Study options

Master's Programme in Film and Television - Film Directing

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.
Directing

Degree:

Master of Arts (Art and Design)

Application period:

1.12.2020 – 4.1.2021

Language of instruction:

Finnish
English
Swedish

Duration:

2 years, full-time

Eligibility:

Relevant Bachelor's degree

Field of study:

Art and Design

Credits:

120 ECTS

Organising school:

School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Tuition fees:

For non-EU/EEA citizens, €15000/y (Master’s studies)

The application period has closed

Applying to master’s programmes

Study objective

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.

Career opportunities

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.

As part of the studies, the student has the opportunity to do a self-imposed internship, 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.

Education content

In master’s studies in the major in Film Directing, the student develops their 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. Each directing student graduates with a Master’s Thesis combining both artistic and research elements.

The student can choose to concentrate either in feature film or tv-drama. Thus, the student can choose courses from other major’s study content (screenwriting and/or production), to best support their chosen focus.

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 academic years 2020-2022.

Internationalisation

The student can take part in international studies offered by the department. The student has the chance to complete a student exchange or self-imposed international internship and, subject to application, participate 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.

Study-option-specific evaluation criteria

Intake 2021 emphasizes narrative TV drama and favours applicants who are interested in deepening their skills in it: the development procedures and processes as well as the different forms and ways of making drama for TV.

Applicants meeting Aalto’s general eligibility criteria for master's studies will be evaluated and ranked according to the evaluation criteria that has been decided in advance for each study option. The applications to Master’s Programme in Film and Television - Film Directing will be evaluated based on the following criteria.

Phase I

Artistic and/or design practice

Assessed area

Demonstrations of artistic work or assignments

Admission requirements

 

The artistic quality, vision and uniqueness of audiovisual works, and bold and strong visual and dramatic storytelling skills. The ability to think analytically, recognise and communicate one’s personal processes. Experience in directing actors and in the processes of fiction.

Method of demonstrating competence

Portfolio

 

 

Suitability

Assessed area

Applicant’s further suitability to the study option, motivation, and commitment for studies and communication skills.

The need for studies as a director and/or researcher (academic background).

Admission requirements

 

Bold visual and dramatic thinking, ability to use one’s personal experiences and insights in an artistic process. Motivation and willingness to study and to complete studies in target time.

Method of demonstrating competence

Motivation letter

 

Relevance of previous studies

Assessed area

Content and quantity in relation to the applied study-option-specific requirements

Admission requirements

 

Degree related to film, theatre or (audio)visual arts

Method of demonstrating competence

Transcript(s) of records, degree certificate(s)

 

 

Academic performance

Assessed area

Grades of the previous degree(s), artistic quality of the degree(s), the scope of previous studies

Admission requirements

Degree related to film, theatre or (audio)visual arts

Method of demonstrating competence

Transcript(s) of records, degree certificate(s)

 

 

Other areas of competence

Assessed area

Work experience and other acquired knowledge/achievements e.g. publications, non-formal education, competitions.

Admission requirements

 

Experience as a director: the ability to direct actors and tell stories using audiovisual means. Broader experience in the film and television sector, its funding mechanisms in particular.

Method of demonstrating competence

Curriculum vitae

 

Phase II

Suitability

Assessed area

Applicant’s further suitability to the study option, motivation, and commitment for studies/communication skills

The need for studies as a director and/or researcher (academic background).

Admission requirements

 

Verbal expression of one’s artistic ambitions and dramaturgical thinking. Group work skills, the ability to accept feedback and work under pressure, group leadership skills. A knowledge of film history, the Finnish and international field of film and television drama, theatre and literature is considered an advantage.

Method of demonstrating competence

Interview

 

Artistic and/or design practice

Assessed area

Demonstrations of artistic work or assignments

Admission requirements

 

Visionary and dramatic storytelling skills, written expression, strong visual skills and a sense of rhythm. The ability to direct and verbalise the emotions of the actors/performers. The ability to observe one’s surroundings and interpret them in a cinematic form, the ability to produce and analyse text, uniqueness.

Method of demonstrating competence

Second-phase assignments

 

 

Evaluation process

The selection process for those who meet the general eligibility criteria comprises of two phases. 

Phase I

In Phase I, the applications are evaluated based on the following criteria

  • Artistic and/or design practice/Portfolio
  • Suitability/Motivation letter
  • Relevance of previous studies
  • Academic performance
  • Other areas of competence

Bold visual and dramatic thinking and the ability to use one’s personal experiences and insights in an artistic process are emphasized in the major of Film directing alongside the applicant’s motivation and willingness to study. The overall assessment also takes account of the applicant’s possible research interests, written expression skills and suitability to be a director.

Only the applicants who fulfill the requirements/are ranked highest in the preliminary evaluation will be invited to phase II in the selection process.

Phase II

In Phase II, the evaluation is based on the following criteria

  • Suitability/Interview
  • Artistic and/or design practice

In Phase II, the evaluation criteria consist of communication and social skills, the ability to tolerate stress, artistic vision, the ability to finish studies in target time, the ability to empathise and to come up with novel ideas, and the ability to receive feedback.

Some applicants are invited to Phase II. The invitation to Phase II will be send to the applicants at latest 7 days in advance. Selected applicants will be invited for a face to face interview and they will need to accomplish a pre-assignment handed in by a given date before phase II. This pre-assignment consists of a written and an audiovisual part and it will be discussed and evaluated during the interview.

After the evaluation conducted in Phase II, the best applicants will be selected based on the joint evaluation from Phases I and II.

Study-option-specific documents requested

The documents requested from all applicants are listed on the Aalto University website (https://www.aalto.fi/en/study-at-aalto/applying-to-masters-programmes). In addition, applicants to this study option are requested to provide the following study-option-specific documents:

Portfolio

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 theatrical play will also be approved as part of the portfolio.

Please submit your films either as password protected Vimeo links or QuickTime files and ensure that the video files can be played on the most common Macs and PCs. In addition, please send in a description of each film (e.g. a synopsis or a description of the artistic intentions of the work). The maximum total length of the descriptions is one A4 sheet.

The maximum size of the file is 1.0 GB. Name the file Portfolio-lastname-firstname.pdf. If your portfolio contains password protected video links, include the password(s) in your portfolio. If a portfolio is not uploaded to the online application form by the deadline, the application will be rejected.

CV

The application must include a CV with your personal details, education, work experience, completed films (with your professional roles specified), festivals and other artistic work, awards, grants, study trips, positions of trust and other background information relevant to the application. Before sending in your application, please upload your CV as a single PDF file into the application system.

Motivation letter

In the motivation letter, describe why you are applying to the major and specify what are your special interests including areas of research in the specific educational field. Also, you should specify the strengths of your directorial skills, areas of interest and your views and artistic visions as a film director. Additionally, 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.

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

The application period has closed

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