Covid-19 and The Department of Film
FAQ, September 1, 2020-21
In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, unclear governmental guidelines, and careful (hence, slow) decision making in the HE sector and at College level, the Film Studies department has been working hard to provide a suitable programme for next academic year.
The university has a webpage dedicated to information and planning for 2020-21: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/coronavirus/ Please familiarise yourself with the information there before reading this document.
The following FAQ is designed to brief you on the current state of play at subject level.
Will Welcome Week be virtual?
Yes. All Welcome Week and induction activities will be conducted virtually.
Will there by advising and feedback/office hours?
Yes, you will have an academic advisor; this system will operate virtually
Will academic year 2020-21 be fully online?
Yes. Modules with exams (of which there are very few in Film Studies) will offer alternative assessments.
Can I say at home and not travel to London/the UK?
Yes. There will be no detriment to studying remotely, either in the UK or further afield. However, please note, that if you are based in the EU it is important find out how the UK leaving the EU at the end of 2020 will affect your ability to live in the UK longer term. For example, if you are planning to stay in the UK and live/work after your degree it may be advisable to travel to the country before the end of 2020. Here are links to information from the British Council and the UK government: https://study-uk.britishcouncil.org/moving-uk/eu-students and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/studying-in-the-uk-guidance-for-eu-students
If I want to come to campus can I?
Yes. You’ll see from the general guidance that the Library, Student Union, and other facilities are open. The accommodation service has some useful resources, including planning related to any need to quarantine/isolate: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/residences/college/faqs/ and https://www.qmul.ac.uk/residences/acc-contact-us/
Will there be scheduled classes?
To ensure that we can accommodate everyone (including people in different time zones) the emphasis is on non-scheduled classes but each module will have some scheduled elements, and these will be timetabled as normal. Where possible these will also be recorded and made available on QM+.
For modules that involve screenings will the films be provided online (with appropriate subtitling if necessary)?
Yes. Films will be provided via platforms such as Box of Broadcasts and BFIPlayer (to which we will have an institutional subscription in 2020-21). Additionally, some films may be made available to download via the QM+ Media Player.
Will books be provided?
Yes. Written material will be provided in e-book form by the library or in PDF format via QM+.
What will a typical weekly session for a module look like?
This will vary from module to module but will usually comprise a combination of online reading and viewing, curated screenings, recorded lecture elements, and virtual seminars. Here is information about the virtual classroom software that is integrated into QM+: https://elearning.qmul.ac.uk/guide/an-overview-of-blackboard-collaborate/ We may also use Microsoft Teams, to which you will also have access.
How will filmmaking/production classes be handled?
Initially we were hoping that things would return to normal for Semester B, and all film practice teaching was relocated to that semester for that reason. That now looks unlikely and the College has decided to undertake all teaching remotely in 2020-21. We are currently reconfiguring how we will deliver film practice teaching. Here is the latest planning for specific modules. We have sought to retain a strong filmmaking dimension at Level 6 (to ensure students finish their degrees with relevant filmmaking experience, and because this Level counts most to final classification). Please bear in mind some of this may be subject to change.
Film Practice: remote filmmaking for level 4 and 5 students
The Film Practice team is working to make sure that filmmaking can continue given the current CV19 restrictions. It isn't possible for face-to-face workshops and teaching to go ahead at the moment and for the near future, and so we have made a number of adjustments to film practice modules to ensure you can continue to learn about filmmaking and where possible make films as a part of your coursework.
For level 4 and 5 students, this centres around extensive film production planning, mobile phone filmmaking and/or editing using found footage. We will be producing a range of video tutorials to assist you in this area of working. A number of high-profile films have been made using these methods in recent years, including Steven Soderbergh's Unsane and High Flying Bird, High Fantasy by Jenna Bass, Tangerine by Sean Baker, Senna and Amy by Asif Kapadia, and Peter Jackson's They Shall Not Grow Old. This year Directing Fiction (level 5) will focus on production preparation and this is something that in the past students have felt the lack of, and act as a targeted precursor to level 6 Creative Production.
Everyone in the department understands that the situation is deeply frustrating. However, limitations can often be a virtue and lead to better filmmaking. We have seen from our recent graduating level 6 and MA students an incredible level of inventiveness and some of the best films to have come out of the programme.
We are also planning a unique in-person film school for when the restrictions lift. This will most likely involve workshops and group production activity blocked across two intensive weeks. More on that to follow...
Level 4 Production Skills.
This is the first year thirty-credit module for single honours BA Film Studies students and it is running in the second semester. It teaches narration in film: blocking and continuity. To run the module this year you will have a whole group online lecture each week and a small group webinar. For the practical assessment it will be a portfolio production with the members of a production group working to producing an element for the assignment or working together on the same elements to produce the assignment work. The tutors will work with each group to design how they can successfully complete the brief: with stills, with phone footage, with DSLRs, camcorders, and with or without editing. Editing on campus will be limited because the number of computers permitted in the editing suites has been highly reduced and full filming kits/loan equipment have been set aside for final year use because the usual system of short-term loans with the frequent transfer of kit from person to person is not possible. The practice teaching is constrained for your first year, but it will offer you the knowledge that is needed to be able to successfully progress to the second and third years of your degree.
Level 5 Documentary Theory and Practice
On this module the documentary films will be made using mobile phones but it will otherwise cover all the same content and learning objectives as it would normally. The assessment of the module will be adjusted to account for the use (and limitations) of phone technology.
Level 5 Directing Fiction
This module will not use filming equipment and the final adjusted assessment will be a detailed storyboard made of stills taken with a phone or carefully illustrated/drawn.
Level 6 Creative Production
Students on this module will have access to film equipment from Week 8, with specific Covid-19 ‘safe’ arrangements made for the collection of this equipment. The deadline will be extended to reflect this. Students will also have access to editing equipment on campus, if required.
Level 6 Research Project by Film Practice
Each student on this module will be given relevant equipment in week 1 of semester 2, and will need to return it after reading week at start of week 8. Edit suites will be available on campus but will need to be pre-booked
Will the situation change if Covid-19 is brought under control?
We will monitor the situation but the delivery of the whole year remotely will not be altered. One option we are exploring is offering intensive residential film production courses in Spring 2021 to allow, especially Level 5, students to catch up on the technical training/filmmaking experience they might have missed.
- Joint Hons students please note that this information relates only to Film Studies in SLLF. Other Schools may have different arrangements.
If you have further queries please contact the following people:
- Specific programme planning or personal issues: your academic advisor (see MYSIS for info)
- General queries related to Level 4 (Year 1): Guy Westwell firstname.lastname@example.org
- General queries related to Level 5 (Year 2): Libby Saxton email@example.com
- General queries related to Level 6 (Year 3): Eugene Doyen firstname.lastname@example.org
- Year Abroad: Mario Slugan email@example.com
- MA Film: Sasha Litvintseva firstname.lastname@example.org
- MA Documentary Practice: Athena Mandis email@example.com
- Postgraduate research: Libby Saxton firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 1 Sept 2020