MA Film Production

Course summary

The Guardian recently declared UWL to be the best modern University in London. We believe our exciting postgraduate filmmaking programme demonstrates this acclaim clearly. It has been designed to meet the needs of aspiring filmmakers who aim to innovate within the expanding fields of Documentary and Experimental digital film production.

The course is predominantly practical, with almost 70% of learning geared towards enabling you to produce documentary and experimental films. For those whose interest is academic, there is also the possibility to replace the double project practice module with a dissertation. The course closely tracks contemporary developments in digital cinematography and sound design, actively encouraging students to create transformative cinematic responses which cross the boundaries between documentary, experimental and fictive forms. This includes:

  • lyrical
  • Montage
  • self-reflexive
  • guerrilla
  • poetic
  • drama-documentary

approaches which challenge the existing output of broadcast, festival and on-line exhibition. Students produce several video sequences, plus two short films and one longer film.

The course examines the 'founding' traditions of documentary and experimental fiction associated with the Lumiere Brothers and Melies and explores overlaps and points of contact between them. The learning experience is built around practical production modules, underpinned by theory exploring key developments in the history of cinema. Our aim is to nurture filmmakers who can also critically reflect on the form and content of both their own work and the work of others in the field.

Our Team
Our course team share a passion for film and digital video, demonstrating significant international track records within their particular fields. As award-winning documentary and experimental filmmakers, or as widely-published film theorists with a long catalogue of research publications and conference appearances, they bring a keen awareness of current and future trends in filmmaking.

They are highly experienced at nurturing creative responses from young and more established students and their input is enhanced by regular talks from high-profile industry speakers - award winning filmmakers, distributors, broadcasters and other leading media decision-makers.

Course detail

Course overview
Our exciting postgraduate filmmaking programme has been designed to meet the needs of aspiring filmmakers who aim to innovate within the expanding fields of documentary and experimental digital film production.

The course also examines the 'founding' traditions of documentary and experimental fiction associated with the Lumière Brothers and Méliès, and explores overlaps and points of contact between them.

Modules

  • Documentary Practice
  • Film Theory
  • Experimental Film and Video Practice
  • Film and Media Cultures
  • Project or Dissertation.

Documentary Practice
This module is a 'hands on' foundation in documentary digital video production techniques. Working in groups, we introduce you to key aspects of narrative and mixed documentary production by producing four short three-minute sequences. Following extensive feedback to help you refine your techniques, you will then produce a final 10-minute documentary film.

Film Theory
This module examines the context and history of film theory and explores the heritage of theoretical reflection on cinema, with a particular emphasis on documentary. You will examine the contributions of theorists including Sergei Eisenstein, André Bazin, Laura Mulvey, Serge Daney, Gilles Deleuze, Slavoj Žižek and Jacques Rancière.

Experimental Film and Video Practice
During this module you will explore a broad range of experimental approaches to film and video production, and the important role digital technology plays in enabling new approaches to digital film production. You will produce a short film project drawing on what you have learned about avant-garde filmmaking, video and installation art and alternative approaches to narrative filmmaking.

Film and Media Cultures
In this module you explore how national, individual, ethnic, exile and diasporic identities are inscribed in the work of contemporary film directors such as Atom Egoyan, Ousmane Sembène, Elia Suleiman and Tsai Ming-Liang. You will examine virtuality, velocity, telepresence and digitality, and look at the theories associated with thinkers like Paul Virilio, Vivian Sobchack, Lev Manovich, Mary Ann Doane and Steven Shaviro.

Final Project or Dissertation
The culmination of the course is the double project option, where students focus on a substantial piece of production work, either independently or in small groups, under close supervision from a subject specialist.

The project will undergo an extensive period of production and market research, development, pitching, shooting, post-production and marketing to appropriate film festivals and perhaps broadcasters. Alternatively the final focus may be a dissertation which explores an area in which students have developed a particular interest.

Entry requirements

Applicants will usually have a minimum of a 2.2 honours degree from a UK university or overseas equivalent.

Each application is considered on its individual merits and professional experience is taken into account.

International students need to meet our English language requirement at either IELTS at 6.5 or above, and a minimum of 5.5 for each of the 4 individual components (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening).

In some countries where teaching is in English, we may accept local qualifications. Please visit http://www.uwl.ac.uk/international/your-country to check for local equivalencies.

We offer pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet these requirements. Find out more about our English Language courses

Fees

Fees for home and EU students

Main fee
£6,950

Fees for overseas students

Main fee
£10,995
Find out if you are a home or overseas student.

Funding

A range of loans, bursaries and scholarships are available to help you fund your studies.

Students on some Masters courses may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan of up to £10,000 as a contribution towards their course and living costs. Find out how to apply for a Postgraduate Loan on GOV.UK

Other loans available to postgraduate students include Professional and Career Development Loans, which also allow you to borrow up to £10,000.  Find out more about Loans on GOV.UK

Additional funding is available to some types of students, such as disabled students. Find out more about funding opportunities

Within the university, we offer a range of scholarships and bursaries including:

  • The William Brake Bursary: a £1,000 award for candidates on undergraduate or postgraduate degree courses
  • The Mollie Clay Scholarship: a £2,500 scholarship awarded to an outstanding student
  • Exclusive alumni discounts: a £2,000 discount on taught postgraduate courses or a 10% discount on research courses, exclusive to students who graduated from the University of West London.

Other scholarships are also available, including awards for specific subjects. Find out more and check your eligibility for the scholarships and bursaries listed above.


Please note that fees given are per academic year unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to change. Costs can increase each year.

How to apply

Apply for this course

UK and EU students

Click the red 'Apply now' button above for details about the application process for this course.

An online application form is available for many of our courses so you can apply for your place directly. Your application will be dealt with by our Admissions team who will be in touch with you.

The process is different if you are applying for a research degree, apprenticeship or a range of specialist courses. Clicking 'Apply now' will take you to the details relevant to you.

Find out more about how to apply for:

International students

Complete our application form for international students. We have an online application form for international students or you can download the print version (Word, 186kb).

You can also review the relevant information about the qualifications we accept from your country and our English language requirements, as well as details about your visa application.

More about the application process for international students.

During the course

Notable aspects

International Dimension
The course is proud of its international dimension and brings together a range of creative individuals from across the world. Some come to the course with extensive experience in a particular aspect of production, while others may have worked in other related fields.

All will depart with new skills, perspectives and the confidence to work inter-culturally across a range of programme styles. Students are encouraged to draw upon their own cultural experience to explore new production approaches and in the past two years alone films were shot in:
- France
- Germany
- Greece
- Iraq
- Kurdistan
- Norway
- Poland
- Switzerland
- UK
- Zimbabwe.

Special resources

Technical Facilities
We have a good range of high quality digital video cameras, from our £20,000:
- Sony XDCAM EX F3 kit with 3 prime lenses (with Super 35mm chip)
- Sony NXCAM FS100Es (also with Super 35mm chip)
- Sony XDCAM EX3s, Sony Z7s. Sony Z1Es
- Sony A1s and various DSLR cameras.

We are also hoping to invest in a Red Scarlet camera later this year. Our camera kits are supported by various professional tripods, Steadicams, track, dollies, Jibs etc and a range of up-to-date Kinoflow Fluorescent and Dedo lighting kits. We also have 16:9 field monitors, radio, rifle and reporters mikes and portable audio mixers.

For post-production we have our own dedicated MA edit suites, all loaded with the full Final Cut Studio build, including:
- Final Cut Pro
- DVD Studio Pro
- Motion
- Soundtrack Pro
- Livetype
- Colour

Plus the full Adobe Creative Suite including:
- Premiere Pro
- After Effects
- Photoshop
- Encore
- Bridge
- On Location
- Illustrator
- Media Encoder.

Teaching methods

The course blends theory and practice and is designed to help you build creative and critical bridges between the two, so each area of study informs and supports your other learning.

Almost 70% of the course is made up of practical workshops. These typically combine an examination of relevant film clips and approaches with discussions relating to their pros and cons. You will receive regular feedback with discussion on work in progress, test viewings with peers and staff, exhibition visits, and production of a final major piece of work. Throughout these modules, you will receive regular technical input and support.

Theory modules combine a range of approaches, including lectures, visits to the London Film Festival, student-led seminars, presentations and class discussions.

The course combines elements of formative assessment with summative approaches, so you can draw insights from peers and tutors.

In production practice modules peer feedback is important as it allows you to put into practice the critical approaches introduced in the theory modules, in a supportive environment.

The course makes good use of Blackboard, the University's online learning platform - particularly in the theory modules, where you usually come in only one (part-time) or two (full-time) evenings a week. You can access theory lecture notes, receive tutor guidance, and blog your reflections to explore ideas outside class.

What our students say

Jon Gordan, MA Video Production and Film Studies student

“The MA has prepared me for professional work in many ways. The way I conduct myself and interact with people, how I professionally present my work and how to always seek to improve. These are some of the underlying but really important things I've gained from the course, alongside deep technical experience and knowledge. We were pushed to really engage in the creative process, constantly having to assert how we could improve our film.”

Tristan Perquel, MA Video Production and Film Studies student

“A great course, with a good balance between practice and theory. I’ve learned so much in one year.”

Delia Dobritoiu - On Air Production Coordinator, Discovery Network Europe

It was amazing for me to go back to school after 11 years of working in the media and to see how much you still have to learn. The MA I attended at UWL was a rewarding experience for me due to the highly qualified teaching staff and the variety of work I had to deliver.

The course offers a great opportunity for students to learn filming techniques, use a wide range of equipment and most important of all, get all the support they need to learn, develop and succeed as a graduate. I am grateful for the experience and I really wish more students would benefit from this PG course.

Elvis Shabani, Freelance Cameraman/Editor

I recently graduated with an MA from UWL. As a continuing student, I valued UWL's film department because I felt part of a genuine community of scholars and practitioners. I got support and ideas from various people within the departments, not just my supervisors.

The teaching staff are resourceful with an eclectic and invigorating range of specialist expertise helping me to get where I am now, working for companies like Sky Sports, ITN Productions, Selfridges, Cosmopolitan, Elle to name a few.

Anya Oleksiuk, Freelance Director/Director of Photography/ Marketing Assistant

This course is mainly practice-based, which I really enjoyed. We undertook a series of exercises that were very helpful in grasping an understanding of documentary and experimental film practice. There is also a fair amount of film theory, which supported my creativity and my film making skills.

Assiya Amini, Freelance Director/Producer

This course provides subject-based knowledge and experience, to guide and equip students with essential advanced skills required to succeed and create a portfolio of creative work.

After completion you become part of a team of media specialists who can take on paid commissioned work through the university's own production company, W5 Productions. The entire journey is worth taking.

Jennie Mann, Volunteer Service Manager, UWL

I started studying an MA in Film Production last year, I specifically loved the Documentary module, it was very practical and hands on which is exactly what I needed. The lecturers are passionate about what they teach and were very flexible, accommodating and attentive to everyone’s individual needs, they provide opportunities for you to go to film festivals, professional lectures and industry expert talks. If you put the time and energy in and utilize the countless opportunities given to you, you will get a lot out of it.

Jordi Miquel, MA Film Production

"Three words to describe my university experience: Unforgettable and enjoyable

My favourite aspect of university life was the diversity of culture and exposure to so many different people.

Favourite aspect of the course was the practical work.

Next step is to make another documentary as soon as possible!

5 years from now I see myself back at university doing a PhD."

Jobs and placements

Career and study progression

Our Alumni Activity
Our alumni have gone on to showcase work and win awards in film festivals in the UK and internationally and secure broadcasts of their work in a range of territories.

In recent years many alumni from the course found work with production companies, broadcasters or as independent filmmakers, either in the UK, in their own country or elsewhere. We encourage our alumni to be involved with students and staff on the course and have developed a detailed database of student and alumni production expertise, to facilitate networking and the formation of crews for professional and student productions.

Study progression

We also offer students the opportunity to pursue more in-depth research interests by undertaking a PhD with us.