A unique documentary film class in France will open at the Chaudes-Aigues College (Cantal)

The cinema next to the college not only makes students want to miss it, but also provides principled ideas.

When I arrived here in January 2019, I was immediately struck by the fact that the doors of the cinema overlook the courtyard. And when I entered the building, it seemed to me magnificent: there is a balcony, a real stage. I told myself that we have to do something about this intimacy.


Moreover, “from Chaudes-Aigues, if we want to introduce young people to culture, it means going to Clermont or Aurillac,” continues Pierre-Jean Belondrade. It’s a four hour round trip and 1000 euros for 40 students. In order to open them culturally, we had to bring the culture to us. It will be through a documentary. “We entered into a partnership with Knowledge of the World, which allowed us to watch eight films during the school year, and also attracted independent documentary filmmakers to discuss with students after the screening of their films. This allowed them to learn about the world around them, as well as current economic and environmental issues. Until the pandemic put the program on hold. But this year we were able to restart the car. »


At the same time, on Tuesdays, when the students did not have screenings, “we offered them the opportunity to make their own films using improvised means, i.e. digital cameras. We combined this with a bit of image education and it worked really well. “Seminars are being offered next year” and 85% of the students joined. Therefore, this year a reinforced workshop for fifteen hours was created among 20 applicants. “We were able to do this thanks to the Crédit Agricole Foundation, which supported us, as did the Department. This made it possible to buy semi-professional equipment: three mobile filming stations with a camera, a pole, a microphone, and the same number of editing stations. »

The teachers of Chaude-Aigues College (Cantal) opposed the closure of the class at the beginning of the school year.

Turn on the power

A rise in power that materializes twice. By creating a real studio on the college grounds, “which we can use and also rent for training through the Canopée network, because there are no such places in the bowl. “Under an agreement with the municipality, which will allow you to use the cinema at your discretion. And to the opening at the beginning of the next academic year of a class with flexible working hours in cinema, “the only one in the academy and the only one in France specializing in documentary film. »


And the director sees only pluses: “this is good for the image of the institution, good for cohesion within it, and for children there is some benefit. As

it opens them up to the world, to multimedia, but we also cover all topics. The camera has optics, hence physics. When we write a comment, we do French. And objects can be connected with history, SVT…” An original teaching, but also complementary.

The class will open at the beginning of the next academic year and will be taught by two teachers, Jean-Jacques Bailet and Rodolphe Mathieu. They will be accompanied by documentary filmmaker Fred Mikel. Other experts will make presentations to the class.
Until the long-awaited rise, 15 students will be able to use it. Note that there is no concept of sectorization: any college student can apply from wherever they come from. Recruitment is carried out on motivation. Those who wish can contact the institution (tel. or visit the open day on Saturday April 9 from 9:00 to 12:00.
Four levels will be combined into this class and divided into two groups (6-5 and 4-3). It can be accessed at any level. The weekly hourly volume will be four hours, in addition to classical teaching.
The topics of the documentaries will be varied but left to the students’ choice, with the only stipulation being that the question will be viewed from a teenager’s perspective. The YouTube channel, ciné ado 15, is now online and allows you to see the work done by college students.

Jan Baisat

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