23 October 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network
     
#IFTNTraining: Film & Documentary Course in GMIT
16 Jan 2017 :
With the CAO deadline looming (February 1st), IFTN has scoured some of the film and television courses Ireland has to offer for prospective students.

In the 2017 CAO, GMIT’s - Centre for Creative Arts & Media (CCAM) offer a 3 - Year Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (Level 8) in Film & Documentary, CAO Code - GA281.

Overview of the course

The Film & Documentary course is a three-year, Level 8 course and is very intensive. The first year is broadly foundational – where students get to sample a wide variety of disciplines and for the second and third year, students elect which of these subjects they would like to concentrate on. In terms of genre – the first year’s work within the genre of documentary, when in second year they work within the genre of fiction and for their final year – they elect which genre (fiction or documentary) they would like to work within.

There is a huge emphasis on working within teams on projects – and as such, staff help students develop their intercommunicative skills to work as part of a team to serve the ambition of various project work throughout the course.

What technical disciplines are covered in the course?

Editing, Cinematography, Production Design, Sound, 4D Design and Scripting.

What is the balance of Practice: Theory within the course?

The weighting is 60 (Practice): 40 (Theory).

How does the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Film & Documentary course prepare students for working in the industry?

Our graduates are ‘Thinking Practioners’, with a varied skillset – who have a grounded, industry-ready ability to integrate within a variety of industries. Some graduates work on Television (we have graduates on Game Of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, Ripper Street, An Klondike), feature films, commercials, documentaries, post-production facilities houses. Some students set up their own companies – with the advent of digital technologies, much commercial work is now published on the net, rather than Television or the cinema. Many graduates work within Galway’s thriving Audio Visual sector – while others work in Dublin, London or Los Angeles.

Last year, Galway was designated as a UNESCO City of Film, as it hosts a multitude of agencies based in Galway (Galway Film Centre, Ros Na Run, Creative Europe, Telegael, TG4, Solas Studios, Picture Palace, Galway Film Fleadh etc). One of the strengths of GMIT’s Film Documentary course is that it was designed to address the needs of industry – this serves both local industries and students by equipping them with skills that are pan national.

The Film & Documentary course is run in partnership with the Galway Film Centre in the Creative Arts and Media (CCAM) campus of GMIT. Along with the education programmes, new creative companies are basing themselves in CCAM all the time – recently gaming and animation companies have secured tenancy. This is exciting because, as new media converges with traditional filmmaking, it serves to offer more pathways to our students.

We enjoy a golden age of television drama and our students have been able to attend seminars such as Talking Drama (hosted by our partners in the Galway Film Centre) where they heard the working methodologies of top-tier showrunners like Beau Willimon (House Of Cards), Stuart Carolan (Love/Hate), Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) and Brian Cogman (staff-writer, Game of Thrones). It is enlightening for our students to recognise that the challenge to find their voice within their own work (short films/documentaries), is one that all creatives face.

But wherever our alumni travel to they never leave the film and documentary department at GMIT; they are part of a precious network for our staff and future graduates - a network that is creative, supportive and pioneering. 

Student Testimonials

Luke Morgan

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” One of our finest wordsmiths, W.B. Yeats, said that. And when he wasn’t filling pails or lighting fires, he was winning Nobel prizes.

I am a recent graduate of the Film & Documentary course in GMIT and I am in no way comparing myself to W.B. Yeats. However, his sentiment rings true with me: my lecturers opened my eyes to Bergman, Fellini and Abrahamson, and (in true monkey-see, monkey-do fashion), I was inspired to make films.

At the moment, I am working as a screenwriter in the Irish film industry. Three of my feature-length scripts have been optioned and are currently in development with production companies around Ireland. Recently, I travelled to the Norwegian Short Film Festival at Grimstad, in the south of Norway, in order to look for a Scandinavian co-producer for my next short film. The methods by which I accomplish my work today were devised in a GMIT classroom, encouraged and refined by GMIT lecturers. Through my teachers, I received industry contacts that I am currently working with. A good word from Celine is almost as powerful as a shiny Level 8 bachelor’s degree.

Galway is a UNESCO City of Film, and with a growing audio-visual sector that employs over 600 people, the time to jump on the reeling bandwagon is now. I’ve always wanted to tell stories, and doing this course enabled me to take risks, fail, improve and flourish on film sets. There was a necessary and helpful balance between practical work and academic study, with classes tailored to my individual needs.

The fire it’s set off in me is not a candle-light, or a Bunsen flutter. It’s a goddamn flamethrower. One that’ll keep my future bright for years to come.

 

Ryan Keane

I still struggle to find words to describe the incredibly comprehensive and enjoyable experience I had at GMIT, and the wisdom and wonderful personalities of the lecturers I studied under; not only were they ambassadors of the creative practices, but they were kind, and by the time I left, they were friends. 

Since leaving that warm environment of learning, I’ve landed fast on my feet, flying over to London to engage with a thriving and energetic industry. Equipped with tools and nuggets of wisdom that have helped me in more ways than I can count. I started as an intern for an integrated distribution and marketing platform, named We Are Colony - a global film streaming platform, and in my tenure of one year, I’ve risen through the ranks to now hold the position of Digital Content Specialist.

As well as my nine to five, I am working as a Video Editor for independent fiction film, and also as a Videographer and Editor for documentary film here in London, on top of efforts to secure publishing for my latest novel.

People who love what they do are few and far between, and I’m conscious of the old adage ‘if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life’. I happen to be that lucky, and I’m eternally grateful to GMIT for making that possible.

 

Heather Mills

Producer

Ireland is such an exciting place to be producing animation and the industry is expanding exponentially and is now recognised as one of the world-leaders in animation.

During my Film and Television degree it soon became apparent to me that I was particularly happy working in the production department and my lecturers encouraged it. I was lucky enough to land my first industry job straight out of college as a Production Assistant in a Galway based animation company.

In a few short years (and a lot of different projects) I worked my way up to Production Manager and worked in this position on three different internationally co-produced CGI-animated feature film. It was a steep learning curve. We were the only company in Ireland producing CGI-animated features at the time which made it all the more rewarding when those films sold around the world.

Over the years, I have worked with numerous different animation studios in various countries such as Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, Iceland and Estonia and my work has taken me all over Europe. I have also worked across a range of different formats including traditional 2D, CGI animation and stop-motion animation.

A couple of years ago, I was hired to line-produce a stop-motion series which was being produced in the first dedicated stop-motion animation studio in Ireland and I am now responsible for the studio’s slate of projects.

With all of the skills and experience that I have gained over the years, the seeds were sown during my time at GMIT. When you’re a student and learning about applying for international funding and distribution, you never dare to dream that one day you might actually be able to put it into practice. Now I am about to go into Production on the first stop-motion feature film ever to be produced in Ireland (a co-production with Estonia and Belgium) and I am very proud to be, for the first time, one of the Producers on the film. 

For more information on this course, click here.


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