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.
This specialist programme will enable students to develop advanced knowledge and skills in film production, developing through the course a career specialism in directing, editing, production, camera or sound production.
The programme is distinctive as students will learn and study within the complex and immersive environment of a conservatoire drama school, with substantial access to highly talented acting students and the industry-standard facilities required of this high level vocational training. The skills and experience gained in their chosen area of specialism will enable them to seek employment in the professional film, television and independent film production industry on successful completion of the course.
The course will run for 38 weeks and recruitment will be limited to five students. Each will develop their own distinct specialism within a production team (director, editor, producer, camera, sound production) and they will work together as a unit across four of the five core modules.
These modules are:
1. Moving Image Production
2. Drama Production for the Small Screen
3. Short Film Production (Client-led Film)
4. Short Film Production (Drama)
5. Preparation for Working in the Film Industry
The fifth module is taken individually through a specialist industry placement related to the student’s designated specialism.
The overall aims of the programme are:
• To enable students to develop specific technical and project management skills in film production, primarily drama;
• To enable students to learn skills in leadership and creative problem-solving;
• To enable students to develop a specialism within the key areas of film production (directing, editing, producing, camera, sound production)
• To develop a high level of personal, social and environmental responsibility in working to professional schedules, disciplines and practice, including risk assessment and carbon emission reduction.
• To provide experience and build confidence to engage with industry professionals and develop their career management skills;
A copy of the rules and regulations governing the course is available consult the BOVTS policies and procedures page.
This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course.
Each module is worth a specified number of credits, enabling you to cover key subject knowledge while developing your own interests.
Optional Modules: There are no optional modules for this award
Interim Awards: PG Cert Film Production (60 Credits), PG Dip Film Production (120 Credits)
Credit requirements: 180 credits from the above modules for MA Film Production
Award: MA Film Production
Students learn within a conservatoire environment in which they are regarded as professionals in training. At this Masters level in Film Production, there is an expectation that they will develop a high level of problem solving skills, engage at an advanced level of critical evaluation of their practice and acquire the creative thinking required of film makers working in a practical, complex creative and employment-focused environment.
Students are immersed in this challenging environment, which demands great attention to detail, independent thinking, and collaborative working combined with diplomatic negotiating and leadership skills.
The programme is practical and career focused. It is integrated with the school’s other programmes during productions, as well as within the professional environment. The programme features a high level of one-to-one teaching by specialist professionals.
The learning is immersive and singular in its focus on high level specialist professional employability as a main learning outcome.
The learning is intensive with students taught and supervised by teaching staff at least 30 hours per week across the 38 weeks of the programme.
To apply for entry to the MA Film Production programme in October 2018, you will need to use the UCAS Conservatoires.
To apply for this course please click here: click here to apply via the UCAS website in a new tab
Applications open on the 1 September 2017 and close on 28th February 2018.
Please note that UCAS Conservatoires is a different application system to UCAS Undergraduate.
Applying Through UCAS Conservatoires
Although UCAS Conservatoires (previously CUKAS) offers many advantages, it was originally designed to handle applications for music programmes at UK conservatoires and is in the process of being adapted to meet the needs of drama applicants.
We are working with UCAS Conservatoires and other drama schools to ensure this happens as quickly as possible but, in the meantime, you may find the following notes helpful.
Additional Guidance on How to Apply
Registration and Audition Fees
There is a one-off registration fee of £25 to register (for entry 2018) to use the service. The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School also charges an audition administration fee of £35 to cover the cost involved in arranging and delivering auditions/interviews. Both fees are payable through UCAS Conservatoires.
We recommend that you pay particular attention to the information you provide in your personal statement on your application form in order to give us as full a picture as possible of your relevant experience and reasons for applying.
You can apply through UCAS Conservatoires from the 1 September 2017. The equal consideration deadline for applications to the MA Film Production programme is 15 January 2018. However our applications for this course will close on 28th February 2018.
If you have any further queries please contact the Admissions Department to discuss: [email protected]
We are unable to consider applications for deferred entry.
This interdisciplinary programme is taught by staff from a wide range of departments at UCL, all international experts in the fields of film and media studies. Linguistic and cultural expertise informs our teaching on the film-making traditions of Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and South-East Asia.
The programme covers the history of cinema and a wide variety of world cinemas. It is designed to provide students with advanced knowledge of both the history of cinema and its contemporary developments, and with the skills, concepts, methods and theories required for the study of cinema and media at graduate level.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits and one non-credit bearing), three optional modules (90 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits).
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 12,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and film and video screenings. The core modules are assessed by essays and examinations, which together count for 20% of the final mark. Optional modules are assessed by essays (40%), and the dissertation makes up the final 40%.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Film Studies MA
Graduates from the MA in Film Studies have pursued various careers, including: academic research and teaching; careers within media arts (writing, directing, editing); print and media journalism; arts and museum management; multimedia authoring and digital design; film preservation and curating.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Former students of this programme have gone on to careers in education and publishing and a wide variety of careers in the media arts, including film production, festival programming, and film curation with organisations including the BBC, the Barbican Centre, the Athens International Film Festival, and the London Film School.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Each year, we welcome students from all over the world to our Film Studies MA. Under the aegis of UCL's Centre for Multidisciplinary & Intercultural Inquiry (CMII), students spend a year amongst a thriving, cross-disciplinary community of cinema scholars and research students.
We have particular research strengths in film history, film theory, and in an exceptionally broad range of national and regional cinemas.
UCL has made a major commitment to refurbishing its multimedia infrastructure for the study of film and related media. This includes building a significant collection of print and visual materials and new facilities for teaching and for film and media screenings.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
This course provides the opportunity for you to develop as a thinking practitioner of film-making or television programme-making, someone who is able to innovate while questioning and interrogating existing values and traditions. The emphasis is firmly on practical film-making and television production work, underpinned with contextual theory throughout, engaging with contemporary issues and emerging trends in film and television production, as well as established film/television theories and practices.
The first two semesters of study provide a range of modules which will allow you to develop your film/television “craft skills” – this may include work with camera, lighting, sound, editing, directing and producing – while working on short film/TV projects of your own devising. There will be opportunities to collaborate with other students, and you will be encouraged to make contact with, and work with, contributors (e.g. interviewees, actors) from outside of the university. You will also develop your skills as an academic researcher by carrying out research which feeds directly into your film projects.
The course culminates in the Masters Project, where you will be the key creative leader of a film or television production, taking on the role of producer or director.
In a typical week, a full-time student on this course will have up to ten hours of class time which will be a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical workshop sessions. Most course modules will blend these different teaching methods within a given timetabled session, so there will be plenty of variety.
In lectures, you will typically be given ‘food for thought’ in relation to your own project ideas. In workshop sessions you will get to practice film-making techniques related to your own project work needs. In seminars you will share ideas and discuss with tutors and fellow students. In tutorials you will have one-to-one or small group discussion about your works in progress.
The general flow of the course for a full time student is to start with production skills, research skills and scriptwriting in the first semester. In the second semester you move on to a small personal project which will combine all that you have learned from these three areas. In the final semester, you bring it all together in a personal film/TV production project which is seen as the culmination of your studies.
Part-time students experience exactly the same course modules and course content, but necessarily broken down into smaller groups of modules.
The course is built upon negotiated production work, which means you get to propose and develop your own ideas for film and television. The teaching staff are experienced with production across documentary, drama and social action production, and will guide you according to your ambitions, skills and needs.
There is always the opportunity to work on ‘live’ project briefs, which can be used as the basis of a module project, or alternatively as an extra-curricular experience which informs your development on the course and allows you to network with students on related courses.
The course is taught in the School of Media, which houses a three-camera live television studio, fifteen editing suites with Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut Pro X and other professional software packages, and a sound-recording/foley production suite. It also has an equipment store from which you can borrow all the camera, sound, lighting and other equipment you need to produce your work.
The course teaching team includes four active doctoral or postdoctoral researchers – Adam Kossoff, Tracy McCoy, Phil Nichols and Gavin Wilson – whose interests include documentary film, social action video, screenwriting and adaptation, and cinematography. They are all qualified higher education teachers, and have many years of experience of teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level. They are also experienced film and programme makers.
Our students and graduates have a track-record of success in competitions and festivals, such as the prestigious Royal Television Society Student Awards, the Midland Movies awards, and the Business Disability Forum's Technology Taskforce Film Festival.