South Africans looking to study abroad should take note of a new partnership between the University of Exeter and the London Film School. This five-year agreement will enable doctoral film students to hone their filmmaking skills alongside their academic studies.
Some years ago the award-winning South African filmmaker, Oliver Hermanus (Shirley Adams, Skoonheid) won a private scholarship to attend at the London Film School.
The agreement was signed at the University of Exeter on Monday 9 January by University of Exeter Registrar and Chief Executive David Allen and Mike Leigh, Chairman of the London Film School (LFS) and multi-award-winning director of films including Secrets and Lies, Vera Drake and, most recently, Another Year. They were joined by Professor Nick Kaye, Dean of the College of Humanities, Ben Gibson, Director of the LFS, and Alan Bernstein, Head of Studies at the LFS.
The alliance will enable the institutions to launch the new Exeter-London Film School Doctoral Programme. Unique in the UK, this programme will offer students the opportunity to develop both research and professional skills in film. They will have access to the professional expertise, experience and facilities at the LFS as well as to the academic excellence of researchers, research culture, and academic resources at the University of Exeter. Ultimately students will need to demonstrate not only the scholarly research required of a doctorate but also professional craft excellence through the creation and submission of a finished film.
Leigh commented: “Our new relationship with the College of Humanities at Exeter is very exciting. It’s gratifying to be working with kindred spirits, and I’m confident that this doctoral programme will play a vital role in the serious, innovative cinema of tomorrow.’
Kaye said: “We are hugely excited to be embarking on this exceptional journey with the London Film School. By combining our strengths we are able to offer innovative and exciting opportunities for postgraduate research that will not only benefit students, but also the film industry. I look forward to a very fruitful partnership.’
Gibson added, “As a School, we’re committed to finding the right ways for filmmakers to develop their ideas and their craft. This is the first time that a PhD programme based on practice has been able to take the craft element at its full value, and to balance the process and the outcome in a way that will make the fruits of research visible. Our colleagues at the College of Humanities are ambitious and radical. This will be an important Partnership.’
Since 1956 LFS has trained thousands of directors, cinematographers, editors and other film professionals now working across the globe. Alumni include many great filmmakers and very successful technicians, covering all kinds of cinema – names like Michael Mann, Tak Fujimoto, Roger Pratt, Ueli Steiger, Iain Smith, Danny Huston, Franc Roddam, Anne Hui, Duncan Jones and Bill Douglas. LFS is one of only three “Skillset Film Academies’, accredited by the UK film industry as centres of excellence.
Teaching and research in Film Studies, offered through the College of Humanities at the University of Exeter, draws on world-class film research resources and a wide range of staff expertise which spans film history and theory across American, East Asian, European, African and other World cinemas. The Bill Douglas Centre at the University of Exeter provides a research collection of international stature. The museum illustrates the development of optical recreation and popular entertainment from the late 18th century to Classical Hollywood and the present day. Complementing the University’s existing extensive resources for the study of popular culture, the Collection’s 18,000 books give Exeter the country’s largest University library on cinema.