MA in Screen Documentary

This MA develops your skills and creative vision in the field of screen documentary production, and your understanding of the historical context and contemporary modes of documentary production, against a background of the wider theoretical issues raised in media production. It encourages a practical and theoretical understanding of the politics, aesthetics and ethics of documentary production and the nature and diversity of documentary practice in contemporary society.

About the department
Media & Communications

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

The Department of Media and Communications offers fee waivers for this MA. If you have confirmed an offer by 1 May 2015 you'll automatically become eligible for the fee waiver scheme that will fund waivers equivalent in total to 13 full time home/EU fees. International students are also eligible for the scheme. Find out more on our departmental funding page.

See our tuition fees.
Contact the department
Contact Tony Dowmunt
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Find out about how you can visit Goldsmiths at one of our open days or come on a campus tour.

Screen Doc Films 2013


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Students from the MA in Screen Documentary (from 13 different countries) made 16 documentaries this year. The films cover a wide range of contemporary global issues and interests: protests against governments, environmental concerns, homelessness, memories of war, issues of ageing, eating disorders, IVF, long distance relationships.

>> Find out more about Screen Doc Festival and watch the trailers.

Our former students have gone on to win awards including:

They've also launched their own film festivals, worked on critically acclaimed films and documentaries, and have had their work screened at the London International Documentary Festival, National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival and Open City, the London Documentary Festival.


The MA is one of only two MAs in the UK to receive the Creative Skillset tick. The tick is a kitemark of quality that identifies a course that will effectively prepare you for a career in the creative industries, and which benefits from strong links with industry.

What you study

A mixture of production and theoretical components cover:

  • the skills required to research and develop documentary programme ideas, and to take them through to a completed programme
  • the development of the documentary, including contemporary issues and problems surrounding the form (placed within the context of different genres, modes of production, and the work of particular directors and producers)
  • the relationship between theory and practice in the context of debates about postmodernism

About the Department of Media & Communications


Video: Click to play


Coursework, exercises and short projects; an original television production of approximately 20 minutes; two essays.

Applying and entrance requirements

You can apply directly to Goldsmiths via the website by clicking the ‘apply now’ button on the main programme page.

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have: 

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments.
  • The email address details of your referee who we can request a reference from.
  • A personal statement. This can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online.
  • 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).
  • A 1-2 page treatment of a documentary idea.

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.

When to apply

We accept applications from 1 October for students wanting to start the following September. 

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.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Find out more about funding opportunities for UK/EU students and international students. 

Selection process

You should submit a short (1-2 page) Treatment of a documentary idea with your application, which gives an indication of style as well as content. When submitting your application, please also submit (upload under 'additional') an example of your recent work in a related field, or include links to a page hosting that work. Failing which, please post an example of that work to: Admissions Office, Goldsmiths, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK. Please make sure you include your application reference number (which you will receive when you enter your online application) and the MA degree title. Please see ‘Returning your work’. Web links to online portfolios and moving-image samples are acceptable for this programme.

We 'batch' applications for this programme. This means that we'll wait until the closing date and then assess all applications together, to make sure they receive equal consideration. Therefore you won't receive a decision from us until after the closing date.

Entrance requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper 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 the programme 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.

We also accept a wide range of international equivalent qualifications, which can be found on our country-specific pages. If you'd like more information, please contact the Admissions Office.


Due to the popularity of this programme we ask you for a deposit of £450 to secure any offer made to you after applying for the programme. The deposit will be credited against your tuition fees when you enrol.

English language

If your first language is not English, you normally need a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS (including 7.0 in the written element) or equivalent. 

Please check our English language requirements for more information.

Find out more about applying 

Contact us 

Get in touch via our online form


+44 (0)20 7919 7766

International (non-EU)

+44 (0)20 7919 7702

Modules & structure

Students undertake three core modules:

  • Television Documentary Production – culminating in the Final project and the production of the Course Work Log
  • Issues in Media and Culture 
  • Representing Reality
Code Module title Credits
MC71001A Issues in Media and Culture 15 CATs

Issues in Media and Culture is a module that focuses on the correspondence between making things and thought about cultural artifacts. Theory, philosophy, and artistic practice all share in the business of asking us to pay attention to something we might otherwise not consider, might not see nor hear, and to think about it. Philosophy searches for meaning unfettered by habitual understandings and beliefs. By making something and placing it before us, the practitioner too makes demands on our otherwise quotidian understanding of the world. Theory pays attention to the relationship between meaning and the things we encounter in the world, be they actions, customs, artworks, or media events. It tries to reveal, clarify, or deepen that relationship. In all cases, it is with great care that we cut something out of the continuum of life and frame it, be it by the covers of a book, the focus of a lens, the devices of a story, or the punctuations of dialogue. This module aims to aid in sharpening that care by investigating aesthetic, historic, and social theories about the relationship of creative endeavour to contemporary culture.

The module meets for 2 hours and has a required essay of 3,000 words as an assessment.

MC71127A Representing Reality 30 CATs

This module will consider the relationship of documentary to re-presenting ‘reality’, and it various ‘truth claims’. It will explore documentary production in its changing social and historical contexts, and across its different distribution platforms (from the cinema to the internet), and
deal with current debates about documentary ethics and aesthetics. Taught by a range of Lecturers from the Media & Communications Department, it will encompass both Anglophone and international documentary traditions, and historical examples from the early Soviet avantgarde to contemporary ‘reality’ TV.

MC71006A Final Project / Television Documentary Production 90 CATs

The focus of the production module is on the acquisition of skills in directing documentary. It aims to provide you with a working knowledge of a wide range of production techniques and approaches, and, as importantly, to assist you in finding your own creative direction in documentary making.

The first half of the first term is taken up with acquiring a working knowledge of the equipment available to you in College, and of basic documentary production skills. For the remainder of the module your practical work is self-initiated and directed, and involves the production of a short documentary piece (the IPE) and then your Final Project. This process of individual discovery is assisted by your interaction with a range of documentary practitioners and industry figures, in the MA Forum and Visiting Speaker programme.

MC71116A Asking the Right Questions: Research and Practice 15 CATs (Non assessed for MA Screen Doc)

Peter Lee-Wright

This module offers an introduction to practical research methodologies and their deployment in various different specialist journalism fields.

Commencing with an analysis of British government systems, both national and local, and methods for accessing information from them, the module evolves a critical approach to the many different sources journalists use, the compromises involved and constraints within which they work.

Drawing on both original research and practical expertise, the module is convened and taught by Peter Lee-Wright, with input from a range of visiting specialists.

Subjects covered include:

  • online data-mining
  • Freedom of Information
  • investigative journalism
  • economic and political journalism
  • the problems and pitfalls of foreign journalism and reporting conflict
  • dealing with the military and the UK D-notice system
  • managing human, particularly vulnerable, human sources


  • Morrison, James (2011), Essential Public Affairs for Journalists (2nded.), Oxford University Press
  • Kampfner, John (2010), Freedom For Sale: How We Made Money and Lost Our Liberty, Pocket Books
  • Fogg, Christine (2005), Release the Hounds: A Guide to Research for Journalists and Writers, Allen & Unwin
  • Franklin, Bob & Carlson, Matt (Eds.) (2010), Journalists, Sources, and Credibility: New Perspectives, Routledge
  • Löffelholz, Martin & Weaver, David (Eds.) (2008), Global Journalism Research: Theories, Methods, Findings, Future, Blackwell Publishing
  • Brooke, Heather (2006, 2nd edition), Your Right to Know: A Citizen’s Guide to the Freedom of Information Act, London: Pluto Press
  • Tett, Gillian (2009), Fool’s Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe, London: Little, Brown
  • Coté, William & Simpson, Roger (2000), Covering Violence: A guide to ethical reporting about victims and trauma, New York: Columbia University Press

MC71007A Course Work Log 45 CATs

A detailed log of work in progress throughout the coursework process.

Graduate profiles

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Penny Lam (MA Screen Documentary 2011-12)

Penny's Graduation Film 'Who are those Devils" has been selected for two festivals: London Short Film Festival 2013  and Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival 2013.

The film is a portrait of Zlatka, an 80-something old lady who lives alone in a village in Bulgaria – who strongly believes in dreams.

See a trailer at

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Vincent Du - MA Screen Documentary 2011-12

Has won the Student Award  at the One World Media Awards, for his graduation film, 'Almost Famous', which focuses on the largest rock and pop school for children in China.

The Jury described the film as 'A beautiful, funny and. at times, very sad human interest story told in a compelling way. From the shoot all the way to the completed edit, Almost Famous stood out, despite the presence of some wonderful competition. Vincent Du captures brilliantly the emotions and dreams of parents and children who, while they may be a generation apart, appear to be a world apart'.

Vincent has also been commissioned to make a new version of the film by Al Jazeera.

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Canan Turan (MA Screen Documentary 2011-12)

Canan's graduation film "Kiymet" is being screened in the cinema for a season at Kino Moviemento in Berlin. Kiymet is a personal film about a Turkish family in Germany, told from the perspective of a grandmother and her grandaughter (Canan). Trailer available to view here.

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Kip Loades (MA in Screen Documentary 2010-11)‌

Kip's film "Me, Doug & Meg" showing on Channel 4 on February 19, as part of a special episode of the Shooting Gallery on transgender. The presenter's links were done by the inimitable Bruno Ramos and Sawit Pras (also MA in Screen Documentary 2010-11)

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Cristina Picchi (MA Screen Documentary 2010-11)‌ 

Cristina has just made a short film for ITN, who describe the projects as follows: "ITN Productions, which made the original Sri Lanka's Killing Fields, asked graduate film students to make a short film based on the original Channel 4 documentaries. The one which the production team felt showed an original and innovative response was by Cristina Picchi..."

Click here to see the film

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Roberta Fortuna (MA Screen Documentary 2009-10) 

Roberta has just completed a year's work as Assistant Producer on 'Brazil with Michael Palin', a four-part series which goes to air from 24 October to 14 November, on BBC1 at 9pm. Click here for more details about the series.

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Melissa Gomez (MA Screen Documentary 2007-08) 

Melissa's film about her family - 'Silent Music' - has won the prize for Best Documentary at the Caribbean Tales 2012 Festival in Toronto - further information here.

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Maria Court (MA Screen Documentary 2010-11)

Maria's graduation film 'All Ground is Holy' - a portrait of the Union Chapel in Islington, London - has wonthe prize for Best Documentary Film at the Edge of the City Short Film Festival - further information here.

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Fathima Nizaruddin (MA in Screen Documentary 2009-10)

Fathima’s film 'My Mother's Daughter', made in her home town of Varkala in Kerala, has now been selected for screening at the 5th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala

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Cristina Picchi (MA Screen Documentary 2010-11)

Cristina's short documentary 'Under Your Skin' - made with Yuvi Gerstein -  was selected for the LIDF - London International Documentary Film Festival 2012 and will be screened at Roundhouse on the 28th May at 1 pm. Details here.

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Sacha Kumar (MA in Screen Documentary 2010-11) 

Sacha won the Audience Poll at the Imperial War Museum Film Festival, for his graduation film 'Send In The Gurkhas'. There were over 1,300 votes cast.

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Rosemarie Lerner & Sandro Kakabadze (MA in Screen Documentary 2010-11)

The duo won joint 1st prize in the Documentary Award at the Exposures Festival, for their graduation films 'Tata' and 'All Day Strolling'. 'Tata' is "a personal portrait of Alfonso Rizo-Patron, a 94 year old Peruvian engineer and the filmmaker's grandfather", and 'All day Strolling'  is "a calm meditation on a refugee camp in the Georgian mountians" (see a clip here). 

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Olivia Humphreys (MA Screen Documentary 2009-10)

Olivia won the Post-Graduate Factual prize at the Royal Television Society's Student Awards for her film 'Noctuaries'. This is her graduation film from Goldsmiths, a personal film about dreams and mourning.

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Cristiano Reckziegel (MA Screen Documentary 2010-11)

Christiano had a short film he made on the course - 'Home Sweet Post-it' - selected for screening at 'Open City - the London Documentary Festival'. This short, funny documentary shows the challenges of sharing space in a house in East London, which is home for almost 20 young people from Spain and South America.

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Ana Flavia Pinheiro (MA Screen Documentary 2009-10)   

Ana had her film 'Billie' accepted for screening at 'Open City: the London Documentary Festival'. 'Billie' is a warm and engaging portrait of a former homeless crack addict making a new life for herself in London.

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Olivia Humphreys (MA in Screen Documentary 2009-10)

Olivia was one of the winners of the 'Ideas Fund Shorts' from Ideas Tap. She has made an animation 'Oneironauts (The Dream Travellers)', linked to her film ‘Noctuaries’, her graduation film from Goldsmiths.

You can watch 'Oneironauts' on Vimeo

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Ingmar Trost (MA in Screen Documentary 2001-02) 

Ingmar is in pre-production with a feature-length documentary - 'EL BASTIÓN' (The Bastion) - about Playa Girón, a sleepy village on Cuba‘s south coast, and the location of the infamous Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961. The film observes life in the village as it prepares itself for the 50th anniversary of the invasion. Ingmar is fund-raising for the film through Kickstarter.

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Fathima Nizaruddin (MA in Screen Documentary 2009-10)                                                  

Fathima’s graduation film 'Talking Heads [muslim women]' was selected for showing by three festivals: the 6th ViBGYOR International Film Festival, held in Thrissur, Kerala, India in January 2011; the Official Competitive Section of the VII International Documentary Film Festival of Navarra 'Punto de Vista' in Pamplona (Spain) from 22 to 27 February 2011; and the Filmmor Women’s Film Festival in March 2011 in Istanbul.

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Jennifer Fearnley (MA in Screen Documentary 2008-09)

Jennifer won the Royal Television Society’s Student Television Awards 2009 in the Postgraduate Factual category, for her graduation film ‘Stuck on the Edge’. The film – about a "remarkable 100-year-old woman" – was described by the judges as a “great character with a sense of humour, pathos and marvellous content”. Jennifer also won three prizes at Exposures 2009, the UK’s largest festival of student moving image work, which took place in Manchester. ‘Stuck on the Edge’ won the Programmers Choice Award, The Audience Award and was joint winner of the Grand Jury Award.

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Marianne Hougen-Moraga (MA in Screen Documentary 2006-07)

Marianne won the Minga D'Or prize at the first women's film festival in Cameroon, Central Africa – the Mis Me Binga: Festival International de Films de Femmes. The award for the best documentary was for Hougen-Moraga’s film about her uncle, ‘Little Revolution’. The film was shown at BFI Southbank as part of the Refuge in Films Festival, which was set up to raise awareness about refugee and migrant issues.

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Gabriella Kessler (MA in Screen Documentary 2005-06)

Gabriella worked as an assistant editor and translator on 'The Kings of Pastry', directed by the renowned US filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. It was shown on BBC4, in March 2010. Visit the BBC website for more information about the film.

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Marie Bryant ( MA in Screen Documentary 2007-08)

Marie had her graduation project film ‘Life on the Grave Side’ screened as part of The London United Film Festival in December 2009 at the Prince Charles Cinema. The film – an intimate portrait of Abney Park Cemetery and its visitors – won two awards: Best Short Documentary (UK) at the London Independent Film Festival 2009 and a 2008 Royal Television Society’s Student Television Award in the Postgraduate Factual category. The jury for the latter commented: “What marked out this beautifully edited film was the quality of the relationships the film-maker made with the subjects – she got under the skin of the lost and lonely, the abandoned and the downright aggressive”.

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Ralph Perring (MA in Screen Documentary 2001-02)

Ralph was series director on ‘Sea Patrol’ (Wall to Wall Media), which screened on the National Geographic Channel and Channel 5 in 2010. Ralph has also been series producer on the 2010 Channel 5 series ‘Police Interceptors’.

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Minou Norouzi (MA in Screen Documentary 2006-07)

Minou exhibited work at PHOTOCINEMA, part of the Format International Photography in Derby. The festival contained the work of artists (including David Lynch) who extended the ‘still’ image in time through the use of photo-narrative sequencing, directed or documentary photography and moving image from single still to feature film. Visit for more information.

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Gillian Pachter (MA in Screen Documentary 2001-02)

Gillian filmed and directed a programme on home repossessions – ‘Repossessed’ – that aired on BBC1 in January 2009.

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Maria Eduarda Andrade (MA in Screen Documentary 2006-07)

Maria was awarded the 4Talent Magazine Award for Short Documentary in 2008 for her directorial debut, ‘Just Like Mom’.

The film also won the 2007 Royal Television Society’s Student Television Award in the Postgraduate Factual Category, which Maria directed and Isabel Rodriguez (MA in Screen Documentary 2006-07) edited. The work was described by judges as “a raw, vivid film that took you on a journey deep into the lives and troubles of three generations of one family in Brazil. You never knew what was coming next, it had so many twists and surprises, but at its heart this film has a compassion for the women prepared to let us in on their darkest moments. Clearly a powerful bond of trust had been formed between the film-maker and her damaged but dignified subjects”.

You can watch a 13-minute clip from the film at

See also

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Luciano Zubillaga (MA Screen Documentary 1999-97)

Luciano received funding to produce new work through the 2008 London Artists Film and Video Awards (LAFVA), one of the largest UK awards scheme of its kind, which is supported by Film London in partnership with Arts Council England. His project ‘Music for a Missing Film’ is a single screen work for cinema, which explores notions of place, collective cultural memory and restoration. Set in London, Caracas and Miami, the project involves working with the remnants of a controversial art film. Originally made in Caracas in 1963, all trace of the film has since been lost. All that remains is the original music, the film script, 35mm film footage and the memories of those who saw the film over forty years ago.


Graduates of this programme have gone on to work in television, radio, broadcasting, the press, publishing, and film-making.

Our former students regularly win awards, have their films screened at festivals, and get involved with critically acclaimed work. Visit our Graduate Profile pages for further information.


The MA encourages you to develop:

  • production management skills
  • technical skills (including camera, lighting and sound editing)
  • an awareness of documentary production techniques
  • an understanding of the workings of the media and their broad cultural and social impacts
  • specific practice skills to a high level

MA in Screen Documentary 2013-13

For further information on the work of our 2012-13 graduate documentaries visit the Goldsmiths Screen Doc 2013 website.

Group Trailer 2013 MA in Screen Documentary


Watch the group trailer for documentaries made by the 2013 cohort.

Mind the Gap - Washington Calegari


Mind The Gap follows the struggles and joy of people around the world who are in long distance relationships. The Brazilian director Washington Calegari combines his own experience of dating his boyfriend from a distance, with the stories of three other couples. They all get intimacy from talking rather than touching but also learn how to carry on life without their partners. The couples can even find the advantages of it. But there are no guarantees of a happy ending.

Nobodies People - Christian Havrincea


Filmed over a year in UK and Romania, Nobody’s People gives you an inside perspective into a group of gypsy travellers who have settled in Marble Arch, London since early 2012. Defying the exclusive character of the area, thirty Roma describe their presence in central London as the only way to improve their destinies. With unique access, the documentary explores the challenges they face in the UK and why they chose to leave Romania.

You've Done Enough - Laurie Harris


Using a combination of hand-drawn animation and archive audio interviews, You’ve Done Enough tells the personal story of Tom Adlam VC’s experiences in the First World War. In the present day, live action footage looks at the traces left behind by Tom that still survive, through moving interviews with his family and friends.

Waiting For You - Lisa Fingleton


Waiting For You is an intimate five-year video diary of Lisa's journey towards motherhood on a small farm in Ireland. As a lesbian couple, Lisa and her partners options are limited. They are not allowed to adopt under Irish Law, finding a donor is not easy and neither is IVF...

Where I Want To Go - Laura Belinky


In this film we follow former model (and recovered bulimic) Natasha Devon who has been delivering body confidence classes since 2008. Since then over twenty thousand teenagers across the country have participated in her workshops, which aim to equip young people to think about beauty in their own terms.

MA in Screen Documentary 2011-12

You can also visit A Real World: Goldsmiths MA in Screen Documentary for a more detailed insight into student work from the MA in Screen Documentary graduates of 2011-12.


Content last modified: 15 Oct 2014

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