What career outcomes are available to students after an MA in Film Studies?

Life after an MA in Film Studies: Teaching, Filmmaking and Festival/Event Management

postgraduate, film studies, masters, degree, student, study, ireland, university

Teaching: Dr Abigail Keating

I enjoyed every aspect of the MA, and I’ll always look back on that year with great fondness. It introduced me to a diverse range of filmmakers and cinematic movements, and it gave me the opportunity to carry out research on and write about one of my greatest passions.

Undertaking an MA equips you with very general but very important skills in written communication and project management, developed through research and the scholarly writing of your thesis and assignments. In the period after completing the MA and before undertaking a PhD in Film Studies, I worked as a web content writer and in a legal service for asylum seekers—both of which required strong communication skills, in terms of an ability to convey complex information in a cogent, concise manner. I have also been working freelance as a video editor, videographer and web designer for a number of years. While the MA is not a practice-based degree, it is a visual studies degree, and I am a firm believer that the theoretical aids the practical.

I was awarded my PhD in 2014. So, the MA was of course perfect training for what I am now doing. Currently, I am lecturing in Film and Screen Media at University College Cork. I have published widely on my areas of expertise, and I am co-founding editor (along with colleagues at UCC) and web designer of the open access journal Alphaville.”

Filmmaking: Shaun O’Connor

Since completing the Master in Film Studies, I have been working as a director and editor of short films and music videos. These have been screened all screened all over the world and won awards at various festivals, including the DC Shorts Film Festival, the Corona Cork Film Festival, the Fastnet Short Film Festival, the Kerry Film Festival, the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival and the Irish Music Television Awards.  Most recently, I directed ‘(R)onanism’, a short series for RTE / IFB Storyland, produced by the Oscar-winning Fantastic Films. I am currently editing ‘Pat’, a new short film that he directed starring Jon Kenny and John Creedon, which was filmed in various locations around County Cork. In addition to my film work, I have extensive experience in directing and editing music videos, ranging from local bands to working with national stars like Julie Feeney and Declan Sinnott, and extensive corporate work. My work can be viewed at www.shaunoconnor.com

The MA in Film Studies lived up to and surpassed my expectations; so many fascinating films and topics were covered extensively. The MA gave me a wonderful knowledge of film theory, which has been a tremendous reference point throughout my career. The exposure to and analysis of so many films that I’d previously never heard of was fantastic. And of course UCC, with its beautiful campus and excellent resources was such a great place to study before I began my film career in earnest. I’m still benefiting today from the contacts and friends that I made in my time there.   

Festival/event management: David Mullane

I joined the Corona Cork Film Festival staff in my final year of my BA and took on two positions: OutLook Programmer (programming the LGBT strand of the festival) and Jury Liaison Officer (responsible for the jury members and the awards process). I also worked for two years as the festival’s Industry Officer, liaising with MEDIA Desk Ireland. In March 2012, I became Festival Programmer of GAZE Film Festival, Dublin and delivered the twentieth edition of Dublin’s LGBT film festival, which was its most successful festival to date.  I have also worked for the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. Currently, I am the marketing and communications officer at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin.

I was satisfied with what I achieved and gained from the MA in Film Studies. There was a large team of lecturers and tutors, with varied teaching styles and approaches and there was a generous choice of modules offered which allowed you to tailor your experience of the course to suit you.

The most rewarding aspect of the MA was the coursework and the rigours of same, especially the presentations we made, which really served to improve our public speaking and presentation skills. I often use these skills in my work now. Also, my knowledge base of film history is invaluable in my film programming profession.

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