Master of Fine Arts Programme in Film
The two-year master’s programme in Film is an education offered in English that focuses on developing research methods and skills with moving images. The programme facilitates creative practices in film by exploring its connections to theory. In an environment facilitated through critical pedagogy students are invited to express their film practice in relation to the world: from historical connections to contemporary socio-political issues.
The Masters education initiates its research enquiry from the image. The subject of film in this programme is characterized by the image: the moving image’s historical reliance on technological innovations and the mastery of the medium. The programme encourages critical engagement; exploration of archives, experimentation with film grammar, innovation, and the power of images to activate people’s self-perception and perception of their world – these are the core areas that form the structure of the courses.
The courses are designed through a series of ‘intensives’; intensives are times allocated for seminars, workshop, exercises and peer-feedback sessions. Students will be expected to work towards visual assignments between each course intensive. The intensives explore different research methods which are framed by a conceptual proposition. Film practice and experimentation with film language form the core of each intensive. Students are required to present their own film work across the duration of the programme and to participate actively in peer-feedback sessions, using feedback models introduced in the programme. Students work towards a final film project in the second year of the programme. This project will be presented in a public context. A written component is also required for final completion of the programme. Students are asked to critically reflect on their artistic process in relation to their research enquiry and final project.
The research intensives create an active teaching-learning environment where practice is in direct relation to the research enquiry and conceptual propositions that frame the practice-based enquiry. Throughout the programme, students will be made to engage with the ethical-aesthetic implications of their image-making choices. Through lectures, seminars, practical and written exercises, students will develop and clarify their own research interests and expand their own artistic practice and preferred methods. A peer learning environment cultivates students’ ability to critically engage in feedback and dialogue to advance their understanding of images as a mode of enquiry. By participating in seminars and activities in our research environment, students have the opportunity to place their work in the context of artistic research and to develop practical knowledge.
Film is one of the subjects in the Unit of Film, Photography and Literary Composition. It is part of a larger department inclusive of Craft, Design and Fine Arts and offers the possibility for a dynamic interdisciplinary and artistic environment. Several of the programmes include the requirement to take elective programme courses. These courses aim to expand your knowledge in other artistic areas and provide opportunities to develop your skills and abilities. In the elective courses, you will meet students from other disciplines. You apply for the elective courses based on an annually decided course offering.
There are possibilities for study abroad experiences through existing exchange programes with the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf in Berlin, Germany and the Film and Television Department at The Wits School of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. We encourage and expect students to take advantage of the many opportunities provided and to actively participate in events organized in the Unit, including film festivals, public talks, exhibitions, and conferences.
Get to know teachers and other staff at the Film, Photography and Literary Composition Unit.
Programme structure and content
The programme is designed to encourage expressive possibilities in image-making and has a two-fold approach:
1) prioritizing the education experience by advancing research questions, methods, and theoretical propositions through a series of intensives conducted on focused topics or themes; and
2) supporting individually formulated enquiries. The first provides a foundation for the second, where you will develop an individually formulated research enquiry that progresses over the course of successive semesters and is transformed into performative filmic works. You will be required to engage with written texts, presentations, discussions of films screened, and to contribute actively to the educational environment of the programme.
We also encourage peer-learning through structured feedback and discussion sessions fostering a climate for critical thinking while constructively advancing your artistic development—an environment conducive for creativity and constructive engagement.