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Film Making MA

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2016
Part time 2 years September 2016

Choose Kingston's Film Making MA

This course will enable you to develop film production skills with both digital and analogue equipment, as well as knowledge of the theories of contemporary cinema. The focus is placed firmly on developing clear and simple storytelling techniques that go beyond arbitrary formal categorisations of drama, documentary or genre. The course takes its inspiration from forms of cultural production that have challenged conformity, including the work of artists, musicians, painters and performers, and the movements of Italian neo-realism and the developing cinemas of Africa, Latin America, South Korea and Iran.

Find out more about this course:

Key features

  • This course encourages you to synthesise your personal experience, critical knowledge and craft skills to express yourself through moving pictures.
  • Your studies will be split broadly into 75 per cent practice and 25 per cent theory.
  • As well as the personal tutor scheme, we also run a pioneering peer-mentoring scheme in which recent MA graduates provide one-to-one assistance in the use of equipment and software.
  • Staff on this course are practising filmmakers.
  • The course is informed by practice and research in black music and cinema, neo-realist cinema, experimental filmmaking, performance and dance, storytelling, participative documentary and ghetto cinema.

What will you study?

You will study the basic principles of filmmaking, develop an understanding of the nature and potential of visual storytelling, and discover the importance of sound, lighting and the screenplay. You will also gain a sound knowledge of theories and ideas that can help in the interpretation of your own work and that of other filmmakers. You will produce a portfolio of moving-image projects to illustrate your technical ability in cinematography, sound recording, editing and writing/direction.

You will be able to use high-definition digital video camcorders, DSLRs and Macs running Final Cut Pro and Adobe Creative Cloud to apply classical and independent principles with contemporary technology; 8mm, super8 and 16mm film cameras are also available to explore analogue forms of filmmaking (students who wish to use our analogue cameras will have to cover their own stock and processing costs).


Film production projects, critical journal, essays, and seminar presentations.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • Film Making 1 introduces the basic principles of film making through the three phases of pre-production, production; and post-production. It is particularly aimed at students who have a high level of visual literacy but limited practical film making experience. The module utilises the tools of digital film making technology. These tools have operating systems that are broadly similar to the wide range of communication devices most students are already familiar with and this similarity is used to ease them into becoming comfortable with equipment.  Links are then identified with the classical techniques of film making that have remained consistent across the analogue and digital periods. In pre-production clarity and simplicity of describing action are fostered to communicate complex ideas with a production team. In production, focus and attention to technical detail provide quality raw material. During post-production organizational and mixing skills are developed in order to refine the raw material during the crucial editing phases. 

  • This module will build on the experience gained in the modules in teaching block 1 and provide instruction in motion picture directorial techniques at an intermediate level, drawing on classical and experimental modes of film making practice. In addition to directing their own short fiction or non-fiction film, students will also produce an unassessed group drama in which all students will have the opportunity to perform – drawing on the principles of neo-realism and its use of non-professional actors - and direct.

    Workshops will focus on the form of film directing; the relationship between director and actors; director and crew; director and script; directing as a continuation of the writing process; dramatic and comedic timing; the balancing of dramatic technique with realist and documentary influences, as well as close-readings and analyses of the work of practitioners including Alan Clarke, Alan Parker, Shane Meadows, Douglas Sirk and Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

    Practical demonstrations in directing technique will be accompanied by a series of lectures/seminars on directing history and contemporary practice. 

  • This module places a direct focus upon light weight, mobile production techniques, underlining the relation between technology/budget and aesthetics. The central principle is the inherent nature of film making as a collaborative art form, providing an opportunity for the genuine expression of individual ideas and a forum for the development of unique voices.
    Students will apply the skills developed in previous modules to plan and produce a substantial final film project, as a culmination of the Masters programme. They will be expected to synthesise their critical viewing experience, technical aptitudes, and critical faculties in writing, filming and editing to produce a film of broadcast quality. Support will be provided through production and practical problem-solving workshops, intensive editing classes. Students will be encouraged to critical reflect and self-evaluate their progress throughout the project.

  • This module foregrounds the critical importance of a clear understanding of the specific nature of writing for moving image productions. It develops an appreciation of the craft and art of presenting factual and fictional stories in a genuinely cinematic style and develops a facility in the technique of producing original and adapted screenplays. By analysing the historical development of the form an awareness of the principles of screen writing is introduced and then developed through a series of intensive group-based and individual exercises in seminars and supporting workshops. Students are taken through the various forms of screenwriting - the draft screenplay, the treatment, the step-outline, the synopsis, the script, the shooting script, the schedule and the pitch in a series of practical exercises that culminate in the submission and presentation of an original screenplay or documentary script.


    This module enables students to communicate their visual and aural ideas in a coherent manner using technology to design, capture and display sound and cinematography.

    As filmmakers we produce meaning for the viewer by creating a blend of images and sounds, which generate emotional and intellectual responses.  Clarity of communication and transmission of meaning are the two greatest challenges facing any filmmaker.  Through combining cinematography, sound, and editing we will explore the technical and historical processes that enable us to explore and produce images that viewers can perceive and understand.

    Vision – Cinematography

    We will explore the theory and practice of motion picture photography.  The term Photography is used in the most comprehensive sense to include the principles of stills photography, cinematography (moving images captured on film) and videography (moving images recorded electronically and stored on hard or soft ware of various forms including tape, memory cards, and drives).  As a result the module provides a grounding in the principles which inform the range of techniques applied in recording images of the actions and events that take place in the world and encourages students to learn through their own practice and experimentation supported by modular tutors.

    Sound – Sound Recording & Design

    We will provide practical instruction in the use of sound technology.  It will encourage the application of knowledge and experience to the production of a film sound design. This will be done by foregrounding the development of skills in using sound to tell stories and create atmosphere. The module will also explore the use of music and of sound design both practically and creatively.

     It is also our intention to spend time simply listening.  We wish to reflect on soundscapes, found sound, chance encounters with sound; as well as developing the ability to conceptualize sound for our work as film makers, from script to distribution, making the visual and aural interpretations of our sound world a much richer experience.  We will work intensely on Film Sound Design and by the end of this part of the module all participants will have a greater knowledge both theoretical and practical of the things that go bump in the night.


All modules are core.

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

For further information

Postgraduate admissions administrator
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 2361
Email us


This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps

For further information

Postgraduate admissions administrator
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 2361
Email us


This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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