The Film Directing programme at The University of Edinburgh takes a project-led, practice-based approach to studying for an MA in Film Directing which integrates analysis of contemporary film practice with practical film making.
Students choose to make a creative documentary or a 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. As part of the Skillset Screen Academy Scotland we also offer mentorship within the industry and ensure that all tutors are top professionals. Many of our students already work in the industry and we aim to 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 Universitys internationally-acclaimed research centre in documentary film making.
The aim of the Film Directing programmes at ECA is to:
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.Creative Skillset
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 programme is project-led and delivered through workshops and regular individual tutorials. It integrates practical studio work with theoretical and written studies from the Context department, including professional practice elements.
The first semester 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 weekly seminars and screenings 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 Professional Practice support and careers mentoring through Screen Academy as well as access to visiting lecturers and a pool of potential collaborators from Screen Academy Napier including the possibility of working with cinematographers, editors and producers.
Dates reflect the university's timezone.
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Normally a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject area. You should have technical skills in filmmaking and experience in directing.
You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. Your portfolio should:
If you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we may still consider your application on the basis of your portfolio and/or relevant professional experience.
The award recognises studying abroad as a positively life changing experience for many students as well as promoting intercultural understanding and tolerance. Successful candidates will receive up to £10,000 to be applied toward the cost of tuition fees.
Scholarships are available.
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