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Course content

Explore and make creative connections between film analysis and film practice.

Our course has a distinctive focus on international, alternative, and documentary cinemas, while also providing a solid foundation in key elements of film history and theory, including Hollywood. This critical appraisal of such a wide range of genres gives you a solid understanding of what makes film work well, enabling you to improve your own production skills in camerawork, editing, lighting, screenwriting and production management.

You gain a strong sense of independent filmmaking practice, and learn to apply your academic knowledge of film through exploring topics including:
-The formal, social, cultural and political dimensions of films from both within and beyond Hollywood
-Fiction film production, including pre-production, camera, lighting and sound
-Classics of the documentary form , docufictions and mockumentaries
-Collective and individual filmmaking projects
-Storyboarding and editing

You also benefit from a series of masterclasses conducted by invited industry professionals which focus on the craft of filmmaking: developing your technical understanding of cinematography, directing and editing/postproduction.

These also introduce you to potential employment routes and industry career pathways, from setting up your own production company, to identifying and tapping into distribution networks, and preparing and marketing your completed films.

We are ranked Top 20 in the UK (Times Good University Guide 2015), and three-quarters of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

This course is also available on a part-time basis.

Our expert staff

Our intensive modules are taught in small groups by expert academic film specialists and professional filmmakers.

The Centre for Film and Screen Media at Essex is part of a vital departmental unit that offers talented students the support and confidence to respond both critically and artistically to the study of film. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning film-makers, scholars, and media specialists; our staff over the years have included Oscar winners and BAFTA winners.

This course features academic staff who specialise in a wide range of production and critical areas, including producing, screenwriting, documentary, film theory, Soviet cinema, US cinema, films of the Asia and Pacific regions, modernism and the avant-garde, adaptation, and silent cinema. Production staff have extensive experience with organisations such as the BBC.

Our Department has a distinguished history of combining critical and creative work, and we have long been home to poets, novelists, translators, dramatists and actors, alongside literary critics, drama scholars, filmmakers and film theorists.

Specialist facilities

For your film production modules, you have priority use of industry-standard editing facilities, two state-of-the-art studios, and a range of cameras and other filmmaking equipment. You also gain experience using professional film production software including Avid and Final Cut; everything you will need to produce films to an expert standard.

You also have access to our other departmental facilities:
-Show off your work on our Vimeo channel
-View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre, equipped with digital HD projection facilities and surround sound
-Borrow DVDs from our substantial departmental collection
-Join student film societies and the Centre for Film and Screen Media film series, which screen and discuss both recent blockbusters and less mainstream arthouse films
-Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading specialists at weekly research seminars
-Our on-campus Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
-Improve your playwriting skills at our Lakeside Theatre Writers workshops
-Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested
-Write for our student magazine Albert or host a Red Radio show

Your future

We actively encourage and assist you to find appropriate internship and work placement opportunities during your studies, allowing you to practice and develop your skills and experience as well as enhancing your graduate employment prospects.

A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, filmmakers, film editors and translators.

We also offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by Dissertation in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.

Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.

We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

-Dissertation: MA Film Studies
-Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis
-Film and Video Production Workshop
-Critical Moments in the Theory and History of Film
-Adaptation (optional)
-Advanced Film and Industry: Production and Industry (optional)
-Documentary and the Avant-garde: Film, Video, Digital (optional)
-Women Filmmakers (optional)

Visit the Film Studies - MA page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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