Study options

Master's Programme in Film and Television - Film Directing

Master’s programme 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:

1.12.2021 – 3.1.2022

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)
Applying to master’s programmes

Study objective

Master’s programme in Film and Television, major in Film Directing in 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 Programme, major in Film Directing is mainly Finnish (especially the courses in directing actors). However, part of the courses can be taught in English. The degree can 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 freelancers in domestic film and TV production companies directing films or narrative TV drama, or radio plays for YLE (National Broadcasting Company). They can also work as individual freelance artitsis or directors 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 film, television or other audiovisual production.

The studies include meetings with domestic professionals in the field (commissioners and producers). The students can also 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 four elements (30 ETC each)

1. Joint compulsory content for all majors in film, which develops the student’s skills in research and working life. It includes courses in entrepreneurial and working life skills, analytical and  research skills.

2. Advanced studies only for majors in Film directing, which combine theory, individual research and practical workshops. Some courses concentrate on working with actors for better understanding the different acting and directing methods. Some concentrate in producing own written material for finding one’s own voice as a director. Some courses include laboratories built around a single central theme and realized in collaboration with one or more majors within Elo.The courses jointly organized by Theater Academy are also part of the major.

3. Elective studies, which can be composed of studies within Aalto or any Finnish University

4. written Master’s Thesis combining artistic and research elements.

The student can choose to concentrate either in feature film or tv-drama. Thus, the student can also choose courses from other majors (screenwriting and/or production).

During the  MA courses in film directing, the student challenges their artistic thinking, studies the conventions and new forms of film and TV drama, studies dramaturgical structures and examines the starting points of their personal artistic work in more detail. The studies enforce the director’s role and defines the responsibilities during the whole production. According to the study plan (HOPS / PSP) drawn up together with the professor, the student can additionally deepen their competence in other fields of dilm such as screenwriting, production, cinematography or sound.

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.

Study-option-specific evaluation criteria

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

What is evaluated

Demonstrations of artistic work or assignments

What we look for in an applicant/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

What is evaluated

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).

What we look for in an applicant/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

What is evaluated

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

What we look for in an applicant/Admission requirements

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

Method of demonstrating competence

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

 

 

Academic performance

What is evaluated

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

What we look for in an applicant/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

What is evaluated

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

What we look for in an applicant/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

The committee does not assess or consider letters of recommendations.

 

Phase II

Suitability

What is evaluated

Applicant’s further suitability to the study option, motivation, and commitment for studies/communication skills/ assessment of second phase assignments.

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

What we look for in an applicant/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

What is evaluated

Demonstrations of artistic work or assignments

What we look for in an applicant/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

 

 

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 are 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.

The admission commettee will take into account those applicants who don’t have a BA degree, but sufficiant amount of experience in the field of film as well as those who have a degree in other fields than film and audiovisual arts. The committee does not assess or consider letters of recommendations.

Evaluation criteria

Bold visual and dramatic thinking, ability to utilize their own personal experiences and insights in the artistic process, need for studies and willingness to study full time.

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 receive feedback.

The talented students who are selected for the major in Film Directing want to develop their directing skills and deepen their understanding in film and narrative TV as an artform as well as learn about the history and theory of the various genres of fiction film and the narrative audiovisual field in general.

Evaluation process

The applicants will be first evaluated based on Aalto’s general eligibility requirements. Applicants meeting the 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 selection process for applicants 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 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 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 practice

In Phase II, the evaluation criteria consist of assessing artistic vision, communication and social skills, the ability to tolerate stress and the ability to finish studies in target time. The ability to empathise and to come up with new ideas, as well as the ability to receive feedback are also assessed.

The invitation to Phase II will be sent to the applicants at latest 7 days in advance. Selected applicants will need to accomplish a pre-assignment handed in by a given date before the phase II interview. This pre-assignment consists of a written and an audiovisual part which are evaluated and discussed 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 fiction films. Documentary films, short films or episodes of narrative TV drama will also be taken into account. Your portfolio should include at least one, maximum two films directed and selected by the applicant. The films need to have been publicly screened at a film festival (online festivals are taken into account) or broadcasted on television. A video recording of a theatrical play can be considerened as one of the films.

Please submit your films either as password protected Vimeo links or QuickTime files and ensure that they can be screened on the most common Macs and PCs. In addition, send in a description of each film (why you have selected it, 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, workshops, 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

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The application period is open until 3.1.2022 15:00 (UTC+2)

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