The famoUS Summer Film Program is an annual study abroad program for students of the Northern Virginia Community College in the USA, which takes place with us at FAMO in Písek during the summer (usually the entirety of June). The program began in 2018 and was established to give NOVA students the opportunity to get their hands dirty on real film sets and to rub shoulders with film industry experts (all at a fraction of the price it would cost in the USA!).

Before our NOVA guests arrive for these four intense weeks of film fun, they’ve already been working on screenplays with our own students in preparation of film production during their stay. After landing in Czech the NOVA students are immersed in practical workshops with local and international film professionals, participate in cultural activities, and work (and play) with their Czech film student counterparts (as well as professional actors Bratislava, Slovakia) to produce film work to add to their professional portfolios.

On set (in Písek‘s castle cellars)
with band Marjari, 2023

On set on Písek’s river island, 2023

35mm film-stock exercise
with prof. mgA. Marek Jícha, 2023

Testimonials gathered over the years

My name is Shea C. Megale and I attended the Film Academy of Miroslav Ondříček in Písek during the summer of 2018.

I arrived with a vision and a determination to accomplish something extraordinary. The real extraordinary thing I found, however, was a team of unbelievably talented filmmakers who not only shared their knowledge, but embraced me as an equal who they wanted to see succeed. Absolutely every resource I needed was available to me, and we produced an ambitious short film set in 1908 which continues to be a source of pride on my reel.
Exhilaratingly, I shot on actual film for the first time in my life, and as a director I worked with the largest and most sophisticated crew I’d ever encountered. Classes were hands-on, and even the delicious lunches on campus were made with love. Frankly, that’s just the kind of people they are.
Above all else, though, is the incredible way the Academy met the unique challenge of my physical disability and my use of a motorized wheelchair. This in no way prevented them from cutting through the exterior and seeing the drive inside me. They were supportive, stalwart, and creative in handling this hurdle.

I will forever cherish this chapter of my life, and forever be thankful for my experience with this Academy. I am confident that every future student here will be taking one step closer to growing into the filmmakers they want to become.

So, who do you want to become?
This is the place to find out.

Shea C. Megale

My Name is Tyra V. McKinzie. My experiences studying abroad at The Film Academy of Miroslav Ondříček in Pisek is something that I’ll never forget. The benefits included historical lessons, as well as the intercultural and interpersonal.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning how great an impact Czech cinema had on film. I have a greater understanding and love for not only foreign films, but cinematography and filmmaking as a whole because of this program. The instructors really took time explain the many different aspects of filmmaking. They took time to answer all of my questions. I especially appreciated the hands-on teaching because that’s the best way for me to really retain the information. Having a chance to meet and get firsthand knowledge and training on filming, lighting and color-grading techniques from top Czech Cinematographer Marek Jicha was outstanding and definitely a highlight.

Not only did I experience classroom instructions, but Daniel Weller and Vladana Terčová took us on a guided tour of Pisek, the world-renowned Barrandov Studios in Prague, and the beautiful castles in the city of Cesky Krumlov. Visiting the amazing castles, and cities awakened my desire to travel the world. One extremely important lesson I learned studying abroad in Pisek is that even with language barriers, you can learn so much by being open-minded, respecting other cultures, teaching styles, and creative differences. I met some pretty amazing people who have become friends because of this program. I’m definitely planning a trip back to Pisek sometime in the near future. I also highly recommend anyone interested in getting a quality education and studying film abroad to enroll at FAMO.

Tyra V. McKinzie

Talk about seeing the world through rose colored lenses. I was able to step out of my comfort zone in June. I was able to step foot in uncharted territory and not only physically. I mean emotionally and mentally as well. Yet, through all of the chaos… I walked away with so much more than I could ever imagine. I stepped away feeling an overwhelming abundance of love and inspiration. The trip gave me knowledge on the intricacies of film and not only film from a western world viewpoint from an global/eastern world viewpoint. I enjoyed a culture and the history behind what made them them. I was able to learn new things, meet new people, expand my thoughts on film, art, and history. The experience I gained and the people I cherish afterwards was worth every second. I can’t sum up this trip in one testimonial but I can say that stepping away from this trip… I stepped away brighter and better than I ever could imagine.

Chris Jackson

Studying abroad at the Film Academy of Miroslav Ondricek was a great experience that didn’t just teach me more about filmmaking, but also myself. I was able to use the experience to help get me accepted to a four-year film program and grow my abilities and knowledge as a creative. Plus, it was so much fun! Pisek is a beautiful place full of culture and it was a joy to learn the ways of life in another country from the students of the academy. The school staff and school lunches are absolutely wonderful, and I’m still missing the food to this day. Overall, I loved my experience at the Film Academy of Miroslav Ondricek and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in filmmaking and the arts!

Allie Monet

I had a really good experience with the summer program! Getting to experience a new environment alongside friends was truly memorable. It was also very inspiring getting to work with the Czech students as they were very helpful in sharing the knowledge they have with filmmaking. The classes we took at FAMO were very professional and informative in the different areas of filmmaking and I definitely learned a lot about the process as a whole. Overall, it was a lovely experience and I enjoyed it immensely!

Nataly Paz

Having the opportunity to study abroad in the Czech Republic is one that I simply could not pass up. There is an avid culture of filmmaking that I would consider incomparable to any other. Being able to learn from experienced and well established professionals has been an eye-opening experience. Their expertise and passion for passing along their knowledge to new students was something I couldn’t help but admire and respect. FAMO possesses values that I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure of observing at any other institution. Their dedication to their students, and to providing them with resources and curriculums that would further their skills in the most efficient way possible was crystal clear from the moment I stepped foot in their school. Their students were exciting to work with because they were passionate, hardworking, dedicated, and most of all, caring. They made a point to understand the projects we were working on, to understand our visions, and to help us in any way possible. Remembering that the purpose of this trip is to learn and grow was critical in actually gaining new perspectives and approaches that I never would have considered while in the states. I continue to utilize everything I learned while there, and it has helped me to better understand myself and my work.


Dalila Forker

For anyone considering this trip, I would tell them it’s a must and to try their hardest to make it happen. As a film student, I got hands-on experience you can’t always get in the classroom, but this trip was so much more than that. I went on this trip knowing almost no one and left with over 20 new friends.

Jordan Speakes