This film making MA course will enable you to develop film production skills with digital 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 cinemas of Africa, Latin America, South East Asia and the Middle East.
You'll be encouraged to synthesise your personal experience, critical knowledge and craft skills to express yourself through moving pictures and be taught film making theory and practice together through practical workshops.
The course is informed by practice and research in neo-realist cinema, visual storytelling, participative documentary and underground cinema.
At the heart of the course is an emphasis on developing visual storytelling and vivid characters through script development.
You will be able to use high-definition 4K digital cinema cameras, DSLRs and Macs running Adobe Premier and Creative Cloud to apply classical and independent principles with contemporary technology. The course focuses on the collaborative nature of the film making process and sharing stories from communities outside the mainstream.
You'll be expected to complete 180 credits across five modules, including a film making dissertation.
You will study the basic principles of film making, 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.
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 organisational 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 non-fiction film making techniques at an intermediate level, drawing on classical and experimental modes of documentary practice to allow students to make a short non-fiction film in small groups.
Practical demonstrations in documentary film making techniques will be accompanied by a series of lectures/seminars on the evolution and ethical dimensions of documentary practice and contemporary modes of non-fiction film making.
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.
You will apply the skills developed in previous modules to plan and produce a substantial final film project, as a culmination of the masters programme. You will be expected to synthesise your 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. You 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.
The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.
We usually expect applicants to have:
We also carefully consider non-standard entrants with relevant personal and work experience who can demonstrate the interest, commitment and ability required to make their own films.
For your portfolio of work we would like to see short films or clips of longer works you have made (no longer than 10 minutes of a longer work). Please send this as a web link (remember to make sure that you send a password, or make the work publicly available for viewing).
Carefully select and edit your work to produce an exciting, creative and representative portfolio which informs us about your skills, interests and shows your current film making skills. It is necessary for us to know exactly what role you undertook in the making of these films, so at the end of your personal statement (link to Personal Statement section below) please include a list of your works and your role in their productions. We are also happy to look at photography work, and a limited set of website links pertaining to your work.
We would also like you to include a short video of yourself answering the following questions. Please do not read your answers from a script, we would like to see you speak spontaneously to camera.
Please also upload an additional personal statement which answers the following questions:
We normally invite applicants for an interview with the course director or another senior member of the teaching team. International students based overseas can arrange for an interview by email or telephone.
Applicants with prior qualifications and learning may be exempt from appropriate parts of a course in accordance with the University's policy for the assessment of prior learning and prior experiential learning. Contact the faculty office for further information.
You'll be assessed through film projects, production portfolios, screenplays and critical analysis essays.
When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy document and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.
Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.
At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.
Year 1: 31% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.
Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
Type of teaching and learning
Assessment typically comprises short films with accompanying critical analysis essays and screenplays, film projects, production portfolios, critical analysis essays, and presentations.
The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:
Type of assessment
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 35 students and lecture sizes are normally 35. However this can vary by academic year.
This course is delivered by Kingston School of Art. You'll be taught by members of staff who are practising film making and visual artists with extensive research, which keeps your learning cutting-edge.
Learning takes place in classroom-based seminars, tutorials and lectures, alongside site visits to museums, galleries, auction houses and other creative professional environments.
Our students are encouraged to engage closely with the diverse businesses that make London one of the most important centres for the creative industries. Our industry connections mean we provide unique study opportunities, such as:
Our excellent reputation means that industry leaders regularly visit our student shows to see the best of the new talent.
For this course you will be:
involved in processes of making as means of exploration, experimentation, and understanding your practice by using a diverse range of media and materials;
However, over and above this you may incur extra costs associated with your studies, which you will need to plan for.
You will need to purchase an external hard drive that can handle high definition video, with sufficient storage and is compatible with Kingston School of Art's editing environment. Please seek advice by email from tutors or technical staff before making your selection. You will need the drive by the second week of commencing the course - so plenty of opportunity to take advice.
In order to help you budget, the information below indicates what activities and materials are not covered by your tuition fees:
Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:
If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:
There is a wide range of facilities at our Penrhyn Road campus, where this course is based. You will have access to a modern environment with the latest equipment, including our specialist film and media labs, equipped with iMacs running software including the Adobe Creative Suite.
Students also have access to a film studio facility with backgrounds and green wall, as well as a fully equipped audio recording facility running Logic Pro and Pro Tools.
Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access a wealth of film-related resources, including:
There are always interesting activities taking place at Kingston and exciting opportunities to take advantage of.
Recent events include:
This film making MA will equip you for lifelong film making and learning. It prepares you with techniques to sustain a film making practice beyond university for:
The core skills will enable you to produce films in an independent, pragmatic and accountable manner. This will enhance your employability and begin the process of making you a genuinely independent film maker in command of your own material.
MA film making graduates have gone on to work in the film industry in roles such as:
Most recently, one of our graduates, Pablo Romero-Fresco, has published a book on Accessible Filmmaking, about filmmaking and translation for deaf, blind and in terms of language. He mentions the course in the acknowledgements. The Routledge publication has strong reviews from Ken Loach and Mike Dibb (director, Ways of Seeing). Pablo made his graduation film in Kiberia, Kenya about a girls' football school with classmates from the course.
Maiam Majid's 2019 graduation film A Night with Noor Jehan went on to win the LGBTQ category of the Leeds International Film Festival.
Graduates have also established themselves as independent filmmakers, exhibiting their films at the East End Film Festival, Tate Britain and have had projects commissioned by the Home Office, Tate, E4 and Film London.
They've also progressed on to do PhDs in film making in the department with projects including:
We have an international cohort of alumni, with graduates coming from: America, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Cyprus, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, the UK and Venezuela.
Don't just take our word for it – here's what students say about what it's like to study at Kingston University. A selection of Kingston University students spoke about the film making MA and what they gained from the course.
For me being a student at Kingston University was one of the best experiences that I have had so far in my academic careers.
The course provided me the fundamental knowledge in understanding storytelling in film making and how important the collaboration between students and also other people who are willing to create compelling stories through film making are.
What I really liked about the course was the help and support that we had throughout the year from our teachers, the atmosphere and enthusiasm for the success of your students. With that being said one of the best experiences was how we created amazingly strong relationships with other students that are from all over the world. Having that bond with other students helped me learn more in depth whether it was by asking for help but also giving my support and knowledge where it was needed or when it was asked and that made the entire experience unforgettable.
Kingston's film making MA is very practical. I learned so much about cinematography, lighting, directing and so on.
It gave me film knowledge and opportunities to make films and develop my own style.
I have to say Kingston provided us with very high-level film equipment.
The film writing module gave me time to write and rewrite my screenplay. A good script cannot be good without rewriting and rethinking.
I am currently on the film making MA and planning a PhD.
I am motivated by the idea that everyone should be represented in cinema. This belief guides both my theoretical enquiries and my whole approach to practice.
As a continuing student, I value Kingston's film department because I feel part of a genuine community of scholars and practitioners.
I can get support and ideas from anyone in the department, not just my supervisors. Everyone is a resource, with an eclectic and invigorating range of specialist expertise.