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Documentary filmmaking students
Postgraduate course
MA

Documentary Filmmaking

Documentary Filmmaking

Documentary Filmmaking

International Scholarships available

Overview

Documentary filmmaking is constantly evolving, thanks to the rise of internet and social media, there are now countless places for filmmakers to screen their work. This course will help you find an audience for the idea or subject you are passionate about, and it will support you in turning your vision into a bold and innovative film.

At the Northern Film School you will have the opportunity to explore and communicate a subject you are passionate about. We support all types of filmmaking, including campaigning and issue-led films, observational and character pieces, experimental films and wildlife documentaries. You will develop and pitch your ideas and successful ones will be made into masters projects and given real production budgets.

This course is scheduled to start in September 2020 in the new Leeds School of Arts building based at our City Campus. Should there be any delays or changes to this schedule, the delivery of some, or all modules for this course, may take place in existing facilities at our Headingley and City Campuses.

Accredited by:

As the first and only film school in the UK to receive JAMES accreditation, our Northern Film School is the ideal environment to explore your ideas and creativity. Our industry-standard facilities and experienced staff will give you the support you need to make your passion a visual reality.

You will be joining a strong and successful group of graduates, many of whom have won Oscars and BAFTAs for their work. The prestige of the Northern Film School will set you up to achieve your ambitions and our reputation will provide you with the foundation to becoming a successful documentary filmmaker. We have contacts with the BBC, ITV and Channel Four and strong connections to Sheffield International Documentary Festival where you will have the opportunity to showcase your work.

We understand that full-time study does not suit everyone. That’s why we offer courses which give you the opportunity to decide where, when and how you can get involved in learning. Studying a distance learning course offers the convenience and flexibility to make education work for you. Whether you’d like to fit your studies around childcare, develop your skills while working or, quite simply, want to learn from the comfort of your own home, we can help you gain a qualification at a time and pace that suits your lifestyle.

Like our students on campus, you will have the same excellent teaching and learning resources, however you’ll find these online instead of in a lecture theatre. Not only are all the modules taught online, but you will also have access to an online community and more than 140,000 books and journals in our online library.

Visit our Distance Learning Website

Entry Requirements

Applicants should either have at least a second class honours degree in a cognate subject; at least a second class honours degree in a non-cognate subject supported by evidence of an aptitude for the subject applied for; or have equivalent experience or training, normally from within the work environment. All applicants are required to submit an online portfolio of creative or other work relevant to documentary which includes a proposal for a new documentary film. All applications should be supported by a reference, either academic or professional; a template can be accessed at this link. All applicants should satisfy our University English language requirements, please access further details at this link

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We may use selection criteria based on your personal attributes; experience and/or commitment to the area of study. This information will be derived from your personal statement and reference and will only be used if you have met the general entry requirements.

IELTS:

IELTS 6.0 with no skills below 5.5, or an equivalent qualification. The University provides excellent support for any applicant who may be required to undertake additional English language courses.

ADDITIONAL ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Mature Applicants
Our University welcomes applications from mature applicants who demonstrate academic potential. We usually require some evidence of recent academic study, for example completion of an access course, however recent relevant work experience may also be considered. Please note that for some of our professional courses all applicants will need to meet the specified entry criteria and in these cases work experience cannot be considered in lieu. If you wish to apply through this route you should refer to our University Recognition of Prior Learning policy that is available on our website. Please note that all applicants to our University are required to meet our standard English language requirement of GCSE grade C or equivalent, variations to this will be listed on the individual course entry requirements.

Applicants should either have at least a second class honours degree in a cognate subject; at least a second class honours degree in a non-cognate subject supported by evidence of an aptitude for the subject applied for; or have equivalent experience or training, normally from within the work environment. All applicants are required to submit an online portfolio of creative or other work relevant to documentary which includes a proposal for a new documentary film. All applications should be supported by a reference, either academic or professional; a template can be accessed at this link. All applicants should satisfy our University English language requirements, please access further details at this link

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We may use selection criteria based on your personal attributes; experience and/or commitment to the area of study. This information will be derived from your personal statement and reference and will only be used if you have met the general entry requirements.

IELTS:

IELTS 6.0 with no skills below 5.5, or an equivalent qualification. The University provides excellent support for any applicant who may be required to undertake additional English language courses.

ADDITIONAL ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Verify your qualifications
If you are an international student, we can help you to compare and verify your qualifications. Please contact our International Office on +44 (0)113 812 1111 09.00 to 17.00 Mon-Thurs / 09.00 to 16.30 Fri GMT or email internationaloffice@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.
Need to improve your English Language skills?
Don't worry if you don't have the level of English required for your chosen course. We offer a wide range of courses which have been designed to help you to improve your qualifications and English language ability, most of which are accredited by the British Council. Check your English and find out more about our English courses.
More questions?
No matter what your questions, we are here to answer them, visit our International website to get more information and find out about our online open days.

Careers

Peter Baumann

Careers

Peter Baumann
Director & Writer Student Academy Award Winner 2014 for the film Border Patrol

MA Filmmaking

“My filmmaking course taught me how to work with other people in different kinds of circumstances. The highlight was shooting Border Patrol for our final degree project in Germany with an international crew. Winning the Student Academy Award has also helped me a lot with my career. I’m currently writing scripts for new projects including a mini-series based on Border Patrol and a 90-minute feature film.

Teaching and learning

Download 2020/21 Course Spec Download
Overall workload
Clock icon
277 hours Teaching and learning Typically, this will include lectures, seminars, tutorials, supervised studio time or laboratory time and one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor.
Clock icon
1523 hours Independent study This is the time outside your timetabled hours when you will be expected to continue learning independently. Typically, this will involve reading, research, completing assignments, preparing presentations and exam revision.
Assessment proportions
Assessed through coursework submissions that include documentary film projects and reflective write ups.

Challenge and develop your creative filmmaking practice through the production of short film exercises or sketches. You will gain an understanding of your voice and vision as a filmmaker and enhance your knowledge of all the creative specialisms in filmmaking. Experimentation and collaboration are at the heart of this module.

Develop specialist creative and technical skills for the making of documentary films. You will be introduced to the Northern Film School and the overall ethos of the MA while building basic production skills in three specialist areas: producing and directing; camera and sound; editing.

Explore potential ideas and stories for your own work by researching a wide range of documentary genres. We will introduce you to documentary film theory and history, and you will explore the research methodologies that underpin best practice for documentary production in all specialisms.

Build on your learning from Documentary Practice 1 and increase your knowledge of specialist documentary filmmaking. You will collaborate with other students to complete production exercises designed to explore and enhance your Masters Project.

Apply the ideas and concepts discussed during Documentary Research 1 to your own work. You will decide which approach will work best for your chosen subject and determine the style and ethical perspective of your work.

The culmination of all your learning throughout the course, this module will see you research, develop, create and complete a documentary project, either as the sole author or as a significant specialist member of a collaborative team.

Develop a project and professional plan for your continued practice after the completion of your course. Your proposed project could potentially be individual work, or one in collaboration with colleagues.

Overall workload
Clock icon
277 hours Teaching and learning Typically, this will include lectures, seminars, tutorials, supervised studio time or laboratory time and one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor.
Clock icon
1523 hours Independent study This is the time outside your timetabled hours when you will be expected to continue learning independently. Typically, this will involve reading, research, completing assignments, preparing presentations and exam revision.
Assessment proportions
Assessed through coursework submissions that include documentary film projects and reflective write ups.

Challenge and develop your creative filmmaking practice through the production of short film exercises or sketches. You will gain an understanding of your voice and vision as a filmmaker and enhance your knowledge of all the creative specialisms in filmmaking. Experimentation and collaboration are at the heart of this module.

Develop specialist creative and technical skills for the making of documentary films. You will be introduced to the Northern Film School and the overall ethos of the MA while building basic production skills in three specialist areas: producing and directing; camera and sound; editing.

Explore potential ideas and stories for your own work by researching a wide range of documentary genres. We will introduce you to documentary film theory and history, and you will explore the research methodologies that underpin best practice for documentary production in all specialisms.

Build on your learning from Documentary Practice 1 and increase your knowledge of specialist documentary filmmaking. You will collaborate with other students to complete production exercises designed to explore and enhance your Masters Project.

Apply the ideas and concepts discussed during Documentary Research 1 to your own work. You will decide which approach will work best for your chosen subject and determine the style and ethical perspective of your work.

The culmination of all your learning throughout the course, this module will see you research, develop, create and complete a documentary project, either as the sole author or as a significant specialist member of a collaborative team.

Develop a project and professional plan for your continued practice after the completion of your course. Your proposed project could potentially be individual work, or one in collaboration with colleagues.

Fees & funding

Fees information is not available for this selection of attendance, location and start date. Please re-select.

The tuition fee for students entering in 2020/21 is £7000 in Year 1 and £3500 in Year 2.

Additional course costs

Tuition fees

Your tuition fees cover the cost of registration, tuition, academic supervision, assessments and examinations. The following is also included in the cost of your course:

  • 24/7 Library and student IT support
  • Free wifi via eduroam
  • Skills workshops and resources
  • Library membership, giving access to more than 500,000 printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to software, including five free copies of Microsoft Office 365 to install on your PC, laptop and MAC, and access to free high-end software via the Leeds Beckett remote app
  • Loan of high-end media equipment to support your studies

As a student on this course, access to the following will also be included in your tuition fees:

  • Use of studio equipment and facilities, including film sets, camera and grip equipment, lighting equipment, edit suites for post-production and sound recording studios
  • Free entry to Inside/Out lecture series

In many cases, costs associated with your course will be included in your course fee. However, in some cases there are ‘essential’ additional costs (those that you will be required to meet in addition to your course fee), and/or ‘optional’ additional costs (costs that are not required, but that you might choose to pay). We have included those essential or optional additional costs that relate to your course, below.

Course-specific essential costs

  • Hard drive (maximum cost £100)

Course-specific optional costs

  • Field trip (approximately £200)

Other study-related expenses to consider: materials that you will need to complete your course such as books (the library stocks books from your module reading list and can order books from other locations for you if a copy isn’t available but you may wish to purchase copies for yourself); placement costs (these may include travel expenses and living costs); student visas (international students only); printing, photocopying and stationery (you will need to pay for multiple copies of your dissertation or final project to be printed and bound); events associated with your course such as field trips; study abroad opportunities (travel costs and accommodation, visas and immunisations). Other costs could include academic conferences (travel costs) and professional-body membership (where applicable). The costs you will need to cover for graduation will include gown hire and guest tickets, and optional extras such as professional photography.

You may prefer to have your own mobile phone/tablet (to access university online services) but you can book and borrow AV equipment through the media equipment service accessed online via the student hub and located in the library at each campus. Equipment includes: such as 360 Cameras, iPads, GoPros, MacBooks, portable data projectors, portable projection screens, flipchart stands, remote presenters, digital cameras and camcorders, SLR cameras, speakers, microphones, headphones, headsets, tripods, digital audio recorders and PC/laptops (a laptop loans service is provided on campus in social learning spaces and in the library on both campuses). Student laptops are also available from the laptop lockers located on the ground floor of the libraries.

This list is not exhaustive and costs will vary depending on the choices you make during your course. Any rental, travel or living costs are also in addition to your course fees.

The tuition fee for students entering in 2020/21 is £13000 in Year 1 and £6500 in Year 2.

Additional course costs

Tuition fees

Your tuition fees cover the cost of registration, tuition, academic supervision, assessments and examinations. The following is also included in the cost of your course:

  • 24/7 Library and student IT support
  • Free wifi via eduroam
  • Skills workshops and resources
  • Library membership, giving access to more than 500,000 printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to software, including five free copies of Microsoft Office 365 to install on your PC, laptop and MAC, and access to free high-end software via the Leeds Beckett remote app
  • Loan of high-end media equipment to support your studies

As a student on this course, access to the following will also be included in your tuition fees:

  • Use of studio equipment and facilities, including film sets, camera and grip equipment, lighting equipment, edit suites for post-production and sound recording studios
  • Free entry to Inside/Out lecture series

In many cases, costs associated with your course will be included in your course fee. However, in some cases there are ‘essential’ additional costs (those that you will be required to meet in addition to your course fee), and/or ‘optional’ additional costs (costs that are not required, but that you might choose to pay). We have included those essential or optional additional costs that relate to your course, below.

Course-specific essential costs

  • Hard drive (maximum cost £100)

Course-specific optional costs

  • Field trip (approximately £200)

Other study-related expenses to consider: materials that you will need to complete your course such as books (the library stocks books from your module reading list and can order books from other locations for you if a copy isn’t available but you may wish to purchase copies for yourself); placement costs (these may include travel expenses and living costs); student visas (international students only); printing, photocopying and stationery (you will need to pay for multiple copies of your dissertation or final project to be printed and bound); events associated with your course such as field trips; study abroad opportunities (travel costs and accommodation, visas and immunisations). Other costs could include academic conferences (travel costs) and professional-body membership (where applicable). The costs you will need to cover for graduation will include gown hire and guest tickets, and optional extras such as professional photography.

You may prefer to have your own mobile phone/tablet (to access university online services) but you can book and borrow AV equipment through the media equipment service accessed online via the student hub and located in the library at each campus. Equipment includes: such as 360 Cameras, iPads, GoPros, MacBooks, portable data projectors, portable projection screens, flipchart stands, remote presenters, digital cameras and camcorders, SLR cameras, speakers, microphones, headphones, headsets, tripods, digital audio recorders and PC/laptops (a laptop loans service is provided on campus in social learning spaces and in the library on both campuses). Student laptops are also available from the laptop lockers located on the ground floor of the libraries.

This list is not exhaustive and costs will vary depending on the choices you make during your course. Any rental, travel or living costs are also in addition to your course fees.

The tuition fee for students entering in 2019/20 is £7000 in Year 1 and £3500 in Year 2.

Additional course costs

Tuition fees
Your tuition fees cover the cost of registration, tuition, academic supervision, assessments and examinations.
The following are also included in the cost of your course:

  • 24/7 Library and student IT support
  • Free wifi via eduroam
  • Skills workshops and resources
  • Library membership, giving access to more than 500,000 printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to software, including five free copies of Microsoft Office 365 to install on your PC, laptop and MAC, and access to free high-end software via the Leeds Beckett remote app
  • Loan of high-end media equipment to support your studies

Course specific

  • All equipment, IT resources and film budgets are provided by the School.

Additional costs
In many cases, costs associated with your course will be included in your course fee. However, in some cases there are ‘essential’ additional costs (those that you will be required to meet in addition to your course fee), and/or ‘optional’ additional costs (costs that are not required, but that you might choose to pay). We have included those essential or optional additional costs that relate to your course, below.

Course-specific optional costs

  • Travel and/or accommodation to Sheffield DocFest
  • Portable hard drive: Around £50 for a 1TB drive

Other study-related expenses to consider: books (the library stocks books from your module reading list but you may wish to purchase copies for yourself); placement costs (these may include travel expenses and living costs); student visas (international students only); printing, photocopying and stationery; field trips; study abroad opportunities (travel costs and accommodation, visas and immunisations); PC/laptop (provided on campus in social learning spaces and in the library. However, you may prefer to have your own); mobile phone/tablet (to access University online services); academic conferences (travel costs); professional-body membership (where applicable); and graduation (gown hire and guest tickets).

This list is not exhaustive and costs will vary depending on the choices you make during your course. Any rental or living costs are also in addition to your course fees.


The tuition fee for students entering in 2019/20 is £13000 in Year 1 and £6500 in Year 2.

Additional course costs

Tuition fees
Your tuition fees cover the cost of registration, tuition, academic supervision, assessments and examinations.
The following are also included in the cost of your course:

  • 24/7 Library and student IT support
  • Free wifi via eduroam
  • Skills workshops and resources
  • Library membership, giving access to more than 500,000 printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to software, including five free copies of Microsoft Office 365 to install on your PC, laptop and MAC, and access to free high-end software via the Leeds Beckett remote app
  • Loan of high-end media equipment to support your studies

Course specific

  • All equipment, IT resources and film budgets are provided by the School.

Additional costs
In many cases, costs associated with your course will be included in your course fee. However, in some cases there are ‘essential’ additional costs (those that you will be required to meet in addition to your course fee), and/or ‘optional’ additional costs (costs that are not required, but that you might choose to pay). We have included those essential or optional additional costs that relate to your course, below.

Course-specific optional costs

  • Travel and/or accommodation to Sheffield DocFest
  • Portable hard drive: Around £50 for a 1TB drive

Other study-related expenses to consider: books (the library stocks books from your module reading list but you may wish to purchase copies for yourself); placement costs (these may include travel expenses and living costs); student visas (international students only); printing, photocopying and stationery; field trips; study abroad opportunities (travel costs and accommodation, visas and immunisations); PC/laptop (provided on campus in social learning spaces and in the library. However, you may prefer to have your own); mobile phone/tablet (to access University online services); academic conferences (travel costs); professional-body membership (where applicable); and graduation (gown hire and guest tickets).

This list is not exhaustive and costs will vary depending on the choices you make during your course. Any rental or living costs are also in addition to your course fees.


Facilities

  • Electric Press
    Electric Press

    Based at the Electric Press, our Northern Film School has dedicated facilities and equipment for you to use. These include studios, camera and grip equipment, lighting equipment, edit suites for post-production and a 75-seat HD viewing theatre.

  • Film Studios
    Film Studios

    Based in the Electric Press, our two expansive production studios, East and West Side enable the building of substantial film sets. This affords film students the opportunity to fully explore set design and prop building.

  • Sound recording & editing facilities
    Sound recording & editing facilities

    You'll have access to a suite of professional music studios, including film composition and audio post production rooms, instruments, together with portable field recording equipment and extensive computer workstation facilities.

  • Sound recording studios
    Sound recording studios

    You will have access to 10 recording studios complete with control rooms, live areas, instruments, amps, mixing facilities and editing suites.

Location

City Campus

City Campus

It is not every university that can offer you the chance to study in the best tall building in the world. But we can. Our City Campus is home to such award-winning learning environments as Broadcasting Place, voted best tall building in the world in 2010. Other buildings include the Rose Bowl, home to our Business School, which was awarded Best Commercial Property Development in the 2009 Yorkshire Property awards. Just over the road from the Rose Bowl is the Leslie Silver building which houses one of our impressive libraries across five floors. The library is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year.

View in Google Maps

Want to know more?

Start exploring

We host a range of on campus and virtual open days throughout the year, giving you the opportunity to discover life at Leeds Beckett University. Find out more about your course, financing your studies, our range of accommodation and the vibrant city of Leeds.

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Postgraduate Study - Application Steps

Once you've decided what course to study, here is a step-by-step guide of what to do next.

  • 1
    EXPLORE
    Explore your full range of options on our Online Prospectus at courses.leedsbeckett.ac.uk.
    Call us on +44(0)113 812 3113 or email admissionsenquiries@leedsbeckett.ac.uk if you have any questions. International students can phone +44(0)113 812 1111 or email internationaloffice@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.
  • 2
    POSTGRADUATE AND RESEARCH OPEN DAY
    Visit us for a Postgraduate and Research Open Day to speak to teaching staff and students, see our facilities and find out more about your chosen course. Alternatively, watch our online open day or register for a Virtual Q&A and ask our friendly staff any questions you may have.
  • 3
    APPLY

    Apply directly to us via our online application site *.

    * Exceptions to this are:

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  • 4
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    Receive your offer - remember, the sooner you apply the sooner an offer can be made. Please note that certain courses do have set application deadlines so you should check before applying. Some courses may require you to attend an interview or submit a portfolio before an offer can be made.
  • 5
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  • 7
    INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
    Check visa regulations and apply for your CAS number if necessary.
  • 8
    FEES & FUNDING
    Discover more about your funding options and set up your fee payments.
  • 9
    ONLINE REGISTRATION & ENROLMENT
    Receive your online registration and enrolment information.
  • 10
    WELCOME WEEK
    Attend Welcome Week and begin your course.
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