This programme, available in both full-time and part-time study modes, offers you a broad-based understanding of how film, television and other screen media have developed and interacted across their varying histories.
It also gives you the opportunity to specialise in film exhibition and archival practice, in order to personalise your MA studies towards specific intellectual interests and future career hopes. The programme is unique in the way that it combines rigorous academic study with creative and practical opportunities, the latter offered both within certain option modules and via the two-month work placement.
This intermixing of the academic and the practical also enables you to take your interests further, into further postgraduate study, towards a career in teaching or into possible work opportunities in many areas of the media industries.
The programme has two other pathways: MA Film and Screen Media and MA Film and Screen Media (European Pathway).
The programme consists of the compulsory module Screen Media: History, Technology and Culture, a choice of option modules, a research project or placement and a dissertation.
The compulsory module is designed to introduce you to the basic methodologies and issues involved in the area concerned, as well as research skills and methods. The option modules allow you to pursue specific interests and areas of research.
A unique feature of the programme is the placement, which offers you the experience of working in a prominent media company or institution. Alternatively you can complete a research project which gives you the chance to undertake independent research and reflect on research methodologies.
You will complete the programme with a 15,000-word dissertation.
You will also have the option to take an intercollegiate module offered at another college of the University of London through the Screen Studies Group.
This programme takes a project-led, practice-based approach to studying for an MA in Film Directing (Documentary) which integrates practical film making with analysis of contemporary film practice. Students choose to make a creative documentary or a non -fiction film which defies genre definition and pushes the boundaries of narrative. We develop these through workshops and tutorials. Our students work within an integrated framework that helps them question the form of their films and enables them to find the right language for their storytelling.
The programme encourages ways of working as a film community that foster the important exchange of ideas, with inspiration from international visiting film makers through Scottish Documentary Institute and support from our team of documentary practicioners. All tutors are top professionals currently working within the industry as directors, producers, editors, cinematographers or sound designers. A newly built Avid edit teaching space, and a new screening space helps us encourage a fresh approach to emerging technologies.
Graduate films do well internationally regularly winning BAFTAs, RTS Awards and awards at international festivals. Over the last five years students have received an Oscar nomination for an MA film made here and an Oscar shortlist for a film made by a recent graduate. We work closely with the Scottish Documentary Institute, the University’s internationally-acclaimed research centre in documentary film making.
The aim of the Film Directing programmes at ECA is to:
This programme is project-led and delivered through workshops and regular individual tutorials. It integrates practical studio work with theoretical and written studies from the Screen cultures course (see separate description) which is run independently from the Film Department.
The first semester, Design Studio is organised round a series of micro-films which lead to a growing awareness of film language and enhancement of technical skills to creatively support filmic vision. Cinematography and sound workshops are delivered by visiting lecturers. Directorial voice is built up also through tutorials in which an idea for a graduating film is developed and evolved. Awareness of current international documentary practice is built through regular seminars and screenings, collaborations with Film Festivals such as Take One Action and also supported by Scottish Documentary Institute. This is also to inspire students to push boundaries in their approach to narrative structure and visual language and not to get locked in conventional approaches. We want to encourage bold work that takes risks. At the end of the first semester all students pitch their films using a trailer or short excerpt from their research material. They also develop a treatment with feedback from tutorials.
Semester two is spent preparing and shooting the graduate film and is backed up with edit tutorials as well as project support from weekly meetings with a tutor. Students also receive seminars in production process including contracts.
Semester three is when the film is edited and finished with input from group crits, tutorials. Students also attend or often volunteer with Edinburgh Film Festival and the Edinburgh Pitch in order to observe and engage with key players from the international documentary world through hearing feedback from commissioning editors.
Alongside the ECA learning structure, students also have a pool of potential collaborators from Screen Academy Napier including the possibility of working with cinematographers, editors and producers.
Our students go on to a wide range of roles, including producer, director, writer, production or location manager, researcher, editor, assistant director, cinematographer, or journalist. Graduates have found work directing for the BBC and making work internationally for top broadcasters and film funds. Related fields include advertising, community films, academia or film development agencies.
MA/MFA Film Directing has been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick, the industry kitemark of quality, following a rigorous assessment process by experts working in the Creative Industries. The Creative Skillset Tick is awarded to practice-based courses which best prepare students for a career in the industry. Screen Academy Scotland is one of only 3 Screen Academies in the UK along with National Film School and London Film School.