This course will enable you to develop film production skills with both digital and analogue equipment, as well as knowledge of the theories of contemporary cinema. The focus is placed firmly on developing clear and simple storytelling techniques that go beyond arbitrary formal categorisations of drama, documentary or genre. The course takes its inspiration from forms of cultural production that have challenged conformity, including the work of artists, musicians, painters and performers, and the movements of Italian neo-realism and the developing cinemas of Africa, Latin America, South Korea and Iran.
You will study the basic principles of filmmaking, develop an understanding of the nature and potential of visual storytelling, and discover the importance of sound, lighting and the screenplay. You will also gain a sound knowledge of theories and ideas that can help in the interpretation of your own work and that of other filmmakers. You will produce a portfolio of moving-image projects to illustrate your technical ability in cinematography, sound recording, editing and writing/direction.
You will be able to use high-definition digital video camcorders, DSLRs and Macs running Final Cut Pro and Adobe Creative Cloud to apply classical and independent principles with contemporary technology; 8mm, super8 and 16mm film cameras are also available to explore analogue forms of filmmaking (students who wish to use our analogue cameras will have to cover their own stock and processing costs).
Film production projects, critical journal, essays, and seminar presentations.
Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, the work placement is covered by a student's tier 4 visa. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement.
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.
Are you passionate about films and all things visual? Do you want to work in the arts or do you want to find a way to do this? This programme gives you cultural contexts across a range of different genres and history of film to understand why films depicted what they did and how this contributed to the world around us and the way we live. It is well known that film has shaped other disciplines like fashion, the way we think, cultural identity, how we are able to express ourselves or understand something better we previously didn't know about. It is an opportunity to put the record straight on history and get to the root cause and effect of different periods in history through characters. Film is also about getting to the truth in documentary films. Film also follows many other arts disciplines in interpreting them and bringing them to our attention in a way that theatre and performance cannot in terms of scale and reality. Much of what has been successful on the West End Stage, Opera, ballet, the life of a famous painter or other creative is often successfully depicted in film due to its ability to portray several art forms together successfully.
Film isn't the only art form to transform our lives but it probably reaches more people than any other art form around the world. It probably has more of a profound influence in people's lives around the world to change the course of their life in work, interests, style, imitation and more. Different ages of photography have been monumental in transforming our perceptions and getting us closer to reality such as old film and photography of the 19th century, war in the world and celebrities being the first fashion icons of the 50s, without the need for script.
You study and analyse film across the recent past and you look at animation and digital from the days of the Walt Disney team making up each frame to its evolution into digital animation and speed production. You also look at how changing tastes and cultural styles have changed the way in which we view film and by what method, plus you look at living overseas in the context of your own cultural identity. From this you gain useful skills and knowledge to critique contemporary film, curate exhibitions work in museums, become and expert in a specific theme or age of film.
Introduction to Visual Culture and Theory
Introduction to Film Theory and Analysis
Psychoanalysis and Cinema
Cinema and Psychoanalysis
Labour, Leisure and the Moving Image
Diaspora and Migration in Contemporary Visual Culture
Special Subject by Research
Narratives and Images of Deep Time in 19th Century
Curating and Exhibition
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
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*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.
View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page
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