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Course content

The NFTS has a tradition of enabling documentary filmmakers to find a distinctive voice that both prepares them for the Industry and makes their work a force for changing it.

-Develop a personal voice.
-Put storytelling at the centre of your process.
-Study in a multi-disciplinary filmmaking environment.
-Shoot on digital formats.
-Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School.

We welcome EU/EEA Students. Those accepted onto courses starting in 2018 will have their fees guaranteed at the UK rate for both years of the course. Postgraduate students can apply for a loan to help with their studies via the Student Loans Company Loans. A £ 10,000 loan is available to contribute to course and living costs. The Post Graduate Loan is only open to EU/EEA and UK Students who normally live in England. It is not currently available to Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland Students. Find out more here: https://nfts.co.uk/fees-funding/funding-guide

COURSE OVERVIEW

This course commences in January each year. The goal of the course is to give our graduates the tools and the confidence to become successful members of the international documentary community. Our students have won the Grierson and Sheffield Student Awards two years running, IDFA and the Royal Television Society last year, and win prizes at the most prestigious festivals round the world: Sundance, IDFA, Hot Docs, Berlin, Sheffield and many others. The most important thing, however, is to prepare them for life as committed documentary storytellers, wherever that may lead.

In the UK, getting a first commission can be a daunting task but last year, for example, Marc Williamson, made a First Cut for Channel 4 from his Sheffield student award winning graduation film which this year won him the Grierson Prize for Best Newcomer. Some use the contacts they make in the last phase of the course, to put together deals with TV production companies and non-TV source as Sam Blair did with Adidas for his brilliant feature debut about sprinters, Personal Best. Since students direct and shoot five films in different genres during the course, many progress swiftly by using their unique skills to contribute to productions throughout the industry, like James Newton who won a Grierson last year as one of the directors of The Year the Town Hall Shrank.

CURRICULUM

YEAR ONE
Built around a series of four practical exercises, increasing in length and complexity, informed and inspired by relevant traditions. Each exercise isolates and focuses on the techniques and content of a specific documentary genre: observation, character–led narrative, image/sound poetry and investigation. Students collaborate in various combinations with editors, cinematographers, sound designers and composers and also work alone using digital video equipment.

YEAR TWO
Includes three projects: a graduation film in which students synthesise what they have discovered in the first year, and use it to confidently challenge conventional approaches to documentary: an MA dissertation in which they reflect on a practical question that has intrigued them during the course so far and a proposal/taster tape for a project to take into the professional arena.

The final stage consists of visits to film festivals, broadcasters, independent producers and other relevant institutions, together with seminars dealing with the commissioning process, legal requirements, finance and festival potential.

Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School including an above-the-line cash production budget. NFTS students are engaged in more productions as part of the curriculum than any of our competitors.

Visit the Directing Documentary - MA page on the National Film & Television School website for more details!

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