MFA Academic overview
EDUCATIONAL AIMS OF THE PROGRAM
Our goal is to educate filmmakers in the spirit of humanism and liberalism, artists of individual outlook, capable of asserting their own vision and offering answers to the current state of our world and social progressions. Both our undergraduate and post-graduate programs place a strong accent on practical work and experience in exploring the filmmaker’s own creative voice.
At the MFA level, the students are expected to arrive possessing a basic knowledge of the fundamental aspects of filmmaking, film history and film theory. While core technical, production and directing classes are offered and form the basic skeleton of the MFA program, the accent is on modules, workshops and master classes that seek to explore outside the beaten track of film industry. The MFA program is thus shaped to consolidate and expand the knowledge and technical skills of the candidates, while liberating imagination and creativity towards development of distinct filmmakers’ voices and styles.
Our faculty brings together some of the most prominent and experienced filmmakers and industry professionals, with world renowned authors joining us both as core staff and visiting lecturers.
The MFA Program is a two-year (4 Semesters), Bologna certified degree program.
MFA YEAR 1
During the first year, candidates are assessed for their individual competences and sensibilities where core classes collectively expand on and, where needed, fill in any crucial gaps in knowledge over all main elements of filmmaking. Students will explore the relationships between reality, society and film; creating content that speaks to their understanding of these relationships. All candidates will complete two short films (up to 15 minutes each), where only the first will have an imposed theme. For the second short, the students will choose their own theme, genre and style.
In the first semester, the focus is placed on writing and script-development, while the students are also expected to complete advanced exercises in the form of guided projects for classes in technical elements of film (Camera, Lighting, Editing, Postproduction and other). This semester includes the introduction and pre-production of the students’ first short film on an imposed theme.
The second semester will focus on working with actors, while also acquiring advanced knowledge in film production: from idea, through development, to financing, pitching and distribution. The last 5 weeks of the academic year are reserved for the shooting and postproduction of end of year films.
MFA YEAR 2
The second year focuses on development of author’s own voice and the exploration of distinctive styles of filmmaking. Throughout the second year of study, candidates will work on the development and completion of their final thesis film (minimum 20 minutes) in a dramatic genre of their choice, with the aid of mentors. Supporting classes and modules are held throughout the first semester of the second year (Semester 3), while the final semester of the program (Semester 4) focuses on shooting and post-production, with an additional two weeks of working with script doctors and a final Directing Master Class.
Alongside the core Academy staff, the students will have the opportunity to work with professional crews (based on set budgets) in completing their final projects.
INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the two-year program students should be able to demonstrate advanced understanding of the:
Idea, synopsis, screenplay, storyboard, cinematography, mise-en-scène, preparation for shooting, different methods of shooting, organization of shooting, film crew, editing, postproduction, final creation of film.
- Creative process
In-depth knowledge and understanding of the aesthetic and technique of the main aspects of filmmaking - photography, working with professional and amateur actors, production design, art design, costume design, editing, communicating ideas, decisions and instructions to all departments of the film crew.
- Theory (aesthetics) of film
Methodologies of analysis, forms of artistic expression, categories of film expression, the nature of the creative processes, theory of film through film genres, key theoreticians of film, the differences between film and digital medium.
- Film history
Evolution of film, formats, types and genres, the evolution of film expression; specialized understanding and examination of select movements and styles in film.
- Film production
Financing of production, sales agent, film distribution, film advertising, screening, movie theatres, festivals, laws in film, international film organizations.
- Film and Society
Engagement of art and its influence, historical impact and reflection of different social circumstances (wars, regime changes, civil movements), ethics in art and artist's own ethical codex, film as propaganda, the global influence of marketing and its reflections on film.
At the end of the two-year program students should be able to:
- Apply advanced theoretical knowledge, practical knowledge and understanding of concepts in practice.
- Develop critical awareness in film art, as well as awareness of own esthetics with means of defending and exploring personal artistic approaches.
- Interpret visual styles through film history, with ability to identify and examine building blocks in development of own film style.
- Effectively communicate ideas, decisions and instructions to the film crew.
LEARNING AND TEACHING STRATEGIES
The concept of MFA is based on master classes, workshops and modules, supported by core classes as well as modules and workshops by guest lecturers. The students receive continuous mentorship and help with the practical realization of exercises and student films through group and individual consultations, as well as specialized sessions addressing any individual gaps in knowledge.
Acclaimed filmmakers and artists, as well as experienced film professionals are engaged in the program, while full-time core professors and mentors ensure continuity and effective preparation for intensive workshops and masterclasses. The working process is one marked by openness and collaboration between students, as well as between students and lecturers, while encouraging personal growth and individual creativity. Our master classes, in particular, aim to give insight and inspiration – highlighting diverse and authentic approaches in contemporary filmmaking – by some of the world’s most exciting and provocative voices in film art.
Students will complete 2 short films (15 minutes max. each) in the first academic year, while their work in the second academic year is geared towards completion of their graduate film.
- Attendance (students may not miss more than a maximum of 20% of all set workshops, master classes, modules and classes in order to qualify for a degree).
- Coursework – completion of set exercises and individual projects; participation in group projects and select roles within colleagues’ productions; personal engagement and the meeting of deadlines.
- Final (end of year) examination that includes the production of individual films.
Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing
The grading and awarding of the degree will be done in accordance with existing regulations, policies and procedures of the University Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, as well as specified regulations, policies and procedures of Department - Sarajevo Film Academy.
These special rules apply:
- In order to be awarded the MFA degree; a candidate must pass every element of the degree program.
- The minimum passing grade is D, i.e. 51%.
- Candidates who pass all elements of the degree program with an average 86% or above will be awarded the degree with distinction.
- Candidates who pass the final project but fail (no more than) two taught courses may be considered for the award of a Non-degree Certificate.
- Candidates who take an individual element or elements of the program for training purposes (non-degree track) may be considered for the award of a Non-Degree Certificate for the relevant course or course components.