UCL Anthropology


Documentary Fiction Studio

Ethnographic and Documentary Film (Practical) MA - Documentary Fiction Studio

This year, a new Documentary Fiction ‘studio’, led by Marc Isaacs, will be run for students who are especially interested in ‘hybrid’ films which exist on the frontier of fiction and non-fiction. Marc’s own new ‘docufiction’ film, The Filmmaker's House will be released in January 2020. This programme is specifically designed for students who want to push the boundaries of the traditional documentary form and experiment with fresh and innovative ways of storytelling. Over the past few years, there has been a mini explosion of films that blur the boundary between non-fiction and fiction, yet, there are very few film programmes available to students wanting to develop their skills in this area. On this programme, students will study the work of some of the main proponents of the docu-fiction including: Jafar Panahi; Pawel Lozinski; Joseph Morder; Clio Banard; and Pedro Costa - in order to aid the development of their own unique method and approach.

Over the course of the year, students will complete a series of non-assessed filmed exercises and two short 7-10 minute assessed films before moving onto their final graduation work. Students will have access to a professional screenwriter to support the development of their ideas and the programme is in the process of establishing partner relationships with organisations in the East London community to provide students with support and resources. Students will have guest sessions with leading industry filmmaker's whose work embraces hybridity and an industry mentor to support them through their graduation film. Each student will make their own individual piece of work but we strongly encourage informal collaborations.

Throughout the year, we host a programme of weekly screenings and masterclasses in which prominent industry figures show and discuss their work with you. It’s an opportunity for you to meet and to learn from (and to challenge) some of the most distinguished practitioners in their field, be they directors, film editors, producers, commissioners etc. You will also be encouraged to attend UCL’s own annual Open City Documentary Festival, participating in its screenings and its discussions about documentary form and the industry that supports it. Equally, studying and living in London means that you will be able to exploit its rich cinema culture in which documentary film is increasingly celebrated.

Joining this MA is both an opportunity to develop a portfolio of work and a way to grow your own network as the people you meet along the way may well be amongst those you will be working with in years to come.

Further Information:


Each student has exclusive use of a professional HD shooting kit for the duration of the MA consisting of camera, sound recording equipment (including radio microphone) and tripod. Additional equipment including lighting kits, reflectors, audio recorders, monopods and boom poles can be accessed on an ad hoc basis.


Films made by students on the MA at UCL regularly screen at film festivals throughout the world (Sheffield Doc/Fest and Encounters, RAI and Aesthetica Film Festivals amongst others). Many have been nominated for and won awards including the RTS Student Award, Grierson Awards and the One World Media Award. Alumni have gone on to work in the documentary film industry at numerous production companies and broadcasters.