MA/MFA in Film Directing is a project-led, practice-based course specialising in documentary. It integrates analysis of contemporary film practice with practical filmmaking. Students choose to make a creative documentary or a “hybrid” film, which defies genre definition and pushes the boundaries of narrative. Workshops and tutorials help them explore and challenge their approaches to find an original voice. Students form part of a film community that fosters an important exchange of ideas, with inspiration from international visiting directors through Scottish Documentary Institute (the University’s internationally-acclaimed research centre) and support from our team of documentary practitioners. As part of the Screen Academy Scotland, a Creative Skillset Film Academy, students get mentorship within the industry. All tutors are leading professionals and we aim to foster filmmakers able to work and compete internationally. Many students already work in the industry but come to find a re-invigorated approach.
Practical courses in camera, sound and editing form part of the programme structure, although we do expect a basic level in these disciplines. Learning how to rely on ones’ own skills as well as how to collaborate effectively and communicate well are all vital parts of the programme. We attract many speakers and workshops led by industry professionals and also collaborate with broadcasters and institutions on commissions and placements. In addition, there are mentoring opportunities through the professional bodies associated with the programme.
Graduate films regularly win awards at international festivals and BAFTA’s and RTS’s. Over the last five years students have received an Oscar nomination for an MA film and an Oscar shortlist for a film made by a graduate.
Programme director Emma Davie is a documentary maker whose last film, “I am Breathing” (co-directed with Morag McKinnon) won Best Director at the Scottish BAFTA’s and travelled to many countries. She is currently co-directing a feature “ Becoming Animal” with Swiss director Peter Mettler.
She has made documentaries for BBC, Channel 4 and others and her background in experimental theatre gave her a love of collaborative, explorative approaches to film. She’s taught and lectured internationally with Docedge Kolkata, IDFA, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, European Film College, Discovery Campus, East European Forum, Docs Barcelona, and many others and used to programme documentaries for Edinburgh International Film Festival.
This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills quality mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries