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MA in Filmmaking

  • Length
    1 year full-time
  • Department
    Media and Communications

Course overview

This is it. From the moment you begin this MA you’ll be filmmaking. Come and transcend the physical restrictions of the world – and bring your passion and a good pair of shoes.

Pathways

This MA has six pathways you can follow: 

From right now to tomorrow morning, and from your sofa to the sky, film can take you anywhere. It’s a medium that’s limitless, letting you fly through space and time, through different points of view - even through people’s heads. But it’s also a discipline that requires working with others – you can’t make films on your own.

The questions we ask

Where is cinema going to be? How are people going to watch it? What do they want it to look like? These are the kinds of questions we’re interested in. And we don’t explore them alone. Our annual debate features industry speakers including directors Danny Boyle and Paul Greengrass, and producers Tessa Ross and Tim Bevan, so you get the best kind of insight while you’re here.

The processes we use

As the only UK university to offer advanced skills training to film school standards, we work within an industry-spec building with studio and rehearsal spaces, screening rooms and up-to-date camera, lighting and sound equipment, plus mixing desks and edit suites. And we now have an on-site cinema so you can showcase your work to the public. 

With six specialist pathways, you can decide whether you want to hone your craft in editing, producing, directing, documentary, sound or cinematography. But that doesn’t mean you miss out on the other sides of filmmaking. Each pathway combines fiction and documentary elements, covering options such as script and project development, web drama, online content, and social activist filmmaking, alongside more traditional media skills. So the thing is, it’s never boring. 

The approach we take

We want you to enjoy every second because we think all of it is filmmaking, all of it is process. We want you to meet filmmakers, work with others, and exchange ideas. It’s why we’ve created Screen Lab, a Berlin Film Festival-inspired weekly session where every Screen School student becomes part of a talent day, doing everything from making music videos to pitching stories. 

And we want you to push boundaries so whether it’s gallery-based or interactive, or part game and part movie, we want you to explore film in all its forms and take cinema forward. 

This MA puts you in the heart of the action. From day one you’ll be working with actors so you need to be ready to go. The industry demands you have the energy for a 10-12 hour day, so we instil those levels of commitment from the moment you arrive. 

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Gerry McCulloch

Modules & structure

All pathways involve:

  • Masterclassess
  • Pitches
  • Role-plays
  • Exercises aimed at using your skills specialism in a variety of live shoot situations

You will also have a variety of research projects to undertake, as well as other module options.

The third term will be taken up with your final substantive project, and in writing up a process paper on your work and research over the year.

For full module information, refer to the individual pathways.

Screen Lab

As well as specialist teaching, all MA Filmmaking students will attend Screen Lab, where they will advance their collaborative skills by working in teams with fiction and documentary producers and sound and edit students, on a variety of projects and at least three scheduled films across the year.

Screen School options

As well as taking one of the specialisms mentioned above have the opportunity to take three extra short courses to enhance their main skill and critical approaches. Available option modules may include for instance:

  • Screen Adaptation
  • Principles of Editing
  • Media Law and Ethics
  • The Short Script
  • Politics of the Audio Visual
  • Social Activist Film Making
  • Contemporary Screen Narratives
  • Representing Reality
  • Storyboarding
  • The Practice and Aesthetics of Film Lighting
  • The Current Landscape of the UK Media Industries

Industry mentorships

We have close relations with all sectors of the media industry, and offer each student an invaluable year-long mentorship with an relevant individual or company. Many of these relationships will develop into fruitful work and creative opportunities for the future.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Department

We are ranked:
22nd in the world for communication and media studies**
1st in the UK for the quality of our research***

Media and Communications

We’ve also been ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top graduate universities for media professionals, because so many of our graduates go on to find jobs in the industry.

The department includes some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – the pioneers of media, communications and cultural studies. They actively teach on our programmes, and will introduce you to current research and debate in these areas. And many of our practice tutors are industry professionals active in TV, film, journalism, radio and animation.

We also run EastLondonLines.co.uk – our 24/7 student news website – which gives students the opportunity to gain experience working in a real-time news environment.

And we run regular public events featuring world-renowned writers and practitioners that have recently included Danny Boyle, Gurinda Chadha, Noel Clark and Tessa Ross. So you’ll get to experience the latest developments and debates in the industry.

Find out more about the Department of Media and Communications

**QS World University Rankings by subject 2015
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings

Skills & careers

From Steve McQueen to Sam Taylor-Wood, Goldsmiths graduates go on to shift the public perception of what makes film matter. And our MA filmmaking graduates are creating award-winning work including Best Cinematography at the NAHEMI Encounters International Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Exposures Film Festival.

The best advice we can give you is to make the most of your time with us. For a whole year you have access to the best in the field: highly qualified, industry-active and award-winning staff and guest speakers. And you can benefit from an invaluable 12-month mentorship with an individual or company within the industry while you’re here.  

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student work

Aftermath, a Team3Films production
Happy Anniversary, by Prototype Film Company
True Love, a Team 3 final project

Student profiles

Dheeraj

"I am treated with a lot of respect when people know that I am a Goldsmiths graduate!"

"I like writing and directing the most. Writing is very primal, it’s between you and your computer or paper. While writing you can become very close to your film, and know it intimately. While directing, you get to realise what you have written. It’s extraordinary to work with artists in front of the camera and from behind the camera, travel through many ups and downs and stay true to your vision… It’s true that while writing you are directing, and while directing you are writing! 

My advice to graduates looking to break into the industry would be to just keep at it! Giving up is not an option. And there are crazy times when nothing works out and there are piles of rejections, and people laugh in your face or behind your back or both! But that time is a gift - you have to use that time constructively to work on your skills and learn along the way. And this I will not say as a matter of advice, instead I want to share it from the bottom of my heart, that you have to keep knocking on those doors. It may hurt, it may hurt a lot, but keep knocking. Because one day, one of those doors opens! 

The MA at Goldsmiths helped me immensely! Our course convener Robert Smith is largely responsible for this. He worked extremely hard for us and with us. He took us to many different places - from Working Title to The UK Film Council, from distributors and exhibitors to lawyers and independent producers. He made sure we worked hard as well. Tammy Riley Smith - our teacher on the core course was extraordinary. Both of them encouraged us to write our cinema. This fantastic exposure taught me how to put together an international co-production. Robert encouraged us to go to various film festivals where we could participate and pitch our projects, however scared we were. In this field, like any other, you need someone to advise you, someone you can talk to on creative and pragmatic levels, and Robert has been there for me and that has helped me a lot! 

I think the most important thing has been the exposure and freedom Goldsmiths gave me. I learnt many things here. But I also worked in Goldsmiths’ library for three years, during my student days and after. And I am most thankful for that. I made wonderful friends, read a lot, saw a lot of films. It was at Goldsmiths that I started developing my first feature length film ‘Liv & Ingmar’. I am immensely grateful for what Goldsmiths has given me.

I am treated with a lot of respect when people know that I am a Goldsmiths graduate! They look up to this institution, for many reasons. In the force of the current circumstances, I just hope that we do not lose what is good about this place… It takes decades, even centuries for a tree to grow and blossom, but it takes an hour to axe it down… we must not forget that!"

Odilon

"The course not only helped me develop creative projects, but provided me with the skills to raise funds for my second short and first feature film."

"The MA gave me enough confidence to go forward within the film industry. The course not only helped me develop creative projects, but provided me with the skills to raise funds for my second short and first feature film.

'Prime Time Soap', a feature film project developed at Goldsmiths, was selected to by the Berlinale Talent Campus (2007) and is now a feature film co-produced by my company Cria Films and Universal Productions. 'Prime Time Soap' won Best Screenplay at Rio de Janeiro Int'l Festival (2011), Best Film at Torino GLBT Int'l Film Festival (2012), Best Film (audience award)/Best Actresses at Queer Lisboa Int'l Film Festival (2012) and was officially selected for Seattle Int'l Film Festival, Glasgow Internationall Film Festival, Human Rights Art and Film Festival (Australia), Jameson Dublin Int'l Film Festival among others.

I'm about to shoot a short film, and I'm also developing three features: 'The Samaritan' (awarded with the Step by Step Media Plus Europe Script Development Fund and one of 12 projects selected by the Talent Market at Berlinale), 'Idol's Fall' and 'The Hand of Creator' (project developed with Deborah Osborn through Goldsmiths)."

Odilon studied the MA in Feature Film, which is now called MA in Filmmaking.

Lorraine

"Each film we created together progressed technically, aesthetically and thematically, and our screen storytelling abilities matured."

"Film cannot be taught from books. The only way to really understand the medium of cinema is by doing it.

This year I had the opportunity to work on several short films that provided me with the necessary skills and capabilities to make a success of our graduation film. The challenge of directing these short films early in the year was key to cementing a good working relationship with my team.

I had the pleasure of watching my team evolve and grow dramatically in the short space of a few months. Each film we created together progressed technically, aesthetically and thematically, and our screen storytelling abilities matured. Most importantly, we learned that filmmaking is not about one single element. Over the past year, I feel we have grown and developed sufficiently to be able to thrive in any professional film environment."

See more profiles for this programme

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject as well as a level of practical experience from work in the arts or the media.

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Please note that unless you are exempted (Please check your status with our Admissions Team: admissions@gold.ac.uk) overseas students require an English language qualification of IELTS 7.0 in order to be considered for a place on the MA Filmmaking programme. 

If you have not yet achieved IELTS 7.0, we advise you to sit your IELTS exam at the earliest opportunity and to submit your application immediately after receiving your result. The annual IELTS deadline for the programme is April 30th.

Because funding deadlines and requirements vary around the world, applications are considered on a rolling basis and places on the programme fill up across the recruitment cycle. For this reason, we strongly advise you to submit your completed application as early as you can.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 7.0 (including 7.0 in the written test)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. Please apply on the page for the pathway you're interested in:

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online. Please tell us about your passion and aptitude for Filmmaking. What are your dreams and aspirations? How did your engagement with visual media develop, and how has it developed in terms of professional, voluntary and personal work?
  • Examples of your recent work in a related field (eg moving image samples), preferably via a web link to your online portfolio – please upload this under 'additional' in your online application (NB the maximum file size you can upload is 20MB)
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You should emphasise your practical/theoretical experience in the arts or the media in your application.

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

References

Our departmental preference is for referees to upload a confidential reference to the on-line admissions system. Please make sure to select the option for your referees to be automatically notified of the need for them to submit a reference on your behalf.

When to apply

We accept applications from 1 October for students wanting to start the following September. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Please be aware that the Directing Fiction pathway of MA Filmmaking tends to be heavily subscribed, so please feel free to apply for more than one pathway to increase your chances of being offered a place. If you do apply for more than one pathway, please indicate in your personal statement your preferred pathway.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

The Department of Media and Communications offers three fee waivers for MA Filmmaking. Find out more on our departmental funding page.

Find out more about tuition fees.

Additional Costs

The materials and incidentals budget for your film projects is likely to amount to several thousand pounds. Each team member is responsible for raising approximately £600 to cover the material costs of the three films that each team makes on the course.

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