Master's Programme in Film and Television - Film Directing
Language of instruction:
Field of study:
Master’s program in Film and Television, major in Film Directing in Elo Film school Finland strengthens the student’s capacity to generate and develop cinematic ideas, storybuilding and narration skills in addition to developing the director’s personal cinematic style and directorial identity.
Master’s studies in Film Directing deepen the student’s visual and dramaturgical abilities, provides competence in production and directing actors as well as enforces the student’s ability to lead a creative process in collaboration with other artistic leads. The goal of the education is to provide the necessary skills to direct a feature-length film and a fiction TV -series.
Language of instruction
The language of instruction in the Master’s Program is mainly Finnish. However, part of the courses can be taught in English. The degree can also be completed in English.
A student who graduates from master’s studies in Film directing is able to direct a feature-length film and fiction TV-series. Film directors work mostly as freelancer directors in domestic film production companies, in television production companies and at Yleisradio (Finnish Broadcasting Company) as television drama and radio play directors. They can also work in commercial film and video productions and non-fiction productions, and as instructors in the field at universities of applied science and media institutions.
The student has the opportunity to complete an internship in the master’s phase, either in a film and/or television production.
The studies include regular meetings with professionals in the field (production advisors, film commissioners, producers) and the students participate in the activities of SELO ry, the Association of Finnish Film Directors.
In master’s studies in the major in Film Directing, the student develops his/her artistic thinking and cinematic vision.
The studies consist of joint compulsory content for all majors in Film, which develop the student’s skills in research and working life, and of specific study modules only for majors in Film Directing. These courses comprise thematic study modules with changing content and are a combination of theory, individual research and practical workshops. Some of these modules concentrate on working with actors for better understanding the different acting and directing methods. Other modules are laboratories built around a single central theme and realized in conjunction with one or more other majors within Elo. The courses jointly organized by the Theater Academy are also part of the major in Film directing. And each directing student graduates with a Master’s Thesis combining both artistic and research elements.
During the master’s courses, the student challenges his/her artistic thinking, studies the conventions and new forms of film and TV drama, their dramaturgical structure and examines the starting points of his/her personal artistic work in more detail. The studies enforce the director’s role and defines the responsibilities during the whole production line. According to the study plan drawn up in the personal study plan discussion, the student additionally deepens his/her competence in scriptwriting, visual narration or sound narration. As part of these elective studies, the student can also apply for some existing module of minor studies open to MA students.
Studies in the master's programme include departments joint courses (30 ECTS) which are obligatory. These courses deal with entrepreneurial and working life skills, analytical skills, and provide research skills.
During master’s studies, the student learns to understand the importance of resourcing when planning and realizing a film and becomes familiar with the professional field of film and television (production companies, financing and distribution).
For further details on the education content, see the study guide for the academic years 2018-2020
The student takes part in international studies offered by the department. The student has the chance to complete a student exchange or international internship and, subject to application, participate in the Film Directing major and in the department’s international projects and programs. During their studies, MA students participate as observers at the Nordic Talents Pitching promotional event organized by Nordic film schools each year.
The students attend and present their films at international film festivals, and some compensation for travel expenses is intended to encourage their participation in short international directing workshops and seminars. Various international film events, seminars and workshops are an essential part of teaching the major.
Programme-specific Admission Procedure and Evaluation Criteria
What we look for in an applicant?
We expect our Master's students in Film Directing to have originality, bold visual and dramatic storytelling skills, readiness for analytical thinking and openness to learning. Knowledge of film history, Finnish and international film and television field as well as theatre and literature is considered an advantage. The applicant is expected to have directed actors or performers and directed at least one film (short and documentary films are also taken into account) and/or episodes in narrative television series. We also expect the applicant to be familiar with the field of film and television and especially its financing mechanisms.
Bold visual and dramatic thinking, ability to utilise their own personal experiences and insights in the artistic process, eedn for studies and willingness to study
The overall assessment also emphasizes possible research interests, written expression skills and the suitability to be a director.
In the second stage, the evaluation criteria consists of communication and social skills, ability for empathy and alienation, stress tolerance and ability to accept feedback
The talented students who are selected for the major in Film Directing want to develop their directing skills and deepen their understanding of the means of expression and the history and theory of the various genres of fictional film and the narrative audiovisual field.
First stage and required application documents
In the first stage of the evaluation the selection committee evaluates the applications based on the application documents. Study Option’s requirements for the application documents are listed below. Please also note requirements for the application documents presented in the general application instructions. Attach each application document to the electronic application form in PDF form.
The applicant is required to have directed films. Documentary films, short films or episodes of TV drama will also be taken into account. Your portfolio should include one or two films (or other works as mentioned above) which have been publicly screened at a festival or broadcast on television. A video recording of a theatre play will also be approved as a part of the portfolio.
Please submit your films either as password protected Vimeo links or QuickTime files and ensure the video files work in the common Mac or PC user interfaces. In addition, please submit a description (e.g. a synopsis or artistic intention of the work) of each film fitting altogether onto a single A4 sheet.
Curriculum vitae (CV)
The application must include a CV with your personal details, education, work experience, completed films (with your professional roles specified), festivals and any other artistic work, awards, grants, study tours, positions of trust and any other background information relevant to the application.
Before sending the application, please upload your CV as a single PDF file into the application system.
The motivation letter comprises of two parts:
1. Professional and artistic orientation
In the motivation letter, you should specify the strengths of your directorial skills, areas of interest and your views and artistic visions as a film director. Also, you should explain how film directing studies at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture could support your intentions mentioned above. As part of artistic orientation, you should also describe your potential career plans after the graduation.
2. Study plan
After studying the degree requirements of film directing please write out a tentative study plan of your MA studies based on the requirements.
The maximum length of the motivation letter is 4000 characters. The motivation letter is part of the online application form.
Language of application documents
The application documents must be submitted in Finnish (Swedish) or English.
On the basis of the submitted material, less than ten applicants are selected for a personal interview. The interview is preceded by an orienting assignment which consists of two parts: a written and a visual assignment. The applicants will be informed about the assignment when they are invited to the interview and the completed assignment must be delivered to the specified person by the given date before the interview.
In the interview, the selection committee and the applicant will discuss the applicant’s study and work history, current situation, future prospects, need for studies and the selection committee will ask more detailed questions about the application, orienting assignment and the applicant's motivation.
The invitation to the second stage is sent to the applicants at latest 7 days in advance.