Short courses


Summer Film School (Documentary Filmmaking)

  • 180 hours
  • 6 weeks


This intensive, six-week course will give you the practical, critical and theoretical skills you need to make a short documentary film. It's led by acclaimed documentary makers Katharine Round and Marc Isaacs.

Over six weeks, you'll make a 5 to 10 minute self-shot documentary from start to finish. You'll have access to broadcast-quality equipment and editing software to help you do this.

You'll be encouraged and supported to discover and express your own response to the world around you. You'll explore authorship, form, character, emotion, and much more.

This course is run by the Open City Docs School, based in UCL's Department of Anthropology.

Course content and structure

In the first three weeks you'll develop your technical and analytical skills. Through a series of a practical exercises you'll learn how to produce, direct, shoot and edit.

You'll also explore the art of filmmaking and attend a series of guest lectures.

Over the next three weeks you'll focus on completing your film. You'll have access to equipment and edit suites at Open City Documentary School.

You'll be supported in making your film through two one-on-one meetings with the course tutors. These can be in person or remotely via Skype.

A screening will be held in the last week of the course, where you'll be able to share your rough cut. A second screening on the last day of the course will give you the opportunity to share your work on the big screen.

Who this course is for

The course is suitable for:

  • beginners with no formal filmmaking training
  • those who want to expand their skills and learn about the self-shooting mode
  • those want to brush up on their filmmaking skills

Please note that you will be required to bring two external hard-drives with you on the course.

Course team

Katharine Round - Course Leader

Katharine Round - Course Leader

Katharine has over twenty years’ experience in creative documentary for broadcast and cinema. Her work is described as "tender and evocative" and “poignant and viscerally enraging", and aims to challenge the idea of documentary in all its forms. In 2016, she directed the critically-acclaimed ‘The Divide’, a feature-length film on the psychological impact of income inequality, inspired by the book ‘The Spirit Level’. The film had a successful theatric release across the UK including Picturehouse and Curzon sites, followed by a US/UK release on Netflix. She’s also made films for the BBC, Channel 4 and Discovery as well as new platforms.

Learner reviews

"UCL Summer School was a fantastic way of learning the skills of filmmaking and editing. You learn from incredibly inspiring, insightful and talented filmmakers and editors. I came away from the course with an enthusiasm and love for making films and equipped with the skills to do so." [Sharmin Ahammad]

Course information last modified: 23 Oct 2019, 12:03