MA Screen Production (Documentary) *

Entry year
2020/21
Course code
P31M12
Application
University
Level
Postgraduate
Department
Creative and Cultural Industries
Campus
City Campus
Duration
One year
Delivery
Full-time, starts January
Programme leader
Dr Dominic Lees (Acting)

* subject to final UWE Bristol approval.

This course is open for applications.

We are continuing to interview applicants to this course but will do so via Skype or alternative means.

Page last updated 4 August 2020

Introduction

Make your own films, tap into Bristol's vibrant indie film sector, and develop the skills and network to succeed as a documentary filmmaker.

Why study screen production (documentary)?

Documentary filmmaking is one of the fastest growing sectors of the screen economy.

From feature length films to short online content, documentaries offer a powerful tool for storytelling, and engaging audiences in diverse subjects and causes.

New platforms and channels are opening up new opportunities for filmmakers to create documentaries for broadcast, web and film distribution.

Why UWE Bristol?

Aimed at students with some experience of film and video-making already, our MA Screen Production (Documentary) offers you access to expert support and industry-level facilities to take your work to the next level.

Covering the huge breadth of forms of documentary, you'll study wide-ranging filmmaking practices and apply these to producing your own films.

The course is practice-focused, expanding your experience of documentary filmmaking, and training you to be a 'thinking documentary filmmaker', as you learn from the work of great documentarists.

This course is integrated into the buoyant documentary sector of Bristol's audiovisual economy, where Channel 4 recently opened its regional hub, and commissioners are investing in documentary projects.

Some of the fastest growing indies in the UK, such as Plimsoll, Drummer, Silverback and Icon Films are based here and we work closely with local companies, as well as the BBC, to offer you varied production opportunities.

Working with Bristol Business School, you'll also build the skills you need to operate as a freelance, self-employed documentary filmmaker.

There'll be opportunities to network with other future creative leaders, working alongside students on our other postgraduate screen MAs.

The course includes a field trip to the Berlin Film Festival, company visits and guest lectures by leading industry experts.

Where can it take me?

You'll be equipped to follow a wide range of careers in the increasingly diverse field of documentary filmmaking, working for broadcasters or setting up your own independent film company.

You're most likely to first secure work as a researcher or production team associate in a larger production company, before seeking commissions to make your own documentaries. 

Structure

Content

You will study:

  • The Diversity of Documentary
  • Documentary Research and Development
  • Screen Criticism and Analysis
  • Screen Industries Issues and Debates
  • Entrepreneurship in the Creative Economy
  • Developing a Screen Business Concept for the Marketplace
  • Final Project.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you. 

Learning and Teaching

The course runs for three semesters over 12 months, starting with a three-week film festival at Watershed and Arnolfini.

With a strong emphasis on practice and production-based work running through the course, you'll be shooting your documentary films within weeks of arriving at UWE Bristol. You'll learn about the industrial and business context of film and TV, and build valuable enterprise skills, working with students on our other postgraduate screen MAs.

Take part in seminars, workshops, group activities and tutorials, to embed your contextual and theoretical studies and develop your own documentary projects.

Attend film screenings and events within Bristol's vibrant film and TV sector, such as the Watershed Cinema and Encounters Film Festival.

Work on a major documentary project in semester three, to express yourself within your field and prepare for your career.

Take part in industry screenings and our final year degree show. Submit your films to international competitions and festivals.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

Semesters one and two involve a higher level of teaching and scheduled learning, with approximately three days per week of contact time and two days of individual study.

In semester three, the focus will be on project work, with 36 hours of tutorial contact time.

Assessment

Assessment is mainly by portfolio, with requirements varying for each module.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

Features

Fieldwork

Travel to the Berlin International Film Festival in February. 

Take part in Bristol film events such as the Watershed Cinema and Encounters Film Festival.

Study facilities

You'll find everything you need for your studies in our specially-built film studio facility at Bower Ashton. You'll have access to Sony FS5 and other cameras, Adobe and AVID editing systems, and Da Vinci Resolve grading. 

Our shared production hub for graduate students offers dedicated space to collaborate on business projects.

Bower Ashton is part of our City Campus, a powerhouse of inspiration and collaboration, which spans Bristol and also includes renowned contemporary arts centres Spike Island, Arnolfini and Watershed.

You'll have access to all the facilities on our Frenchay Campus as well, including the library and our £55m Bristol Business School.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources

Careers

Careers / Further study

You'll be equipped to follow a wide range of careers in the increasingly diverse field of documentary filmmaking, working for broadcasters or setting up your own independent film company.

You're most likely to first secure work as a researcher or production team associate in a larger production company, before seeking commissions to make your own documentaries. 

Fees

Supplementary fee information

The field trip to Berlin will cost approximately £400. This is not included in the course fees.

See our funding pages for more information.

Entry

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, or professional experience (such as significant work in film production), and a commitment to research and reflecting on creative practice. You will be expected to demonstrate some experience of your practice in film, video or documentary production. We are looking for highly motivated students with a passionate commitment to creating original documentary films.

International applicants

For country specific entry requirements, please find your country on the Country Information pages.

Selection process

If you are shortlisted, we will invite you to interview where you will expected to provide a show reel or concise portfolio of previous work, and a clear summary of your current levels of relevant technical abilities. Skype or telephone interviews will be arranged for international applicants.

English Language Requirement

International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 7.0 with 6.0 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The University accepts a large number of UK and international qualifications in place of IELTS. To find details of acceptable tests and the required grades, please visit English Language requirements.

English language support

If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.

Read more about our pre-sessional English programme.

How to apply

Read more about postgraduate applications.

We accept applications throughout the year, but if you are working to a funding deadline you should build this into your application process.

For further information