Lionel Baier, head of the Cinema Department
‘For me, my work at the ECAL is also a source of inspiration for making films.’
Why did you choose to study in Lausanne?
LB | I grew up in Lausanne and I enrolled at the UNIL because it had a chair in the history and aesthetics of the cinema, the first in Switzerland. The UNIL was also known for having excellent teachers of medieval French.
If you had to define the study environment in Lausanne in just three words, what would they be?
LB | Cosmopolitan, inventive, dynamic.
Can you tell us about your career before taking up your post at the helm of the Cinema Department at the ECAL?
LB | I did a course of study at the UNIL then worked as an assistant director to a Swiss director. So I joined the world of cinema by becoming an assistant rather than going to a film school. Twelve years ago, the director of the ECAL invited me to lead a documentary workshop, and then I was offered the post of head of the Cinema Department.
What do you consider to be a key feature of the education in your field of work in Lausanne?
LB | The fact that it branches out into forms of art other than cinema. A distinctive feature of the ECAL is the way in which teaching facilitates laboratory-based learning rather than theoretical study. What's more, a large number of external instructors are professionals, as is the case with me.
Can you tell us about any memorable events you have experienced during your career in education in Lausanne?
LB | I remember having attended a conference with Michel Houellebecq, in the courtyard of the ECAL. Lausanne may be a small town, but it welcomes leading personalities from all over the world.
What do you get out of your work at the ECAL?
LB | Energy and hope when I see these dynamic students who are full of promise. For me, my work at the ECAL is also a source of inspiration for making films.
Interview conducted by | Tom Crawford