The Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography a.k.a. VGIK, is a film school in Moscow, Russia. The institute was founded in 1919 by the film director Vladimir Gardin as the Moscow Film School and is the first and oldest film school in the world.
The founding of the institute was authorized by V. I. Lenin in 1919. Its work in the early years was hampered by the shortage of film stock. It has had an illustrious history as one of the oldest film schools in existence; many great film directors have taught at the institute.
Film directors who have taught at the institute include Lev Kuleshov, Marlen Khutsiev, Aleksey Batalov, Sergei Eisenstein, Mikhail Romm and Vsevolod Pudovkin. Alumni include Sergei Bondarchuk, Elem Klimov, Sergei Parajanov, Alexander Sokurov and Andrei Tarkovsky.
During the period of the Soviet Union, it was a requirement of the state to attend VGIK in order to be allowed to direct a film. More recently, its alumni were drawn both from the USSR (Soviet Union) and from other socialist and other countries, though it was a requirement for students to first learn Russian prior to attending. It is among the few film schools which offer scriptwriting courses.
According to the Internet