intuition or impulse that will emerge from the creative/collaborative energy and the creative workshops. Likewise, we will view rushes and discuss ideas with the whole group every day, and your approach will keep evolving in light of this. Ultimately, your film will be truly born again in the edit, and you should feel free to redefine at that point what your film is. This will be supported by the fact that the footage of all the other groups will also be available for you to incorporate into your film (and as you will all share the ten actors taking part in the SFN, the footage will often be surprisingly compatible). We will view and discuss cuts online with the whole group in September and further changes might be implemented at that point. Ultimately, we will decide how to order and connect your films into a single feature-length structure, generating yet more surprising or unpredictable narrative connections and meaning.


If you have any other questions, get in touch with Daniel at .

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