Filmmaking with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
- Level: Foundation
- Starting: September 2022
- Study mode: Full Time (4 years)
- Location: City Centre
Our cutting edge BA (Hons) Filmmaking with Foundation degree course will develop your skills across key filmmaking debates and practice conventions. You will be taught by noted film scholars and established practitioners, who will provide their knowledge of international film criticism and filmmaking perspectives.
The course is part of Birmingham City University’s Film Futures suite, designed to develop graduates with the theory, practice and industry trends that will enable them to succeed in a rapidly changing film environment.
About foundation courses
This four year programme has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake additional level 3 study, to ensure you are successful on your chosen degree course. The foundation year helps you to develop skills such as academic writing, referencing and researching, as well as important transferable skills such as project management and team work.
After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within Birmingham School of Media.
What's covered in the course?
The course considers of a wide range of filmmaking conventions, from theory, practice and industry perspectives. Not only will you gain an understanding of Hollywood cinema conventions (from silent cinema to modern blockbuster spectaculars), but you will apply these storytelling techniques to a variety of production scenarios. As well as looking at American filmmaking conventions, you will also be introduced to other international traditions of cinema that range from European perspectives of documentary to Bollywood film and beyond.
A key focus of the course will be on the aesthetic and creative aspects of filmmaking, with consideration being given to both mainstream and experimental modes of film creation, as well as how these traditions are mediated by differing production and postproduction techniques. Whilst theoretical and practice based considerations of filmmaking techniques remains a central focus to the the award, the course also provides modules on on film festival programming and film entrepreneurship, which help provide core skills relevant to the film industry.
How you will learn
You will be taught in a range of lectures, seminars, writing workshops and production sessions, while regular film screenings help you contextualise cinema traditions against your own script creations.
Your formal studies will be enriched by the possibility to work on a range of external events, such as the Cine-Excess International Film Festival. This annual event attracts visiting international filmmakers, as well as hosting UK theatrical premieres on a regular basis. Having previously operated in London’s West End and Brighton, Cine-Excess has now relocated to BCU to operate as a central resource for the course.
Why Choose Us?
- The course combines practice, theory and industry approaches to filmmaking, alongside training in film festival programming techniques.
You will be taught by noted film professors, cinema scholars and established screenwriters. Staff on the programme work together to ensure that you receive a balanced understanding of theory, practice and industry skilling relevant to the field.
- You will be taught at the city centre campus, home to an impressive range of media resources, studios and edit suites.
You will also have the opportunity to work on film projects completed as part of the Cine-Excess festival.
- You will also have the opportunity to work on film projects completed for the Cine-Excess festival. One recent production completed by BCU students and staff was the award winning documentary Tax Shelter Terrors (2017).
You will have access to film collections that will enrich your course of studies. These include the Cult Film Archive, a collection of 4,000+ resources (including films, screenplays and promotional materials) that have been donated directly from leading filmmakers and distribution companies in the field.
This course is open to International students
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Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
80 UCAS points
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details|
|Scottish National 5||
|IELTS||6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.|
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
|AS and AS VCE||Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts|
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)||Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016|
|OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma||MMP|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|T-Levels||Pass overall (C or above on the core)|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts||Merit overall|
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements|
6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- Register interest
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses.
Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence
Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.
Personal stationery and study materials (optional)
For this course it would be useful to have an SD card, an external hard drive and some headphones. Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £30 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Guidance for UK students
UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
Applying through UCAS
Register with UCAS
Login to UCAS
Complete your details
Select your course
Write a personal statement
Get a reference
Pay your application fee
Send UCAS your application
You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
The purpose of this practical production module is to explore media production techniques in radio, audio production, online video and television. The module is designed to recognise that many media professionals no longer work in specialised areas and are often asked to make use of a range of skills and platforms across different media in order to reach their audiences. Throughout the module you will be supported to develop industry-level practical skills through a range of production activities and workshops.
This purpose of this practical production module is to explore media production techniques in journalism, public relations, and events management. The module draws together the skills needed for writing and producing content for print and online, as well as developing communications campaigns that connect with audiences dispersed across digital platforms. The module is designed to recognise that many media professionals no longer work in specialised areas and are often asked to make use of a range of skills and platforms across different media in order to reach their audiences.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a production project in the subject specialism of your choosing, exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. The outcome can take the form of a written or a practice-based outcome. You will be able to evaluate and reflect critically on your work. Your final work will be a key step in your progression as a student of the media and as a media worker. You will be expected to work independently for the most part but you will receive one-to-one support from a supervisor as well as being able to connect with wider support within the School’s academic team.
The purpose of this module is to introduce you to the key concepts aligned to studying media and communication. The module will focus on making connections between theory and practice and will support your wider understanding of the media industry and the context of your own work. You will have the opportunity to engage with theoretical perspectives that focus on the political economy of the media which will enable you to see how media texts are shaped by the organisation, ownership and regulation of the media industry. You will identify and reflect on political, moral and ethical issues raised by the relationships between the media, culture and ideas of power in local, national and international contexts.
The purpose of this module is to assist you in developing the academic skills needed to succeed in higher education, and the professional skills required to support your ambitions to be a media worker. You will be introduced to the wide range of academic and practical support that the university offers.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This module introduces you to Hollywood film through its early, classical and post-classical traditions. The module is structured around the examination of these three stages of development, with a range of debates that also allow you to evaluate American cinema through its stylistic, generic, industrial and historical features.
This module reviews today’s global film marketplace, examining the scale, scope and structure of this multi-billion dollar industry. The aim is to help you navigate the current and emerging landscape for film, in a rapidly evolving industry, developing your appreciation of key players, the impact of the global market on the value chain and sustainability of the sector in consideration of social, cultural, economic and political influences.
A key aspect to understanding filmmaking, is the actual process. This module will provide you with an introduction to conventional filmmaking techniques, such as lighting, camerawork and sound recording. This also includes an introduction to pre-production operations. This will be in the form of visual and sound acquisition techniques, as well as strategies to plan for this. You will be expected to operate a range of equipment, reflecting typical processes to do with narrative and documentary filmmaking. This foundation can be built upon to support future production endeavours.
In this module you will explore the development of the film and television documentary by critically investigating the medium through a range of lectures, readings and screenings, and applying this to produce your own short documentary. We will consider different genres of documentary, such as direct cinema, mockumentary, investigative, ethnographic, docu-soap, experimental, docu-drama, reconstruction and the music documentary, as well as some of the contemporary issues facing documentary film makers. We will engage with a variety of academic debates that relate to the documentary, which include realism, representation, ethics and ideology, and the social, political, economic and technological contexts in which documentary can be critically located.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):
This module will examine the role film festivals play in garnering critical acclaim, enabling audience access and acting as a trade hub for film, playing a part in the financing, distribution and marketing of independent titles. The aim is to unpack the culture of film festivals from the lavish, major international affairs through to grassroots events. You will examine the drivers, objectives and investment that underpins them and their strategic importance for relationship building, launching and generating PR for film.
This module follows on from the year one module and helps move you further towards your professionalism. Whereas introduced you to fundamental operations, this module introduces you to ways in which you can utilise filmmaking equipment to consider and enhance the aesthetics of production. Through the study of Light, Colour, Area, Depth, Time, Movement and Sound, you will be expected to consider these as a way to further enhance your production skills.
The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined project to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules:
This module will provide students with an overview of the cultural relevancy of 1970s cinema. Initially exploring the context of the decade and the fragmented nature of film narratives at the time the module will discuss the emergence and demise of ‘American New Wave/New Hollywood’ but also explore further the style, substance and aesthetics of the varying sub-genres of the time as well as the cultural and creative impact they had on both cinematic presentation and other aspects of the media industry.
This module builds on the work you have been doing on other areas of the course by expanding your knowledge on the details of film and film production. It will explore the concept of film music as an integral part of film, including how music is used in film to guide audience perceptions and emotions and as an interpretive layer. The module will also continue the work of integrating the theory and practice of film. Through a range of teaching approaches, which include lectures, workshops, and practical exercises, you will investigate the techniques, processes and practices of film music. Each week will also include viewing examples of scoring appropriate to the week’s theme.
This module follows on from Foundations of Filmmaking, but introduces you to the key elements of cinematography in greater detail. Whereas Foundations of Filmmaking introduced you to fundamental, wider aspect of production and associated operations, this builds upon these, yet purely focusses on the duties within the field of cinematography.
This module will teach you the essential skills of, and principles behind, the writing of short films. Although these principles apply primarily to screenwriting for film and television, this module will instead be concerned with the writing of short films. You will study a number of freely available short guides to screenplay layout and formatting and be trained in the practical application of screenplay formatting software. You will write three short scripts, given as fortnightly writing exercises, and receive detailed formative feedback on one of the scripts, which you can use to improve and develop your work for your final portfolio. You will focus on visual storytelling, layout conventions, and the issue of writing to scale (budget). You will also be encouraged to analyse, but also critique, dramatic construction in terms of character function, motivation and genre.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):
This Module focuses on the post production element of filmmaking. Specifically areas concerning editing techniques, colour correction and grading to aid narrative. Students will learn both the technical skills of audio and video editing as well as the grammar and structure that belong to the art in order to become better storytellers.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
This module builds on previous film textual analytical skills and theoretical studies undertaken at previous levels of the course and applies them to the critical, historical and theoretical study of Bollywood cinema (aka popular Hindi cinema) and related cultural industries. This is an option module for all students with an academic interest in the analytical and theoretical field of reading films closely, and will prepare students who wish to develop expertise and knowledge in areas that focus on historical and contemporary issues of culture, diaspora and globalization.
The module introduces you to the key debates related to the discipline of cult film studies, which has emerged over the last twenty years as a distinct aspect of critical interest within film and media theory.
Gaining a working knowledge of current film business trends and practices is at the core of this module. It combines taught seminars dedicated to current film employment practices with an industry guest speaker programme in order to provide a crucial toolkit that will assist in working within the contemporary film sector.
This module provides an opportunity to engage with and consider films that explore the perspectives and experiences of minority groups in western societies. The module will consider the intersectional barriers faced by those attempting to work within the film industry (both historically and in the current context) as well as the ways in which technology has democratized the form. The core consideration of this module will be who has been excluded from mainstream cinema, or had their work overlooked, and how in the current context this can be addressed. Further to this we will also focus on experimental film and video work and how non-mainstream contexts may provide an alternative place for film practitioners to explore their ideas.
This module will enable you to build upon your current reading and writing of short films, and to develop your range, technique and sophistication as a contemporary screenwriter, applying your knowledge to the writing of a short film script of 10 minutes in length. You will study a guide to writing short films and build on your practical application of screenplay formatting software. You will write one ‘Academy’ short screenplay of 10 pages, on which you will receive detailed formative feedback, enabling you to rewrite towards your portfolio assessment. You will focus on visual storytelling, layout conventions, the issue of writing to scale (budget) and will work collaboratively on writing, planning, shooting and editing a short film of 3-minutes’ length. While a group mark will be given for the collaborative component of the assessment, your moderator reserves the right to mark individually if it is apparent that individuals have contributed more or less than others.
As part of your Foundation Year you will be studying alongside Media, Journalism, Music Industries and PR students and you will be taught by staff from these disciplines.
Film as a subject requires skills from (and a critical awareness of) a wide range of media forms. By interacting with staff from different disciplines and working on projects across a wide variety of media, you will have the opportunity to develop a broader skillset going into your degree- ultimately making you a valuable team member for filmmaking and screenwriting projects, or a more informed film critic.
During the first year of the BA (Hons) Filmmaking course, you will be introduced to key film debates and production practices through modules such as Foundations of Filmmaking. This unit presumes no prior knowledge, and your introductory skilling here will be further expanded through the module Hollywood: Early Film to Blockbusters, which considers the filmmaking conventions in a range of Hollywood film formats, while the industrial practices of American cinema will be further explored complimented by a Film Industry Primer module that is also undertaken in this first year of study. Alongside a focus on U.S. based filmmaking practices, a Documentary: Theory and Practice module also undertaken in the first year offers you the opportunity to create your own short films based on documentary techniques in the field.
The second year of the course lets you expand your knowledge of filmmaking conventions through more detailed modules such Filmmaking Practices. As well as being able to undertake a range of optional modules around topics such as Screen Cultures, Cinema of the Seventies and Foundations of Screenwriting, this second year of study also provides a dedicated module on Festival Festivals, which outlines the key industry skills required to stage cinema events.
During the final third year of study, your knowledge of filmmaking considers both post-production techniques and national cinema traditions. A module on Postproduction Techniques considers a range of mainstream and experimental practices of cinema, while optional modules on Bollywood Cinema and Cult Film outline the importance of both non-Western and subcultural traditions of film. In addition, an optional module on Film Entrepreneurship allows you to assess key business practices that are relevant to the current cinema industry. As the culmination of your final year of study you will also undertake the Major Project module, which allows you to carry out an independent study of an aspect of cinema theory, film practice or an industry convention that has interested you as a result of your studies on the BA (Hons) Filmmaking course.
During your studies there will be practice-based opportunities to engage with a regional film festival such as Cine-Excess, an annual international film festival and conference on global cult film cultures. You will also be able to access film collections such as the Cult Film Archive during the course of your studies.
The Birmingham School of Media also has an established and inclusive research culture that promotes dialogue and collaboration between staff and students. The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) in the School of Media welcomes visiting researchers from across the world and holds regular research seminars which mix presentations from staff, PG students and speakers from a range of our collaborative partnerships. BCMCR welcomes all students to research seminars, which are free to attend.
For successful graduates there is a natural progression from the BA Film Business and Promotion to the MA Film Distribution and Marketing, focused on nurturing entrepreneurial producers and distributors, or the MA and MSc Future Media focused on exploiting digital media and marketing opportunities through emerging technologies and advertising agency techniques.
Alternatively, Birmingham School of Media at Birmingham City University offers a wide range of MA courses, allowing you to specialise in such areas as Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism, Data Journalism, PR, Event, Festival and Exhibition Management and Media and Cultural Studies.
Details can be found on the postgraduate section of the website.
The BA (Hons) Filmmaking course is located within the Birmingham School of Media, which has an excellent track record for graduate employment.
Within the School, the majority of graduates going into media-related roles. The course builds upon the School’s employability driven reputation, by opening avenues for students interested in potential careers in film research, film journalism, film archiving, marketing & PR, advertising and teaching film/media studies.
As well as gaining course-specific skills, you could also gain broader tools through our Graduate+ programme, which will help enhance your employment options by helping with careers development, employability activities, volunteering and part-time work experience.
Allied with this course-specific experience, you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s Careers Service, who can help with:
- Reviewing CVs, covering letters and application forms
- Career planning and decision making
- Preparing for interviews and assessment centres
- Developing portfolios
- Networking with employers
- Advice about self-employment and entrepreneurship
During your second year, you will have the opportunity to work as part of a mixed discipline team to respond to a brief, as part of an in-house placement element of the course.
In addition to this, there are regional opportunities for visiting and volunteering at film festivals, such as Cine-Excess, and for networking with producers and distributors who function as guest speakers at such events.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses.
With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.
You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.
Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.
Our teaching staff comprises specialists in their respective fields, including academics and industry professionals, all of whom are perfectly placed to offer a wealth of experience and knowledge. Birmingham School of Media students also benefit from access to high-profile guest speakers from across the industry.
A dynamic community that is responsive to the changing face of the media industry, Birmingham School of Media is the perfect starting point to your media career.
Ross leads the journalism pathway. He was previously a sports writer, sub-editor, page designer, news reporter, web editor, features writer and editor, before leading Trinity Mirror's digital programme in the Midlands. He also founded and currently runs award-winning hyperlocal website, LichfieldLive, which has been used an example of excellence in the hyperlocal scene.