I am going to take one more kick at the can with this topic, because of an event that happened last week (ok, two weeks ago, I am slow getting this up) and it is very relevant.
The famed Gobelins L'Ecole des Arts gave a presentation in Toronto last week thanks to CASO. It was a very small venue, a small room at the Toronto Textile Museum.
It was a good event, with two of the directeurs, Moira and Cecile giving a run down on the school and its raison d'etre. They made a lot out of the fact that France has a large animation tradition, that French culture allows it to thrive. ( the gouvernement has a Minister of Culture, which is rare.)
But it got really interesting when they were asked to describe the admission process.
They get aprox. 600 applicants each year. From these, 60 are selescted.These take a two day test. First, a day long WRITTEN examination, then on the second day, two visual exercises, done on the spot. (Yikes, i can't remember what the first one was..someone help, please?) The second is a visual breakdown of a piece of writing , supplied by the L'Ecole..not exactly a storyboard per se, she explained, as not all the applicants have a specific filmmaking background.
From the 60 semi finalists, 25 make the cut and get in.
She said very few of the enrolling students are fresh out of high school, most are post grad types and professionals.
So there it is, only 25 souls comprise the entire year's enrollment.
It is at present a three year course.
All the films are group projects.
There is only ONE full time faculty member; the rest ( forgotten the number) are part time professionals working in the industry. and there are resident guest lecturers as well.
That, plus other factors, like the strong cultural background of graphic arts and film in France ( I 'm thinking of BD, plus having the Louvre just down the street) makes it no surprise that he school is able to put out such strong work year after year..
Compare this to Sheridan.