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MCH3084 : Film Practice Project

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Geetha Jayaraman
  • Lecturer: Dr Raisa Sidenova, Mr Simon Rushton, Dr Alastair Cole, Dr Ian McDonald
  • Technician: Mr James Davoll
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 30
ECTS Credits: 20.0


This module will explore the concept of practice-based research and enable students to engage in a form of documentary film of their own choosing. The output will be in the form of an audio-visual piece / film (length 10-20 mins) accompanied by a written production critique. The ambition is to equip students to produce short films that are of sufficient technical and aesthetic quality to be submitted for exhibition at local and regional film festivals.

Building on experience from Levels 4 and 5, students have the opportunity to concentrate on the more advanced image-making capabilities of the filmmaking tool kit and will encourage audio-visual risk taking. Students will be encouraged to engage with the management of more substantial and sophisticated productions.

This module aims to:
-       Enable students to obtain a comprehensive understanding of research techniques applicable to their own work in terms of both written, research-based and practice-based outputs.

-       Develop practice-based abilities both in technical and in terms of production roles for documentary making, which will be in line with professional production standards.

-       Enable students to demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and to act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level

-       Enable students to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively and communicate clearly through their research to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

-       Enable students to work in groups and employ initiative, personal responsibility and decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations.

-       Enable students to reach a standard where they are suitable to undertake high level and/or undertake work in documentary production to a high standard.

Outline Of Syllabus

This syllabus is divided into three sections, which are developmental. The first section will reflect on the notion of the reflective practitioner, where students approach filmmaking as a practice-based form of research. The process of writing about filmmaking as a critical and creative reflective practice begins with students submitting their film project proposal. Students will also be expected to pitch their project to a panel of tutors who will then decide which of the films will be ‘commissioned’. Students will then form production crews to work on the selected project. The proposals are formally assessed (10%) at the end of semester 1.

The second section is the main period of independent study and production work with students working in their crews to shoot and edit their footage. The film will be worth 70% of the total marks.

The third section involves the students individually reflecting on their work and writing up their production critique (20%).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1100:00100:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyProject work1217:00217:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity125:0025:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study119:0019:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision51:005:00Dissertation supervision
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

At the end of the first part of the module with the completion of a film project proposal and pitch, students will confirm their production crews, and if their project is accepted, the project will have a supervisor attached to it. This supervisor will at various times in semester one meet with the students both formally and informally to provide support, advice and specialist research and practice-based knowledge. At the same time in the first semester, practical information about accessing information and its management, making contact with those involved in the research fieldwork and production skills will be delivered through formal lectures, practical sessions and group learning. Each session adopts the most appropriate format to address the particular needs of the groups. As the student groups progress in their production and post-production phases of their practice, more informal supervision support becomes predominant.

Students will be placed in a crew of not less than 3 but not more than 5. For a three person crew, they will be entitled to 10 hours of supervision, four 12.5 hours and five 15 hours. This is to cover the economies of scale of different possible crew make ups, and to recognize the different in one on one, or group supervision sessions. Also to acknowledge that over the course of the project, there will be different supervision required, with some group crew session, and some individual. The sessions will involve the reading and feedback of work-in progress, assemblies and cuts, as well as draft of the production critique.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1A101500 words. Preparation of film project proposal during semester 1.
Design/Creative proj2A7010-20 minute film
Written exercise2A203000 words. Production critique at the end of semester 2
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The rationale for the assessments is to enable the students to demonstrate their intellectual grasp of non-fiction film production and aesthetics and to illustrate this through a film project - a 10-20 minute film (or equivalent). Given the emphasis on practice, the production of the finished film forms the major part of the assessment, but the film project proposal and the reflective production critique provides the students an opportunity to articulate the theoretical and methodical considerations that informed their practice.

Reading Lists