What is ESEC

Established in 1973, ESEC is a professional school in the fields of film and audiovisual techniques, and the use of multimedia applied to audiovisual works.
Through its programs, ESEC prepares its candidates for careers in:

  • directing for film & video 
  • film & video production
  • video editing & digital special effects for film & video

 ESEC delivers its own diplomas in cinematography and audiovisual techniques.
- Registered with the Ministry of Education in 1973, member of the FEMIS national college since 1986 until 1998, ESEC is a professional school, training students in the fields of cinema, audiovisual mediums, and multimedia applied to various audiovisual mediums.
- As with other national schools, ESEC delivers its own diplomas in cinematography and audiovisual techniques, which are french and international diplomas at level II.
- These diplomas are recognized as among the most important diplomas delivered in France and are recognized by other universities and professional schools in France and abroad, including in 70 other countries. Notably in the USA, at USC (U. of Southern California), UCLA (U. of C. Los Angeles) and NYU (New York University).

Registration : how to proceed

In all cases, you should imperatively send by mail to the School an application form for the preparatory course or for admission to cycle 1 or cycle 2. Sending this document is mandatory for the examination of every application.

We advise you to fill the form here so that we can mail you the application forms, the whole set of booklets and all practical information regarding your application to the School.

In case of any difficulty, or for more information, do not hesitate to e-mail us at info@esec or to phone us at +33 (0)1 43 42 43 22. 

Entrance examination

THE OBJECT OF THE ENTRANCE EXAM The tests that constitute the Entrance Examination are, first and foremost, a way to determine an applicant’s personality, his or her motivations, and the extent of his or her creativity. It is also a means to determine if he or she will adapt successfully to the various technical and creative careers in the film industry and audiovisual field that are taught at ESEC.

ENTRY LEVELS AND THEIR EQUIVALENTS Students eligible for Entrance Examination should have obtained at least the baccalaureat or equivalent (A Levels, High School Diploma) with a background in the arts, and/or have professional or personal experience pertaining to the audiovisual field.
Applications from students who have completed 2 or more years of university studies are strongly encouraged. The latter make up the majority of the student body at ESEC. However, the level of education alone does not exempt students from the Entrance Examination, the sole exception being a dispensation granted to foreign students residing too far from France to be able to attend the examination during the designated period (see below).
Applicants can enter the Entrance Examination before obtaining the diploma they may be currently completing. However, in the case where the applicant is accepted to the school, they must produce a document certifying that their diploma has been obtained at least one month prior to their final admission.

EXAMINATION DATE Applications can be made, and are considered by the school, starting from the month of January. The applicants are then invited to attend the examination at dates arranged by the school until the end of the registration period.

If the applicant is accepted, he or she is invited to register within 15 days. After this period, unless a special dispensation is granted, the school considers their admission invalid.

French students, or students residing in France, are strongly advised to send in their application without delay. Foreign students are accorded more flexible deadlines in order so that they may be able to take their last examinations in July and September. A certain number of places are reserved for them exclusively.

The registration period can end without advance notice.

FOREIGN STUDENTS Under certain exceptional conditions, some foreign applicants can be excused from coming all the way to Paris to take the written examination and interview. This is particularly the case of those who can give evidence of their sufficient artistic or professionnal experience during the last 2 years. In some cases, an additional written examination may be asked of them, as well as any documents or projects from their artistic and/or professional experience.

Cost of studies

Unlike the usual practice of other schools, ESEC does not charge any extra cost for materials, equipment, videotapes, film, or lab processing.

Tuition fees cover the entire cost of studies.

The costs of exercises included in the programs and performed in the course of the school term, as well as the costs of professional end-ofstudy shootings, are entirely paid by the School and its partners.
Likewise, students are not charged for any equipment lent by the School.
The only pay for usual school suplies and a few photolab jobs.


Annual fees covering inscription, examinations and insurance:
370 euros.

Preparatory course tuition fee
6230 euros

Cycle 1 tuition fees:
7830 euros

Cycle 2 tuition fees:
8230 euros

Cycle 1 & 2 upgrade: 

1600 euros

On request, ESEC allows tuition fees to be paid by one or three instalments at dates set by contract (free of charge). Five instalments required 100€ of charges added to the inscription fees.
Non-french residents must pay the entire fees upon registration.

In order to validate your registration you need to pay 1000€ : inscription fees (370€ )+
  deposit on the tuition fees (630€).

For any information, please contact:
+33 (0) 1 43 42 43 22

Foreign applicants

Foreign applicants make up about 15% to 20% of ESEC students. They come from various european countries, Northern and Southern America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia or other parts of Asia. They may have been awarded scholarships from the government of their own country, or scholarships from the French government, or pay their own tuition.
For foreign applicants, the equivalent of a French baccalauréat +2 degree (two years past the high-school degree) is mandatory.

  • A good knowledge of the French language is required. This knowledge is verified during an interview held in Paris. A level equivalent to the DALF (Diplôme approfondi en langue française), as taught abroad in Alliance Française centers, is recommended.
  • 18 years on October 1st of the current school year is the minimum age required; the average is 21/22 years of age for students. There is no maximum age restriction.
  • Students benefit from French National Health Care protection, and a university restaurant is located near the school.

A list of students’ lodgings (“Foyers d’accueil”) in Paris and its vicinity may be found on cnous.fr.

Study Program

Preparatory course

You may follow the one-year preparatory course if you have not passed your high-school degree or A-level, or if you wish to acquire a good level of basic education and a suitable method of working. 

Professional courses: First Year/Second Year

The first and second year prepare the students for the ESEC diplomas. They take place over a school year lasting from October through the end of June or early July. Oral and written exams, tests, supervising individual or team work as well as year end productions allow for an evaluation of students’ skills during those two years. The student is elligible for the diploma when he/she has maintained an average of 10/20 over the course of tests and exams. 

Non-curricular projects

Some non-curricular projects are selected by the school according to their pedagogical value. They include participating in festivals, productions with outside partners, producing or taking part in cultural events, or in technical fairs and meetings. Such projects are never considered as substitutes to the study program, rather, they complete it. 
They are listed in the calendar of courses and student participation is compulsory. (It is in this context that ESEC has produced internal archives for the Cannes International Film Festival from 1985 to 1999, and Festival Paris Cinéma from 2004, where shooting crews made up of students from the second year produced video documents of the festival’s activities and events).

The Pedagogical project

A curriculum adapted to the market needs.
As a whole, the study program takes the contemporary environment as its first reference: contemporary film, television, music videos, multimedia, digital culture, etc. This allows us to examine the links which challenge nowadays the usual classifications between cinema, the electronic image and the digital world. Technological evolutions and transformations raise questions concerning how we train students.

Students are confronted nowadays with various artistic and practical techniques which develop and mix even more in the future, during the years when they will become professionals. What are the skills and professions of the future? Cinema has merged with new technologies: film relies increasingly on both video and digital images. In turn, new technologies borrow references from cinema in the production of commercials, music videos, computer games.

What will the technical and artistic practices of sounds and images, in film or television, be like in the future? What are the european and international networks which group both roduction and distribution sectors?

Our study program answers these questions and internships help students on the road to their professional choices. The program alternates between theoritical courses and practical excercises during the first year; practical exercises and professional shots during the second year.

All parameters are taken into account during studies : artistic and cultural environments, technological future, economic environment, structures for new and traditional skills and professions in the audiovisual fields, market laws, practice and methodologies, looking at case-studies, directing in a real production context, guest speakers & specialists, distributors & broadcasters, internships and access to a career.


- Shootings, at ESEC, form the basis of the teaching. They are quite intensive and of primary importance.
- Taking the form of exercises, short films or end-of-study films, numerous shootings are performed by students at ESEC. Their purpose is to reveal the students’ professional authenticity and their creativity.

First year shootings

Starting from the first year, students practise various types of shooting. Under the direction of professional teachers, the student learns to use the technical tools of picture and sound, and discovers both exterior and interior shooting techniques. The purpose of these exercises is to put theoretical knowledge — shot values and camera movements — in practice. The coherence of all the exercises makes up the basis of the students’ education and enables them to follow their studies, giving them a better grasp on the difficulties and leading them to fully understand the necessity of teamwork. Being quite diversified and regularly increasing in difficulty, those exercises are meant to improve, through several successive stages, the technical skills that are necessary to the shooting of an short film at the end of the term. 

Second year shootings

During the second year, shootings are aimed at firming up the students’ professional skills. For students of the Television Department, shootings are directly associated with the end-of-study film : studio shooting, fiction shooting, live report shooting, lay-out shooting, etc. The association of all these types of shootings is meant to train the student to the making of a coherent television magazine or documentary film shot in professional conditions. While supervised by the teaching team, the films are made by the students under their own final responsibility. The Cinema Department is the only one using argentic film. This workshop recreates, through its teachings, the professional conditions of a full-length film (shooting, sound recording and studio lighting). Following this full-scale exercise, students will make a new short film both in natural sets and in studio. Based on a less strict schedule of conditions, this shooting allows the student to express his or her creativity to a larger extent. It has the purpose of confirming the student’s skills as a filmmaker, his/her earnestness in preparing the shooting, his/her mastery of casting, his/her intentions regarding staging, his/her mastery of lighting and his/her sense of responsibility amongst a shooting team. 

The professional studio

Dedicated to the memory of the Russian cinematographer Pavel LEBECHEV, this studio is complete with electrical and lighting equipment as well as permanent sets. It is available to students for all their shooting exercises, including the films they make at the end of each cycle. This studio may be rented to third party companies. It may also be lent to graduate students as part of the support brought by the school to their personal projects. 

The school’s production company

ESEC Productions has been, since 2004, the school’s production company. Legally registered with the National Center of Cinematography, it may receive financial aids for its projects. As a place of initiative, generating new energies inspired by the school’s teachings, it supports and produces films made by graduate students. It co-produces, with other companies, the end-of-term films of the Cinema Department. Internally, it produces the creations of the Television Department. It supplies technical services, or supports shootings involving the school’s students (corporate films, music videos, live reports).

First year curriculum

The first year curriculum takes place within a framework of contemporary image & sound culture and of professional practice.
- It teaches what is directing for film, introductory methodologies for writing for the screen, the practice of electronic creation, what is at stake in new image mediums; it examines television, contemporary art, the economic development of the audiovisual industry, while looking to new creative techniques and how they are distributed.
- The first year includes pratical excercices in image & sound, and concludes with methodological exercices in directing year-end 

Second year curriculum

Directing Workshop

- This workshop is for students who wish to pursue a career as assistant director or director.
- Access to year 2: Students who have completed their first year studies.
- The Esec diploma is delivered after the mandatory professional

Production Workshop

- This workshop is for students who wish to pursue a career as production assistant or producer. 
- Access to Year 2: students who have completed their first year studies. Outside applicants upon study of their file.
- The Esec diploma is delivered after the mandatory professional internship.

Scriptwriting Workshop

- This workshop is for students who wish to pursue a career as scriptwriter for cinema or television.
- Access to Year 2: students who have completed their first year studies. Outside applicants upon study of their file.
- The Esec diploma is delivered after the mandatory professional internship.

Documentary Workshop

- This workshop is for students who wish to persue a career in documentary films.
- Access to Year 2: Students who have completed their first year studies.
- This program benefits from lectures by professionals, from France and abroad, leaders in the fields of electronic artistry and economy of digital media.

Editing & Digital Effects Workshop

- This workshop is for students who wish to persue a career in editing and special digital effects for film and video. 
- Access to Year 2: Students who have completed their first year studies.
- This program benefits from lectures by professionals, from France and abroad, leaders in the fields of electronic artistry and economy of digital media.


ESEC takes part in the professional integration of its graduates through required internships at the end of their studies.This internship may take place within a year end shoot organized by the school, or outside the school. In this case, ESEC signs agreements and conventions with productions companies, television networks, audiovisual program companies, and cultural institutions. 
The internship usually is divided into two parts:
- an observation part during which the student becomes familiar with the company’s production environment.
- an operational part during which the student becomes assistant to a technician, or fulfills a full time function within a crew.

Courses calendar

The Preparatory course takes place over one year from October to July.
The ESEC professional study program takes place over two years :
- First Year begins during the first week of October and ends at the end of June. It concludes with the evalutation process which gives students access to the second year, and with counciling sessions, during early July, in order to determine which workshop the student will integrate during the second year.
- Second Year begins during the first week of October and ends at the beginning of May or July. It concludes with professional internships which will validate access to the diploma. The internships may last until the month of December.

Latest date of application

Application forms may be received by ESEC from January 15 to October 1st.
The period of application may be closed without any forewarning. As a rule, the school replies to application forms within 8 days. The date and time of the selection interview — which necessarily takes place in Paris — are set to the applicant’s convenience within a period of one week to two months after the reception of their form.