The Master in Documentary Filmmaking is a highly practical, applied program in the production of documentary film for cinema, television or other media platforms. From the beginning of the master program, students will start working on the portfolio for the production of a feature documentary film that will represent their final dissertation work, while also taking other theoretical, and practical courses, with the possibility of choosing from a number of elective courses offered.
By the end of the First Semester, students will prepare a pre-production portfolio that will comprise a written proposal for a documentary film of 15-27 minutes, with the specification of the sub-genre, the synopsis of the film, edited according to standards (1 page) and an initial storyboard. The portfolio will also have a description of the initial research results and foto documentation as well as an estimated budget and production plan. They will also prepare a documentary exercise of max. 15 min., produced in the style of the subgenre selected.
During the Second Semester the students will continue to develop the pre-production portfolio, by finalizing the script and preparing the production stage (continuing documentation, choosing film locations, starting the logistic and production planning, etc.). They will keep a production journal that will become part of their portfolio. If possible, students might also start the production process and make the first shootings. They will also finalize the documentary exercise.
On the Third Semester, students will start the filming and production of the feature documentary film. At this stage, the portfolio will include the shooting plan, with locations and calendar, as well as the list of necessary materials and resources. Students will also develop daily production files while continuing to keep the production journal with the observations, conclusions and results of the production day. At the end of the semester, they will present the production portfolio as well as a rough director’s cut representing at least 50% of the length of the final film.
During the Fourth Semester the students will work on the post-production stage, editing and adding sound to the final feature documentary. They will also complete the portfolio with the master copy and the promotional material (posters, covers, or other type of materials)
In order to finalize their studies, students will be expected to have completed all the credits comprised in the learning plan, as well as write a dissertation paper that will be defended in front of dissertation commission. Additionally, they will present to the public in a public viewing the feature documentary produced during the course of their studies.
General objectives of the Master program in Documentary Filmmaking are:
- Developing an understanding of the most important trends and developments of the documentary film genre within the context of the new platforms of distribution and new specific audiences in the information age
- Practical learning, through analysis and practice at the highest standards, of specific documentary film genres: scientific documentary, social and anthropological films, docu-drama, and adventure documentary.
- Acquiring skills and abilities necessary in the production of film for cinematography, television and new media.
- Developing the ability to use the specific media and cinematography specialized language while creatively applying theoretical and practical knowledge in a professional setting.
- Developing theoretical and practical knowledge about Romanian and international non-fiction contemporary film
- Developing theoretical knowledge and practical experience in order to cultivate high professional and ethical standards, as well as professional courage and civic responsibility, as a non-fiction cinematographer.
Research Methods in Visual Media
The course offers students an overview of the range of research methods used in visual media: visual and textual analysis, textual and visual semiotics and hermeneutics, visual identity elements. The course also helps students analyze the visual field in terms of the socio-cultural and new technologies context.
Pre-Production: Research And Scriptwriting
Students will be able to develop and deepen theoretical and practical knowledge in different phases of elaboration and development of the cinematographic project – documentary – to acquire the working methodology in the preparation and preproduction of the genre. Students will be able to elaborate individual projects.
Critical Thinking And The New Media (Elective 1)
The course proposes an interdisciplinary approach of the modes in which critical thinking and critical discourse are adapted to the conditions offered by new media. Once with the democratization of the idea of aesthetic value and of the production means, critical thinking reconfigures its own subjectivity. Personal blog, online journals, forums, social media – all of them redefine the axiology and the traditional systems of the critical spirit. In the absence of the idea of critical authority, the expression of the judgment of value, the style of argumentation and the description logic are changing their structure. Complementary to the course is the critical comparison between the criticism in the context of new media and criticism during the communist period (when cultural periodicals had a circulation of 500,000 copies and when daily newspapers ahd their own cultural rubric).
Contemporary Critical Paradigms (Elective 1)
The course describes the main contemporary critical paradigms derived from various interdisciplinary methodologies such as deconstruction, psychoanalysis, narratology, feminism, post colonialism, cultural studies. The course discusses the impact of these analytical models on literary and cinematographic productions. They are seen both in their aesthetic dimension and in the one pertaining to visuality, with an important accent on their social, ideological, political, identitary functions. The course focuses on the fundamental texts in literary and film theory, building a general image of these fields that is essential for future specialists in visual culture. At the same time, the course emphasizes the relationship created between film and other arts, such as literature, painting, theatre, as well as the various forms of association with mass-media phenomena.
Visual Culture (Elective 2)
This course will be discussing the relationship between culture and visuality from a conceptual point of view.
Filmul Documentar Ştiinţific (Lb. Română) (Elective 2)
Cursul crează contextul pentru dezvoltarea şi aprofundarea cunoştinţelor în domeniul filmului documentar ştiinţific şi de popularizare ştiinţifică. De asemenea, crează cadrul pentru elaborarea unor proiecte individuale dezvoltate până la faza de producţie.(Propunere de temă, synopsis, treatment, schiţă de scenariu, concepţie regizorală.)
Documentary Filmmaking: Directing And Cinematography (1)
In this course, students will have the opportunity to produce a short documentary and, therefore, to apply in practice their knowledge of direction and cinematography, to acquire audio-visual production skills and competencies specific to the production stages of documentary filmmaking. The stages of pre-production and post-production will not be ignored, but this course will lay emphasis on direction, on the filming strategies, aesthetics and techniques.
Reality And Fiction In Documentary Films
The course will provide students with the theoretical background neccessary in order to be able to define documentary film according to form and content. It will also develop the skills necessary in order to analyse various examples and to develop case studies.
Exploration And Adventure Documentary / Documentarul De Explorare Și Aventură (Lb./ Română) (Elective 3)
În cadrul cursului, studențiii vor avea posibilitatea să aplice cunoştinţe interdisciplinare. (Geografie, ştiinţe ale naturii, sociologie, antropologie, etnografie precum şi sporturi extreme, alpinism, tehnici de supravieţuire etc.). Studenții vor aplica strategii de muncă riguroasă, eficientă şi responsabilă, de punctualitate şi răspundere personală faţă de rezultat, pe baza principiilor, normelor şi valorilor codului deontologic. Vor fi asistați în procesul de identificare a rolurilor şi responsabilităţilor într-o echipă plurispecializată şi aplicarea de tehnici de relaţionare şi muncă eficientă în cadrul echipei. În cadrul unor proiecte individuale sau de grup, studenții vor avea posibilitatea să dezvolte posibile teme de „adventure documentary” prin cerecetări şi investigaţii individuale.
New Media Documentary (Elective 3)
This course will enable students to understand how the new platforms provided by digital media, the democratization of communication and information through the use of the Internet, as well as the increased access to audio and video digital devices foster the development of new media and film genres. The course introduces students to the field of interactive documentary both through the critical analysis of major productions and developing individual interactive projects.
Documentary Filmmaking: Directing And Cinematography (2)
The objective of this second part of the course is the formation of the specific skills necessary for the creative expression of an individual directorial vision and the ability to visually transpose a documentary film concept in the post-production stage. Students will develop specific skills for the management of the entire process of documentary film production.
Management Of Documentary Film Production
Students will be introduced to basic solutions for managing the creation / production process, to the specifics and challenges of producing a documentary film in the wider context of the media landscape. They will gain an understanding of current developments in the field of capturing and image processing technologies and in the field of new audio-visual communication media. The description of effective methodologies in the audiovisual production specific to documentary film will be detailed in terms of technical/human resources. The course will contain both theoretical approaches, exemplified by video content on various media platforms, as well as practical individual assignments, enabling them to apply acquired theoretical concepts.
Social And Anthropological Documentary (Elective 4)
The approach to historical or sociological themes represents an area of interest on the media market. The course will focus on the production stages and methods that are specific of historical and / or sociological themes. The specific characteristics of the sub-genre, such as: the techniques used in historical evocation, the specific methods of visualisation in the “time tunnel,” reconstruction methods, etc., will be addressed in this course. In the case of sociological documentaries, the characteristic problematic of this area will be addressed. The course proposes a synthesis of the anthropological registers of documentary expression, within the larger context of the contemporary media landscape and proposes specific methods and solutions for audio-visual expression in the context of the developments that have taken place in the field of image capturing and processing technologies and of the new audio-visual communication media. The description of the actual audio-visual production methodology that is specific to documentaries of this type will be detailed in terms of technical / human resources and of their specific expressiveness and aesthetics.
Docudrama And Mockumentary (Elective 4)
By acquiring knowledge into the specifics of the genre (docudrama) and certain practical creative experiments, the MA students are offered the opportunity to step into and beyond the world of pure documentaries, with particular focus on the universe of dramatized documentaries, of “mediated narratives.” Working with actors (professional or non-professional) will represent a creative element that is specific to the genre, a complex professional exercise. The course provides a foray into the world of “hybrid documentary,” straddling the border between fiction film and other genres, often placed in atypical correlations, with generous openings towards creative cinematographic experiments. The course on docudrama and mockumentary describes the specific characteristics and role of documentary films in the wider audio-visual landscape and proposes methods and solutions for audio-visual expression in the context of the developments that have taken place in the field of image capturing and processing technologies and of the new audio-visual communication media.
Post-Production: Editing And Sound
This course will provide the know-how of the post-production stages of a documentary film. Students will gain an understanding of the specific genre and its post-production editing particularities. Students will be learning the methodology of documentary post-production and will gain an understanding of the audio-visual language of the genre. They will be learning and observing the technical quality parameters through computer image processing in post-production and will learn how to create significance through editing.
Project Production And Dissertation Writing
This discipline aims to assist students, in a practical manner, during the phases of elaborationg a dissertation work. Students will learn the methodology of documenting, processing and organizing scientific information and will be able to understand which are the specific qualities of a scientific work (structure, argumentation, bibliography etc.). Students will be assisted in the finalizing of the research activities and the elaboration of final dissertation paper. They will also be guided in the production of the practical project and the understanding of the format of the final presentation. The educational objectives of this course are general and do not duplicate the specific objectives of the coordinating professor of the dissertation.
Visual Storytelling (Elective 5)
Students will be able to develop and deepen theoretical and practical knowledge in different phases of elaboration and development of the cinematographic project while working on individual projects and exercise their creative skills.
Interactive Movies (Elective 5)
With technology and interactivity becoming more and more distinct and predominant in our lifestyles, culture and society, a demand for interactive experiences and the delivery of more personalized entertainment content becomes noticeable. This course introduces students to the concept of interactive storytelling and digital narratives. For the purpose of this course the term “interactive movie” will refer to animated, filmed, video game-based and any other kind of movies following a main story but enabling user interaction.