MFA Advanced Film Practice

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This one-year course gives you the chance to focus on your creative and professional development as a screenwriter, producer or filmmaker.

Degree: Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Advanced Film Practice
Mode of Study:  Blended. Flexible. You can choose to study in Edinburgh. Or take this programme online. Or a mix of both. This will be discussed at the interview.
Duration: 1 year (September start)
Application deadline July 31st
Please contact the Course Leader by email in the first instance:

Location: Screen Academy Scotland, Merchiston Campus EH10 4NU
Are you an International student?


This course is ideal for talented writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, sound designers or editors looking to take their careers to the next level. The MFA Advanced Film Practice provides a space to focus on your personal, creative and professional development. 

The MFA is designed as an additional year of study on top of a Masters Degree. It might also appeal to talented individuals without a post-graduate degree but with an equivalent body of creative work and/or industry experience. 

As part of your application, you will propose a project which will be the focus of your MFA studies. Screenwriters might wish to develop a screenplay or TV pilot and bible ready to send to producers, broadcasters and agents. A director might develop a project ahead of a funding application. Or focus on a specific area of their craft – working with actors, camera or sound. A producer might develop a single project in preparation for a funding application or as a ready-to-go low budget feature. Or work on a slate of projects. Cinematographers, sound designers and editors can work on aspects their craft, seek out work experience, and emerge with a professional CV and showreel. 

MFA students will work individually on a series of exercises and on a project. Nevertheless, there is the opportunity to collaborate with fellow students on Napier’s postgraduate programmes – MA Screenwriting, MA Film and the Kino Eyes International Masters in Film. At Napier, you can also access students studying music, photography, graphic design and other subjects within our School of Arts and Creative Industries (SACI). 

In 2021, Edinburgh Napier University was named as the top university for Film Production and Photography in the UK: 1st out of 67 in The Guardian University Guide 2021. 

Screen Academy Scotland is Quality-Assured by ScreenSkills, the UK’s industry-led skills body for the creative industries. We are home to two mature and well-established postgraduate courses, the MA Screenwriting and MA Film, both accredited by ScreenSkills. We are a partner in Kino Eyes, a two-year international Masters in Film, supported by Erasmus Plus and delivered in partnership with film schools in three other dynamic capital cities – Lisbon, Tallinn and Dublin. We are the lead partner in the Screen NETS Industry Training programme, funded by Screen Scotland, and which has developed the careers of hundreds of new entrants to the film and television industries in Scotland. 

Course details

The MFA is taught over three trimesters, starting in September. 

In the first and second of these, you will focus on research into your idea and into the professional context for your work in the PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE module (60 credits). We will agree on a set of exercises and tasks to help develop craft skills, professional contacts and industry knowledge relating to the area in which you wish to work. These exercises are gathered into a portfolio for assessment. 

In the final trimester, you will apply these ideas, skills, contacts, connections and confidence to the development of your final project in the PROJECT DEVELOPMENT module (60 credits). You will get feedback on your final project from Napier staff and from an industry professional working in your area. 

Students will work with Programme Leader James Mavor and other key staff at Edinburgh Napier. 

In addition, each student will have access to a pool of industry mentors, building on contacts and connections with industry developed over the 15 years since the launch of Screen Academy Scotland. A number of former MFA students, now working professionally, may be available as mentors. 

Subject to availability, you will also have access to a range of classes, master classes and workshops across the range of postgraduate programmes at the Screen Academy Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University. 

This programme focuses on development, not production. That said, students will have access to the production and post-production facilities and resources at Edinburgh Napier University, subject to availability. 

Subjects include

·       Professional Practice – personal and project research, industry context, professional development.

·       Project Development – preparation, feedback, reworking and final presentation.


This course is intended as a ‘step-up’ for mature individuals with a clear focus on a professional career in the film, television and broader creative industries. You will meet and work with industry practitioners, gain experience and build the confidence, contacts and networks that will help form the basis of a future career.

For international applicants, entry onto this course will require a Student Visa. This allows students to work during their studies. On graduation, students can apply for a post-study work visa which allows them to work in the UK for up to two years after graduation. 

The MFA is recognised as a teaching qualification in certain countries, including the USA.

Our Graduates

Previous MFA graduates have achieved international success as filmmakers and in academia. 

Ben Sharrock and Irune Gurtubai (MFA 2014) met on our MA Film programme and have made two feature films together as writer/director and producer. Pikadero screened in over 40 international film festivals and won the Michael Powell Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2016. Limbo (2020) was in the official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, won the Best Film prize at the Cairo Film Festival, and will have its UK launch on MUBI. 

Arturo Delgado Pereira (MFA 2010) is the Professor of Film Practice at Aalto University in Helsinki. and an accomplished documentary film-maker working in the hybrid area between fact and fiction. 

His first documentary feature Pablo’s Winter (2012) evolved from his MFA project. Donkeyote (2017) has its premiere in Rotterdam and went on to win several prizes at international film festivals including EIFF, Documenta Madrid and Docs MX (Mexico). His latest project is a series of short films about love for Netflix. 

Robin Haig (MFA 2015) is a drama director working regularly on BBC Scotland’s continuing drama series River City. Her MFA short film project Hula won the Bafta Scotland New Talent Award and was followed up by Slingshot, written in collaboration with fellow Napier students, and funded by the Scottish Film Talent Network and BFI. She lives in the Highlands and is also an active member of the Young Crofter movement. 

MFA graduate Alex Nevill (MFA 2013) is a lecturer at the University of Nottingham and associate editor of Screenworks, an online Journal of practice research in screen media. Andreas Antonopolous (MFA 2013) works as an editor and is a lecturer at the University of the West Indies. 

Juri Krutii (MFA 2018) wrote and directed Eudaimonia (2018) which screened at Glasgow and Underwire short film festivals. An experienced 1st AD, Juri has returned to his native Estonia to set up a new production company with friends and colleagues from Edinburgh Napier. 

Apply online using Edinburgh Napier application form and upload the following material:

Please apply using the Napier application link above. You will be asked to supply the following information: 
  • A professional CV or bio outlining your previous education, work history, credits and any other experience.  
  • Examples of your work – scripts, links, showreels. 
  • A personal statement outlining why you want to study this MFA and how you hope it will help you step up in your professional career in film, television or digital media.
  • A proposal outlining the project that you want to develop on the MFA. 


Teaching Staff
James Mavor – Programme Leader – bio page
Visiting Lecturers at Screen Academy Scotland

Please feel free to look at our FILM Archive and Graduate Profiles