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With over 20 years of combined experience in the film industry, we are Mimi Violette and Ben Sasson; both of us artists, designers, teachers and parents. Emerging from popular demand, we offer private courses and consultations in Art Direction for Filmmaking in Řevnice, Czech Republic (about 30 minutes outside of Prague).
In essence, we train the Artist’s eye to help shape their story through Art Direction with affordable and effective know-how.

We work professionally on big-budget Hollywood productions, often in the company of Oscar beholding colleagues. However, our passion for guidance is preferably backpedaling towards the more organic roots of bona fide filmmaking — independently-produced projects, outside of the major studio system, and conforming with as little compromise as possible to the Artist’s personal vision.

Since 2011, we have been teaching in various institutions the highly involved topic of Art Direction for Film, a niche that is rarely studied and practiced in academia. Semester after semester, we’ve been gone more indie with our courses for a number of reasons, the main one being great interest...

Our professional schedules at times conflict with the limitations of conventional “teaching hours,” so despite our busy calendars, there’s still wishes from students to fit in the course for their own knowledge and growth. Also, learning the craft directly with a network of experienced professionals has become more and more favorable, especially when affording customary film school or college is not an option.

We bring forth expertise that touches on all subjects related to set-design, costuming, props, graphics and mise-en-scène.
We also share our insight and heavy experience in Graphic Design to uncover the possibilities of self-promotion once a film has completed post-production. After all, getting your film in front of the audience is the main objective.

Our courses are not necessarily on “how to become an Art Director,” per se… rather they are the building blocks for Artists of all ranges to more deeply explore the evocative and vast possibilities that would compliment and harmonize their storytelling process — what you can say without words


Because film is ultimately a visual medium, its visual components are like another actor, creating mood and eliciting an emotional reaction from the audience. In a world where budgets are growing forever tighter, how the future filmmaker perceives the aesthetic of his/her story should be an essential factor.

Our courses emphasize visualization in filmmaking as the nucleus of that emotion. We unfold how subtle design elements - when constructed together - intensifies cinematic language.

Though our sessions are lecture-based, the atmosphere is far from sleepy. We are interactive and discussion oriented, and offer refreshments during our time together.

We currently offer 2 courses:

• Art Direction: Part I

• Art Direction: Part II


(8) 2-hour sessions

We first dig into the syllabus; the general goals of the course and defining the expectations of each class.

We discuss what Art Direction is, who makes up the Art Department (or skeleton-crew), and how the different roles can impact your film and even the writing process.

We next pour the foundation: grasping the Elements and Principals of Design in cinema. How space, line, shape, texture, form, value and color theory for film (with it's psychological impact), along with mise en scène, can be an instrumental basis for your project's backdrop.

Each class, we raise this awareness through carefully dissecting successful (and unsuccessful) film & television pieces, illustrating the power of shot design, style and atmosphere; both theoretically and practically. The range of films we analyze are (mostly) obscure and lower-budget… this is to connect the student with tangible influence they can pinch bits and pieces from, to shape their own stories with.

As our coursework progresses, in-class exercises involve visually adapting other writer’s work for the screen. These exercises are intended for the filmmaker to connect the crucial relationships from the writing process, to visually breaking down the story, and beyond. These exercises are intended to broaden your horizons — from expressive-to-minimal writing styles — while always focusing on the character’s surroundings.

We unfold how sound and music — or lack thereof — can push atmosphere and set-design.

Whether used as props or inspiration, Fine Art over the centuries has been instrumental to filmmaking. We connect examples of Fine Art to cinema and the vast industry of fashion, theatre, commercialism, short-film, music-video and art-installation.

We discuss the correlation between costuming and character. We give you the tools on how to develop a character’s persona through suggestive costuming and makeup. We implement ideas on visually communicating with your actors on the potential of their costuming ensemble.

How do you convey your ideas in pre-production to your producer? Your investor? When your film is complete, how do you create the material to get your film promoted? Getting your film in front of an audience is the end goal after all. From working with students to Academy Award winning directors on their promo graphics, our heavy experience in this area takes the course to another level.  We discuss samples and methods of engaging layouts for your future Press-kits and Look-books, as such material is pertinent for film festivals and self promotion.

We also discuss “The Industry” where we ‘talk- shop’ and the life of freelancing. We check out some studios and stages we’ve been a part of over the years where we’ve video-documented the sets — to bring the sets to you, for a more meaningful and ‘hands-on’ look into the process of all things Art-Direction.

Homework is scattered throughout our 8 session-times. The assignments and one project we assign carry our same rhythm from the class setting to more personal and relevant application at home. We always respond with detailed feedback with every submission.


(8) 2-hour sessions

Part II is largely a continuation of Part I in terms of topics and format.

We advance on further examination of Fine Art in cinema, and delve more deeply into the symbolism of props, color and subconscious implications.

We examine the simple, yet highly effectiveness, of locations; how to apply architecture and shadow-play cinematically, to accentuate or downplay scenarios — and even how certain times of day and year, light impacts the effectiveness of the narrative.

We further up the ante by interconnecting how subliminal psychology behind Art Direction affects (and manipulates) mass perception of geopolitical narratives, culture and the matrix we live in.

If you have a film you have in mind to write and shoot at any point during Part II, we will integrate the course more personally, to rouse ideas for your own backdrops and character development. This approach applies as well with the topic of self-promotion via Press-kits and Look-books, as we continue to review the tools that make these more effective. If you have a unique project you care to focus on for your own self-promotion, we can potentially oversee the development of your package.  

Again, the homework assigned in Part II is all relevant to the coursework we analyze, with detailed critique after each submission.