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MCH1039 : Introduction to the Film Industry

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Simon Rushton
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1) Introduction to the structure and organization of the institutional and industrial contexts in which documentary is produced, distributed and exhibited in mainstream, independent, alternative contexts

2) Introduction to the historical emergence and development of the industrial, institutional and independent contexts in which documentary is produced, distributed and exhibited

3) Introduction to the ways in which audiences consume documentary both in historical and contemporary contexts from mainstream to alternative practices

There will be an emphasis on research including primary research tasks involving film production work. Students will be expected to identify and interview practitioners working in a variety of institutional and industrial contexts and present this as part of their portfolio of assessed work.

Outline Of Syllabus

-       structure and organization of the dominant film industry and alternatives to it
-       the production, distribution and exhibition of documentary from mainstream to alternative practices
-       key processes, timelines, personnel, budgets, funding, marketing, dissemination
-       sources of support for development of projects for mainstream and alternative documentary projects: screen agencies, NGOs, other forms of sponsorship
-       historical emergence and development of different industrial and institutional contexts: corporate, governmental, theatrical, broadcast, independent, alternative, gallery, academic (anthropological)
-       the importance and place of the independent film sectors in relation to the dominant film industry
-       the role of film societies and film festivals in developing film cultures
-       a critique of the historical development of a dominant film industry and of the corresponding infrastructure of film viewing in cinemas

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00Concepts, theoretical underpinnings and historical contextualisations
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading138:0038:00Further project work and readings
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching122:0024:00Project work and reading based discussions
Guided Independent StudyProject work154:0054:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars that set out the contemporary and historical context for the development of the dominant film industry and its alternatives in relation to documentary film practices. There is a combination of illustrated lectures to outline key themes, and reading-based discussion in seminars with case studies to consolidate knowledge and understanding. A visit to a specialist film research library (The BFI Reuben Library) may be organized and selected visiting speakers from the university may be invited to share their experiences of working in different industrial and institutional contexts on documentary projects.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M30Written case study - 750 words
Case study2M20Audio visual content as research
Essay2M501500 word essay in response to a series of essay questions
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The rationale for the assessments is to provide students with a diversity of assessment opportunities to demonstrate and consolidate their knowledge and understanding of the module Aims. The case studies will enable students to generate research and also to present their findings using a different register to that of the final essay (Case Study 1). Students will be able to demonstrate their intellectual grasp of the term ‘film industry’ and how this can be variously interpreted through their direct engagement with practitioners and companies.

Reading Lists