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“We endeavour to attract and support the finest filmmaking talent from around the world”

Industry Report: European Film Schools

Gisli Snaer • Director and CEO, London Film School


Our conversation revolved around the main opportunities offered to prospective students by the prestigious British film school

Gisli Snaer • Director and CEO, London Film School

Cineuropa caught the opportunity to chat with Gisli Snaer, director and CEO of the London Film School (LFS), to discuss the main learning opportunities offered to prospective students. The prestigious British institution is part of both GEECT (European Grouping of Film and Television Schools) and CILECT (International Association of Film and Television Schools). 

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Cineuropa: What is your school’s main teaching mission?
Gisli Snaer: Here in the heart of London, we nurture distinctive independent storytellers who have a unique voice, and we foster in our students the creation of inspirational narratives. We endeavour to attract and support the finest filmmaking talent from around the world. Our students develop diverse skills and a broad talent base which positions LFS as an agent of talent discovery and development contributing to the global screen industries.

What are the main benefits of attending LFS for prospective international students?
Students at LFS benefit from being surrounded by a global student body in a central city location, learning hands-on skills in a hothouse environment. On our MA (Master of Arts) Filmmaking course, LFS students gain important filmmaking skills, practising them collaboratively in a working unit. Every film career is enriched by active practical knowledge of other specialisations which makes an LFS graduate stand out from future professional colleagues with a single specialisation, at any level.

The MA Screenwriting course is also a demanding and intensive course and aims to encourage writing as a continuous practice. This programme stimulates reflective and critical approaches and provides a specific historical background to film narrative, genres, and dramaturgy. Students gain expertise and experience that form the foundations of their professional screenwriting practice. 

On both courses, networks are forged that help propel graduates into the screen industries. Both MA programmes are validated by the University of Warwick and accredited by Screenskills. The School has now also been voted Top International Film School for the second year running by The Hollywood Reporter. We also run an MA International Film Business in collaboration with the University of Exeter.

What type of study programmes do you offer? What are the main subjects?
On our two-year MA Filmmaking course, learning is based around short film production where, each term, film exercise becomes increasingly technically sophisticated, more considered, and complex in its ambitions. 

This is an intensive programme which trains students to a professional level in a full range of filmmaking skills. Students leave with a portfolio of directing, cinematography, editing, producing and sound credits on at least 10 films — usually many more. Around 180 films are produced annually on this programme. The graduate films screen at and have won prestigious many prizes, including the Cannes Palme d’Or, Berlinale Silver Bear, Locarno Film Festival, among others.

Whilst we specify the skill base for each exercise, we provide the equipment and train students to new levels in each of the various craft skills, students make all aesthetic decisions, and solve problems like those faced by professional units, on a steeply increasing slope of difficulty during the programme. 

The MA Screenwriting course also embeds professional practice and industry involvement. On this course, screenwriters’ entrepreneurial capacities are developed, and their employability is enhanced. Our tutors are experienced, practising professionals and include screenwriters, producers, directors, development executives and are also experienced educators.

Do you provide any scholarships?
We provide LFS bursaries for our MA Filmmaking and MA Screenwriting programmes and anticipate for these to cover 25 to 50% of the tuition fees.

We also have a Leverhulme Arts Trust scholarship for both MA courses for students looking to start in September 2022. This scholarship covers 100% of the tuition fee on either the MA Filmmaking or Screenwriting course. The application deadline for this scholarship is 10 June 2022. 

To be eligible for either LFS bursary or Leverhulme scholarship, you will need to have received an LFS offer. Full details of available financial support can be found here.

How should a student prepare for the admission?
Entry requirements differ per MA programme and can be read in full here for the MA Filmmaking and the MA Screenwriting. Deadlines for the various start dates can be found here.

How are you adapting teaching and other study activities owing to the pandemic?
The health and wellbeing of our community remain our priority. Our learning outcomes also remain, as we adopted blended learning which consists of both online and on-site practical teaching. In case of an instruction from Public Health England, we may need to review our blended learning delivery and respond to ensure compliance with Government advice. Until such a time, Covid-safe working practices and safety measures are utilised whilst practical filming and studies on-site are conducted in small class sizes and in line with government and industry guidelines.

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