Why Study MA Documentary Filmmaking at LFS

The school is in the process of moving its teaching and studio spaces. Pending the completion of building work the entry to the programme is postponed and will not be commencing in 2024. More information will be available as we have it.


On this exciting new two-year course, students will explore their creative skills and ambitions, making multiple film exercises each module that become increasingly challenging and complex. The course offers a wider range of filmmaking experiences than on many other courses, providing students with the opportunity to work independently and collaboratively.

LFS is renowned for its educational conservatoire approach, integrating ‘learning through doing’ with craft classes, contextual documentary film studies, seminars and screenings, alongside critical reflective practice through a written journal. Students will benefit from a variety of distinguished visiting industry professionals on the course and LFS Guest Sessions.

In the first year each student will have access to a professional sound and camera kit, an editing workstation with postproduction software, and learn to work independently as self-shooting directors, developing their skills in producing, camera, sound and editing.

In the second year in Module 4, students are given a unique opportunity to broaden and diversify their practice, working collaboratively as part of a film crew. They will receive advanced training in a craft role and specialism – in camera, sound, editing and producing / directing – in the realisation of a poetic / non-linear film.

Module 5, designed over two terms, is dedicated to the development and completion of their graduation film, which will be supervised by LFS staff and supported by an industry mentor. At the end of their final term, students will focus on the creation of self-promotional materials and festival packs to help them on a pathway into work and showcasing of their talents. They will also attend a major Documentary Festival.


In the first year, students will work intensively as self-shooting producer / directors, making multiple film exercises each module. In all of these exercises, they will have the freedom to research and develop ideas and be encouraged to find their individual and artistic voice.

During the production process for all the film exercises, students will be given feedback from their peers, staff and industry experts. This continuous process, will help students to articulate their creative ambitions, find technical solutions and develop their craft and creative skills.

This nurturing of student’s filmmaking potential creates a framework within which they can consciously develop their focus, confidence and self-awareness – helping them to define who they are as filmmakers and their approach to filmmaking.


Collaboration is a core skill in filmmaking and the key to recognising and respecting both oneself and others. In the second year, in Module 4, students will collaborate in the making of a poetic /non-linear documentary film exercise. The success of this advanced exercise will be in recognising the interdependence of all the craft skills and the ability of each crew member to enhance the experience and quality of each other’s skills and learning, when working towards a common creative goal.

Students will develop advanced practical and narrative skills, focusing intensively in just one craft specialism, to extend their learning, experience and confidence to realise diverse creative goals and prepares them for their graduation film, which they will make in the last two terms.

Working collaboratively also affords students the chance to develop key personal and transferable skills in communication, self-management, negotiation and the ability to reflect on one’s own behaviour and attitudes in the attainment of common goals. It also fosters peer learning and support.


As this is a two year course, students have time to devote to their graduation film and align their skills, interests and ambitions with industry involvement from mentors. Mentors will help supervise the graduation projects and may act as a professional conduit to help students identify their professional direction.

This professionalisation of their practice, is further supported in the creation of festival packs, and other self-promotional materials. 

Students will also have the opportunity to attend a major Documentary Festival in their final term. This will give them the opportunity to enrich their learning and inspire them as emerging talent, to be involved in the latest documentary screenings, debates, industry talks and active festival marketplaces. 

Student's academic, research and analytical skills are fostered over the course, in a Reflective Research Journal, which at the end of Modules 2, 4 and 5. The Reflective Research Journal will demonstrate their ability to critically reflect on their creative and professional development and on the work of others.


MA Documentary Filmmaking is led by course leader Nicola Gibson (an award-winning Producer / Director and Development Producer, on primetime series and strands in BBC Arts, Specialist Factual and Documentaries).

Previous visiting documentary lecturers at LFS include filmmaking industry specialists such as: Kim Longinotto (Divorce Iranian Style, Sisters in Law), Marc Isaacs (Lift, The Filmmakers House) Eva Weber (The Solitary Life of Cranes), Xiaolu Guo (Five men and a Carvaggio), Marianne Hougen-Moraga (Songs of Repression) and industry guests at crits/pitching panels Ilian Metev (Sophia’s Last Ambulance), Victoria Mapplebeck (Missed Call, The Waiting Room), Katharine Round, (The Divide, Listen to Britain) and Sam Blair (Make Us Dream, Captive). 

Students will also have access to industry talks and events with industry professionals. Previous speakers have included Asif Kapadia and Marc Isaacs. 


The School is situated in the centre of London, in Covent Garden, within walking distance of West End cinemas and the Bertha Dochouse cinema (the only dedicated documentary cinema in the country). Nearby are theatres, the Royal Opera House, the National Gallery, the British Museum, the British Film Institute Library, the BFI Southbank and the Tate Modern.

Central London offers LFS students access to many cultural centres and informal film and media groups, events and opportunities. Social events run throughout each term and include cultural evenings, lectures and debates.


The School has been awarded World-Leading Specialist Provider status by the Office for Students. The status marks LFS out as being recognised internationally in the filmmaking specialism, providing a level of quality and expertise among the finest in the world.

The knowledge and skills of LFS graduates and the enduring impact they have on the industry, are recognised by leading employers, external funders, other world-leading providers in the UK and beyond.


All students are part of a dedicated filmmaking community and immersed in a small specialist film school. LFS is the oldest film school in the UK and is independent, international and dedicated to filmmaking.

In the last week of each term, student’s film exercise projects are screened to invited industry guests at the end of term crits, where feedback is given on the creative and craft aspects of the film projects. The event is always special and an invaluable opportunity for students to gain insights and different perspectives from experts in their fields. It is an opportunity to come together as a community and celebrate and share in each student’s achievement on the course.



Updated 12 January 2024