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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Documentary Masterclass & Prop Dev
Module Code CM5999
School Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Tom Burke
Semester 2: Tom Burke
Autumn: Tom Burke
Module TeacherNo Teacher Assigned
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

The module features a series of guest lectures from leading industry figures in documentary film, audio and photography. Speakers will change each year depending on the impact and calibre of work being produced. Documentary directors will be well represented in the cohort but will be augmented by editors, producers and cinematographers as well as other professionals who have a major input into the finished documentary work. Each session is characterized by a screening of a particular film, photographic or audio project, a lecture by the guest and a questions and answers session. Concurrently, students will be tasked with developing their major group production during the semester. This development period will culminate in a pitching session to industry professionals in Week 12

Learning Outcomes

1. Have an understanding of the professional environment in which documentary films, photo projects and podcasts are produced.
2. Have an understanding of the timeframes in which these works are produced.
3. Understand the various funding models, both in Ireland an abroad, that apply to the projects under discussion.
4. Discover the various roles involved in making work at a professional level, how these roles evolve and what the crossover is between them.
5. Conceive of which projects are most suited to which funders and vice versa. Students should learn to connect their own idea with potential sources of funding and/or broadcast, distribution or other public dissemination venues i.e. gallery spaces.
6. To research, develop and evolve the proposal for their major group project for the programme.
7. To pitch their developed proposal in person to a panel of industry professionals and to respond to live feedback, queries and suggestions.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Independent Study36Assigned Independent Weekly Reading
Independent Study41Research
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Potential List of Guest Speakers for 2023/24

Emer Reynolds
documentary filmmaker (The Farthest, Here Was Cuba)

Ross Whitaker
documentary filmmaker (Katie, The Mark Pollock Story, Saviours)

Dave Hughes
colourist (The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, Leviathan)

Ciaran Cassidy
filmmaker, journalist & podcast producer (Jihad Jane, Where is George Gibney)

Zlata Filipovic
documentary film producer (How to Tell a Secret, Welcome to a Bright White Limbo)

Steve Fanagan
sound designer for Film and television (The Dance, To the Moon)

Ross McDonnell
filmmaker and photographer (Joyriders:PhotoBook, Colony)

Patrick Bolger
photographer, filmmaker and activist

Kate McCullough
director of photography (His n Hers, I, Dolours, An Cailin Cuin)

Rachel Lysaght
documentary producer (The Pipe, Pure Grit)

Anne Roper
former head of RTE internal documentary unit

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
PresentationPreliminary Proposal Development100%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Flynn, Roddy: 2019, Historical Dictionary of Irish Cinema, Rowman & Littlefield,
  • O'Brien, Harvey: 2004, The Real Ireland: The Evolution of Ireland in Documentary Film, Manchester University Press,
  • McKeogh & O'Connell: 2012, Documentary in a Changing State,
  • Rogers, H: 2015, Music and Sound in Documentary Film,
  • Winston, Vanstone, Gail: 2017, The Act of Documenting: Documentary Film in the 21st Century, Bloomsbury Publishing,
  • Corner & Cox: 2018, Soundings: Documentary Film and the Listening Experience, University of Huddersfield Press,
  • Tsang, H: 2013, Semiotics and Documentary Film: The Living Sign in Cinema, De Gruyter Mouton,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MADPMasters in Documentary Practice

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