Film & Television MA

Location
Penryn Campus
Length
1 year full-time
Direct line
01326 213730
Admissions
admissions@falmouth.ac.uk

MA Film & Television at Falmouth University reflects and interrogates the highly fluid nature of the contemporary screen media environment.

Our MA is distinguished from traditional courses in that it specifically addresses the diversity and crossover of today's film and television culture with the aim of producing adaptive thinkers and highly creative practitioners. Our academic focus engages and interrogates film and television's status in the 21st century, which is often defined in terms of the digital age and digital culture.

On the course you will be required to examine, interpret and contest the notion of digital culture historically, socially, politically and artistically through both your research and creative practice. You will interrogate the increasingly blurred boundaries between film and television, art and technology, production and consumption, with the outcome being a fracturing of traditional categorisations. We reflect an era in which screenwriters Aaron Sorkin (Newsroom, The West Wing) and Lena Dunham (Girls, Tiny Furniture) experiment with dialogue and narrative, while conceptual artists Sam Taylor-Wood (Nowhere Boy, Love You More) and Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Shame) have shifted from the art gallery to the cinema. Directors such as Ben Wheatley (A Field in England, Sightseers) and companies such as Curzon and Film4 are making use of multi-platform release schedules, and brands including HBO, Amazon and Netflix are shaping the very nature of not only what, but how, we watch. MA Film & Television understands this fundamentally shifting zeitgeist.

In examining industrial structure and visual form you will theorise the shifting dynamics of an age where anyone with a phone and a laptop has the ability to record, edit and disseminate visual projects. Such 'democratisation' has arguably made both creative uniqueness and clear industry pathways less discernable, but has provided a new and fruitful framework for those who have the ideas, talent, dedication and adaptability to embrace such immense transitional potential. However, despite these multitudinous transformations attributed to digital culture, the ethos of our MA contends that fundamental skills remain the basis of both sound academic work and creative practice. Rather than being fearful of what is to come, or nostalgic for the past, this course gives you the confidence to look at film and television critically, and acquire cutting edge creative skills in order to produce intelligent, innovative and inspirational visual work.

Our philosophy is one of flexibility, so you'll shape the curriculum around your own interests, whether in theory, creative practice, or a combination of the two. Drawn from the fundamentals of history, theory and criticism, our theoretical strand develops tomorrow's cineastes, cultural commentators, journalists and academics. This also underpins our approach to practice. The most successful film and television makers are students of their chosen medium, highly knowledgeable of historical legacy and social-political context. You'll not only learn how to develop, write, produce, shoot, record, direct and edit well, but why, philosophically and creatively, your ideas are worth being made.

How is the course taught

Our passion is reflected both in the teaching and research track record of our academics, our industry connections and visiting speakers, and the quality of our film and television professionals. Crossing disciplinary areas such as cultural studies, sociology, journalism, English, philosophy and, of course, film and television studies, our MA offers academically-minded students comprehensive supervision and guidance for moving onto PhD research.

Industry and academic links

We have a strong visiting lecturer programme with recent guests including critics Dr Mark Kermode, Professor Linda Ruth Williams and Dr Will Brooker. Our practice tutors are active writers, producers, directors, editors, sound designers and cinematographers who create substantive work across all screen media. We have a wide range of contacts and industry specialists who contribute to the course, including Tony Grisoni (writer of Southcliffe, Red Riding, and How I Live Now), Mary Burke (producer of For Those in Peril, Berberian Sound Studio and The Midnight Beast), and James Henry (writer for Campus and Green Wing).

Falmouth University also recently hosted the Channel 4 Talent Day and we are active in developing work placements and internships for our students. We have sent many of students to Warp Films and TwoFour since 2009, and regularly update our webpages with work experience opportunities and jobs. Our graduates have proceeded to further study and jobs across the film and television industry, for HBO, Sky, ITV, Disney and have worked on major feature films, most recently including About Time (Richard Curtis, 2013) The World's End (Edgar Wright, 2013), The Double (Richard Ayoade, 2014) and Disney's forthcoming Cinderella (Kenneth Branagh, 2015). Falmouth University's MA in Film & Television is for students who to place themselves at the cutting edge of screen culture.

Course outline

The course is divided into three semesters of 15 weeks. Each semester offers the fundamentals vital to every academic and practitioner, and elective choices so you can shape your own learning.

What you'll do

Study block 1

Foundation

The first semester consists of three core units, offering a diverse entry point to all aspects of the study of film and television, and the interrelationship of theory and practice:

Theorising Contemporary Film & Television Culture (Theory)

In this module you will explore the theoretical conceptualisations of film and television in the context of contemporary academic thought and popular discourse around the concept of digital culture. We will start from a point of questioning the multi-layered and contested effects of digital culture on film and television as discrete forms. You will consider the interrelationship and fusion between media in terms of production, distribution and exhibition examining the advent of new forms of representation and interaction. But we will also look at how traditional notion of film and television are being preserved and even being popular as a reaction to the effects of the digital. The module will also assess and interrogate the economic and technological developments of a more integrated and interactive media environment in terms of the cross-pollination of form and content, and socio-cultural effects on contemporary audiences.

Film & Television Industry Case Study (Theory/Practice)

In this module you will explore the industrial parameters of contemporary film and television based around the experience and expertise of current professionals. The module will utilise the School of Film & Television's many industry links to bring in guest speakers from the BBC, Channel 4, Sky, TwoFour Broadcast, Warp Films, Sheffield Doc Fest, Cornwall Film Festival, Doc Heads, BFI, Pinewood Studios, Dogbite and EngineHouse VFX. You will then have an opportunity to question these professionals about their respective sectors as a basis for a case study. Alternatively, you can investigate the sector/practitioner of your own choosing, with tutor support. The module will also contain workshops on the fundamentals of creative industry research and methodology. The module is designed so that you learn both the challenges and values of networking, and researching specific job roles and industry backgrounds in order to effectively plot your own career trajectory.

Creative Practices (Practice)

This module will engage you in the production workflow, focusing on how creative, professional and technical roles shape a final film or television project. Your weekly seminars and workshops will guide you through pre-production, production and post-production processes, enabling you to devise, develop and produce a short filmed project as part of a small crew of four to six students. You will, therefore, develop your technical skills and production practices in order to devise and deploy modes of creative practice which may include, but are not limited to, research and development, screenwriting, production management, producing, directing, cinematography, lighting, editing and the recording and design of sound.

Study block 2

Specialisms

The second semester gives you the opportunity to specialise, choosing from a ranging of theory, practice or combination modules. Assessment of combination modules is either through an academic essay or a practice project. Potential optional modules include:

  • Cultural Studies to Digital Sociology (Theory/Practice)
  • Screen Futures (Theory/Practice)
  • Globalisation in Film & Television (Theory/Practice)
  • Factual Film & Television (Theory/Practice)
  • Screenwriting for Film & Television (Theory/Practice)
  • Work Placement (Theory/Practice)

Study block 3

Expertise

Depending on your chosen specialism, in the third semester you'll produce either:

  • Dissertation (Theory)
  • Film & Production Portfolio (Theory/Practice)
  • Conceptual Project (Theory/Practice)

Facilities

The purpose-built Media Centre facilities include:

  • 116-seat cinema, with Christie M Series HD projection (as used in Vue cinemas) and 7.2 surround sound
  • Equipment store with a range of Blackmagic, Red, Panasonic, JVC, GoPro, Canon DSLR and C100 cameras and lenses, jibs, tracks and dollies
  • Digital production suites equipped with Final Draft (screenwriting), Movie Magic (production management) and a range of edit software, including Adobe Creative Cloud/Suite, Final Cut and AVID
  • Avid Unity MediaNetwork Edit server
  • Recording and sound edit studios equipped with Pro Tools audio editing and Foley traps
  • 14x8m TV studio with three studio cameras, full gallery facility, Chromatte grey screen, blue/green screen and full lighting rig
  • Centroid 3D (Pinewood-networked) Motion Capture studio/research lab
  • Virtual Studio using the latest technology
  • 23,500-title TV and film library

Experience you'll get

  • Highly flexible, student-focused curriculum
  • Mentoring with industry professionals
  • Opportunities for placement and work experience
  • Creative environment for collaboration
  • Using industry-standard software
  • A vibrant visiting speaker programme
  • Student experience-centred ethos

Assessment

  • Continuous assessment with no formal examinations
  • Core theory based on written assignments
  • Core practice assessed on visual project and accompanying portfolios
  • Elective modules all with theory/practice options
  • Dissertation and/or major project in final semester

Careers

  • Research, teaching or postgraduate study in art/humanities subject areas
  • All technical/creative roles linked with direction, production, cinematography, editing, sound, lighting; writing for the screen; film and television criticism; research for film and TV
  • Film and TV marketing, distribution and sales – digital and social media content/distribution
  • Film festival and arts curatorship – media-based project management