MA Social Impact Documentary Filmmaking




MA Social Impact Documentary Filmmaking


Course Summary

MA Social Impact Documentary Filmmaking leads on teaching the theory and practice of impact filmmaking, aimed at students with a commitment for political activism and social change, and a commitment to the documentary arts. This practice-led course provides students with the tools, resources and mentorship, to actively contribute to social transformation using film, media and technology. All phases of Documentary production are taught, to an advanced level, including: impact research strategies, producing, directing, camera operating, sound recording and editing.

Course Highlights

  • The course involves a high level of practical filmmaking elements, supported by modules on documentary research methods, effective strategy planning and financing productions.

  • Our tutors are industry professionals. This allows students to receive training of a high standard from tutors who are Industry professionals.

  • The course pairs students with experienced mentors from the documentary field, who act as advisors on the development of the major project.

  • The course involves a higher than normal proportion of scheduled contact hours to reflect the higher level of practical, professional skills taught on the programme.

  • Free access to equipment and facilities outside of class time

  • Students will be able to connect with our partners via their project, such as the Bertha Foundation, DocHouse and BritDoc.

  • Students pitch their major documentary projects to a panel of industry professionals at the end of the MA programme.


Graduates are open to a range of Documentary production routes and opportunities, such as: academic research, commissions from international NGOs, and factual broadcast work in the independent television sectors.

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Student Films

Course Structure

The programme is one year in duration over three terms of study.

Course Timeline

Term 1

Practice and theory blend in this term, teaching the practical, technical and aesthetic aspects of professional documentary filmmaking. Students will advance their critical, theoretical and practical insight skills in understanding the relationship between research methods and social impact filmmaking. Lectures and seminars will examine documentary form, traditions and conventions and best practices. Students will engage in short-form documentary filmmaking exercises through pre-production, production through to post- production, culminating in an advanced portfolio of work, which demonstrates their learning.

Term 2

Conventional filmmaking approaches that communicate impact are challenged through the exploration of emerging platforms, and alternative media technologies, such as VR and Interactive. By exploring alternative media channels, students will be challenged to interrogate and broaden their understanding of social impact media, producing interactive materials in the areas of political activism, social injustice, and environmental protest.

Term 3

Students have the option to focus on the production of a major documentary project, or, alternatively, present a substantial development package (Bible) for a feature length documentary film. Project proposals may take the form of a documentary series, a short form, high-impact project, or an interactive media output, such as VR or AR. A substantial body of independent research and impact strategy materials are required to inform the work.

Entry Requirements

  • You will need at least a 2.2 honours degree, in a relevant field, or equivalent industry experience

  • International students need IELTS 6.0 overall (no less than 5.5 in any band)or equivalent

  • Applicants for this course will be invited to attend an interview

  • All applicants must submit a visual portfolio with their application.This could include a short film or a show-reel (both a maximum of 10minutes in length)

Course Fees

Course Fee:
£9,500 (UK/EU)
£16,950 (International)

Duration: 1 year
Start date: October 2019

In addition to tuition fees, you will incur a further costs of £500 to cover the Graduation film.  You will also need Production hard drive for your work and travel expenses.  The School will cover Actors costs, shooting kit and Production costs for module exercises.

Merit Scholarship

Central Film School is pleased to reward academic excellence. We have a number of up to 50% merit scholarships for high-achieving students entering the following courses in 2018:

  • BA(Hons) Practical Filmmaking

  • BA(Hons) Screenwriting

  • MA Directing Fiction

  • MA Filmmaking

  • MA Sales and Distribution

  • MA VFX

No application for scholarship required. Students will be automatically considered for the merit scholarship upon receiving an offer for the above courses and will be notified by the admissions team if successful. Successful students will then have 28 days in order to pay a £3,000 advance tuition fee payment to secure the award. Limited availability- Scholarships issued on a first come, first served basis.  It should be noted that this discount applies to new students only and cannot be cumulated with any other the Central Film School scholarship.