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Filmmaking

BA (Hons)
Filmmaking
UCAS PW32
3 years (full-time)

This practice-based course gives you the creative freedom to develop your voice through the dynamic language of film. Our students specialise in original ideas and stories from unique perspectives, their work screening in international venues and winning awards at key industry events including the Royal Television Society and BFI Future Film Festival awards. If you have a passion and curiosity for the medium of film and want to make, create and innovate, this course will help you expand and develop your creativity, criticality and professionalism as a skilled, resourceful and ambitious filmmaker.

Special Features

Tutors

  • Teaching staff are practising industry professionals making feature films for cinema release, artist films for international art galleries, and running their own production companies.

Network

  • We host regular programmes of film screenings, talks and masterclasses from film professionals. Last year these included Academy Award-winning editor/sound designer Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient), cinematographer/camera op Rachel Clark  (Fantastic Beasts, American Honey), feature director Deborah Haywood (Pincushion), artist-filmmaker Andrew Kotting (Gallivant, Lek and the Dogs) and photographer Martin Parr. 

Facilities

  • Students work with high-end equipment from our purpose-built kit store and from our industry-standard edit suites all within the bustling School of Art.

External Opportunities

  • You will have the opportunity to undertake an assessed work placement as part of your second-year study.  We host and support a number of externally-facing opportunities each year, allowing students to hone their skills in a professional environment and expand their networks. We have a partnership with Manchester’s leading Art House Cinema HOME where third-year students have been invited to programme their own film festival for a public audience each year.

Showcase

  • We know the importance of showing work to a public audience, and have several external facing showcases throughout the three years. Previously these have included BAFTA-recognised Aesthetica Film Festival, Unit X showcases across the city of Manchester and the School of Art Degree Show.

International Visits

  • Each year students have the opportunity to attend an International Film Festival.  In recent years we have attended Berlin International Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam. You can also study for part of your degree abroad at one of the University exchange programme’s 150 partner institutions

Course Content

We believe the best way to learn is to create.

Over the course you will explore key specialisms including directing, editing, cinematography, writing, sound and producing, making work collaboratively and independently in a creatively challenging but supportive teaching and learning environment.

You will explore and identify themes, stories and structures through ongoing film practice, with an emphasis on experimentation, imagination and innovation.  Your practice will be supported and informed through ongoing and rigorous engagement with theoretical and historical contexts, critically underpinning your work and allowing you to expand your ideas through the histories and practices of the exciting world of film. 

Professionalising practice is a key ethos, supporting your ambitions and expanding your employment opportunities, augmented by a regular programme of external speakers and masterclasses from the film, art and media world.

Year 1

In the first year, students are introduced to the language, craft and art of film through experimentation, research and skills development across a variety filmmaking forms. Working collaboratively there is an appreciation of the multidisciplinary aspects of filmmaking through factual, fiction and artist film.

Watch a selection of first-year films here.

Unit X

At Level 4, this unit encourages some collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. There are lectures and talks from key research staff, students and external experts. Teaching will be in the form of tutorial groups, weekly meetings and presentations. The set projects will vary from year to year and are designed to be responsive to current creative opportunities. 

Film Art

You are introduced to the building blocks of creative filmmaking practice through a range of techniques and an awareness of the moving image in an art and design context. In this unit you encounter key approaches towards documentary and artists film modes, in which the real world provides subject matter, content and meaning. The unit encompasses critical investigation into form, authorship, style, storytelling, and issues of observation, towards production of a film using documentary or artists documentary methodologies and a relationship to montage principles.

Film Storytelling

You are introduced to different forms of film storytelling and narratives in the area of screen drama, through the development of ideas to script and then realised in a creative collaborative practice to make a film. Film practices include directing, storyboarding, scriptwriting, cinematography, editing and sound design.

Contextualising Practice with Language 1

You are allocated to one of five pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. Lectures, seminars, guest speakers and visits will address the historical, critical and cultural contexts of art and design practice. The 15 credit option is taken when you opt to do a 15 credit Uniwide languages unit as well (mmu.ac.uk/uniwide).

Contextualising Practice 1

30 credit unit. You are allocated to one of five pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. Lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits will address the historical, critical and cultural contexts of art and design practice.

Year 2

The second year is a journey of exploration as students identify themes, structures and pathways to find their voice, define their practice and develop specialisms more fully as filmmakers.  This allows for a discovery of strengths towards specialist roles of director, editor, cinematographer, sound design and producer as individual pathways, and towards modes of practice such as working in drama, artists’ moving image and documentary.

Watch a selection of second-year films here.

Narrative

In this unit you will explore cinematic narrative structures: their forms, their purposes and the meanings they create within the wider context of film language. You will investigate narrative structure in film leading to the generation and development of ideas and creation of a short film centred on narrative techniques and strategies. During the unit you will select to specialise and focus on either screen drama, documentary or artists' moving image and will be provided with a pathway through the unit that interrogates your specific area of practice in terms of narrative techniques, strategies and creative choices. 

Unit X

This unit explores collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice.  You will have the opportunity to engage in a range of external-facing learning opportunities which will encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience; this may take the form of spending time outside of the University and working within the creative community and the public domain.

Exploration

In this unit you will explore a personal perspective through filmmaking in order to make a negotiated duration film in either screen drama, factual or artist moving image filmmaking.

Contextualising Practice 2

Delivery of critical, historical and professional issues to enhance your development within practice-based clusters. Delivery to clusters of cognate practice areas. Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas plus cluster-wide professional and employability issues, facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner.

Contextualising Practice with Language 2

Delivery of critical and historical issues to enhance the student's development within practice-based clusters.  Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner. Modes of delivery include lectures, seminars, tutorials, guest speakers, visits and placements.

Year 3

In the final year, students develop their creative, contextual and craft skills to a professional standard in documentary, screen drama, artists’ moving image or new media. These elements are then fostered to make their final degree film in preparation for the world of work and/or further study. Third-year students form their own production company to help support their ambitions for their graduation films, exhibitions and screenings, including a showcase screening programme at HOME cinema and degree show exhibition in Manchester School of Art’s Holden Gallery.

Watch a selection of third-year films here.

Research and Development

This unit focuses you on a period of research to ensure the elements of your film are carefully designed and planned before production. The nature of your research will be linked to the area you choose to focus on.  The genres of documentary, screen drama, and artist film each vary in approach and possess their own distinctive developmental processes.  A series of tutorials will guide you through the early stages of your study and you will establish a methodology around a theme (in many cases guided by a script). You will identify specific roles and strengthen craft skills through a series of self-initiated testing, idea exploration and content development. The detail and depth of your research will have a direct impact on the quality of your finished film. Working both on your own and collaboratively, the research will be practice-based though it will also engage in theoretical approaches, critique and philosophical engagement.

Minor Film

You will make a film in a specific area of filmmaking practice such as documentary, screen drama or experimental filmmaking. You will draw upon work undertaken during the research and development unit where ideas, genre, visual style, theme and plot are investigated and tested, processes and a methodology established. You will undertake filmmaking practice through pre-production, production and post-production. There will be an emphasis on independent study, management and organisation of film productions. You will address your film craft, in particular your attitude towards the quality of your outcomes. You will be expected to support other students on the course through collaborative assistance or work independently as artist filmmakers.

Major Film

This unit will concentrate on the creation of a film drawing upon work undertaken during the research and development unit where ideas, genre, visual style, theme and plot are investigated and tested. You will undertake filmmaking practice through pre-production, production and post-production. There will be an emphasis on independent study, management and organisation of film productions. You will address your film craft, in particular their attitude towards the quality of their outcomes. You will be expected to support each other through collaborative assistance.

Contextualising Practice with a Language 3

Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a your individual practice interests. A negotiated project focused around an individually defined area appropriate to your aims and ambitions.

Unit X

On the third year Unit X, there is a student authored final project leading to a showcase of finished work. The unit includes a brief generated by the student, which leads to the presentation of a significant body of final work. Collaborative and interdisciplinary work can be incorporated into the project in relation to the professional context and ambition of the student.

Contextualising Practice 3

Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a student's individual practice interests.

Placements

There is an opportunity to undertake an assessed work placement as part of your second-year study.  Additionally, all students are encouraged and supported to form external partnerships and engage in work experience as part of their Professional Experience activities, assessed as part of the Contextualising Practice Unit.

Assessment Methods

End of unit assessment and final work exhibition at the annual Degree Show.

Assessment Weightings & Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A three year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be—

Study
  • Year 1 25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
  • Year 2 35% lectures, seminars or similar; 65% independent study
  • Year 3 30% lectures, seminars or similar; 70% independent study
Assessment
  • Year 1 100% coursework
  • Year 2 100% coursework
  • Year 3 100% coursework

You can find further details about the curriculum for the current academic year in the Programme Specification Document

Course News

Fascinating industry-focused events in lead up to SODA opening in 2021

A Deal With The Universe can be seen in cinemas across the country

Prizes won in Drama, Camera and Production Design at RTS North West Student Awards

Students nominated in Animation, Production Design, Drama and Camera categories

A selection of films made by students in each year of the course.

Watch more films on our Vimeo channel


MSA Productions

Staff


Graduates

Our graduates are industry recognised for their creative ingenuity, problem-solving skills and ability to see the world differently; many go on to be industry leaders in their own right. 

Recent graduates have gone on to be founders of independent production companies and editing companies, and successful freelance practitioners specialising as directors, editors, cinematographers, sound designers, producers, scriptwriters, production designers, visual artists and documentary filmmakers at film and media companies including Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures, ITV, BBC, Netflix, Heyday Films, British Council Film, Channel 4, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Walt Disney Studios,  Equinox TV, Mob Films, The Gate, Vice, Media Dog, Calumet, 24-7 Drama.

Making an Application

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

If you meet our criteria we will invite you to an Interview and ask you to show us a Portfolio of your work.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required

112 at A2 or equivalent (which can include Foundation Diploma in Art & Design). A Level General Studies is not accepted.

Learn more about MMU's Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

112 UCAS Tariff Points from Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with at least 45 credits at Level 3

International Baccalaureate26 Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with no element below 5.5 is required.

If you are based outside the UK and are unable to attend an interview, you will be asked to provide a digital portfolio.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of experience do I need to study on the course?

The course is open to people from all creative backgrounds. You may only just have discovered filmmaking to be the right medium for you, but perhaps have the ambition and ideas to make a great film. Or you may be more experienced looking to develop your film practice in a different direction. There is no specific requirement of experience. Come with an open mind, an attitude embracing mistakes and with an energy to learn and meet lots of new people to start your creative journey with us!

Do I need a specialisation?

You are not required to have a specialisation before you come to study, as we put emphasis on harnessing your creativity which may take its expression in different roles, forms and styles.

What are you looking for at the interview?

During the interview, we are looking for evidence of engagement with filmmaking practice and will ask you questions about your motivation for wanting to undertake our filmmaking degree. You should come prepared with examples to talk about from your college or sixth-form work as well as other creative projects that you have undertaken in your own time.

What work should be in my portfolio?

Include samples of film work of up to 5 minutes in length which demonstrates your visual storytelling and creative abilities.

Tuition Fees 2020 Entry

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £16,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

See Money Matters for further information and advice.

Additional Costs

Specialist Costs

£90*  plus optional £1180* Students often choose to buy a laptop in their first year however there are PCs and Mac desktops on campus. There are editing suites open Monday-Friday and a number of Macs in the library that can be used for editing 7 days a week. It is recommended that all students have their own external hard drives and are responsible for managing their files.

Trips and Placement Costs

Optional £900* There are a number of field trips open to each cohort, these include national and international field trips.

Professional Costs

Optional £150* We recommend filmmaking students to set up their own vimeo channels and subscribe to relevant forums. A DBS check may be required for some locations.

Other Costs

Optional £600* Some students choose to go on international exchanges (worldwide) or Erasmus. This would involve flight costs/travel/subsistence and an application for grants. Filmmakers can also require additional costs particularly for their graduation films or if they choose to work with specific material or analogue formats (film and process costs). We encourage students to develop crowdfunding platforms. where feasible. Third year students are encouraged to develop their online portfolios with a website also.

* All amounts shown are estimates.