Master in Creative Documentary
The Master in Creative Documentary is an international benchmark for its quality, its innovative character, its creative freedom and, above all, for its great ability to train new professionals. In its more than 10 courses, more than 33 documentary films have been produced that have participated in the main national and international festivals.
Classes start: 22 January, 2024
Classes end: 30 November, 2025 (To be confirmed)
Program ends: 12 January, 2026 (To be confirmed)
The Master in Creative Documentary provides a solid preparation, both theoretical and practical, on documentary making and production. It is an international benchmark for its quality, its innovative character, for creative freedom and, above all, for its great ability to train new professionals. Since its inception in 1998, the program has more than demonstrated its ability to transform its students' ideas into film.
The program prepares and trains young documentary makers and broadens the perspectives of professionals. It is based on a multifaceted vision of contemporary documentary, guaranteed by the personality and creative and professional experience of teachers and tutors and contrasted with experts from different countries. At the end of the course, each student will have collaborated in the development or production process of a documentary feature film and will have worked on their own project that has been positively evaluated by producers and broadcasters in the European audiovisual scene.
Directors such as Neus Ballús, Tatiana Huezo, Isaki Lacuesta and Mercedes Álvarez, among many others, attended this program. In the 13 editions held so far, more than 35 documentary films have been produced and have participated in major national and international festivals (Cannes, Berlinale, Locarno Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Visions du Réel, Seville European Film Festival, D'A, among others).
The program provides knowledge of the different phases of development, production, and post-production of a documentary. It also connects participants with the audiovisual industry through a variety of national and international agents.
The Master in Creative Documentary is endorsed by Pompeu Fabra University, the 1st Spanish university and the 15th best university in the world (of those with less than 50 years), according to the Times Higher Education ranking. In addition, UPF Barcelona School of Management has EQUIS accreditation, the most prestigious institutional recognition for business schools globally.
Why choose this program
Creating a school
The master has contributed to developing a distinctive cinematographic movement that is represented by former students such as Mercedes Álvarez, Neus Ballús, Renate Costa, Diego Dussuel, Tatiana Guezo, Núria Esquerra, Isaki Lacuesta, Victor Moreno, Lois Patiño, Lupe Pérez, Pilar Monsell and Amanda Villavieja.
More than 33 films made
The master has become an international benchmark in the production of films such as: En Construcción, Mones com la Becky, De nens, Veinte años no es nada, Cravan vs Cravan, Demonstration, Dies d'Agost, Bajarí, or Lo que arde.
The master is directed by Jordi Balló, 2005 National Culture Award winner in the film category, professor at UPF since 1993, visiting professor at Stanford University (California) and a key figure in the international panorama of contemporary documentary.
Work with renowned documentary makers
In previous courses, filmmakers of the stature of José Luis Guerin, Claire Simone, Victor Kossakovsky, Audrius Stonys, Sergei Dvortsevoy, Nicolas Philibert, Avi Mograbi, Claude Lanzman, Marcel Lozinski, Frederick Wiseman, or Óliver Laxe, among others, have given classes.
Help your project happen
The program gives you the tools to make your documentary project a reality. It supports you from the idea to the elaboration of a dossier and a teaser that will allow you to present your project to a producer, a forum or an international agent.
Building a community. Connections network.
The Master creates a community of filmmakers and audiovisual agents that allows for sharing the process of creating a documentary.
Who is it for?
The Master in Creative Documentary is aimed at audiovisual media professionals and Graduates in Audiovisual Communication and Communication Sciences or from other disciplines interested in training as project promoters, filmmakers, or producers.
The Master in Creative Documentary is structured into 3 subjects and a documentary project that is developed throughout Subjects I and II. The program ends with participation in the initiative projects of the Master.
Subject I: Narrative, aesthetics, history, and perspectives of the documentary
Film analysis. This subject will delve into the historical origins, forms, and genres of documentary cinema, its most prominent representatives, and their narrative and technical contributions, via a journey through the different styles or schools (direct cinema, cine verité, Kinoks, film-diary, participatory cinema, etc.), dedicating a part of the study to the history of documentary cinema in Spain. At the same time, film analyses will be carried out from the production point of view. Professionals in the audiovisual medium will show a selection of the works that they consider representative of the different trends in contemporary creation. New formats, new forms, and production strategies will be addressed.
Dedicated to specific problems of cinematographic staging. A filmmaker will work for a week with the students around a dramatic situation in their own creative universe, a practical exercise from which the problems posed by the filmic device in question will be addressed.
Documentary photography, school of the gaze. Historical tour through the main schools of documentary photography and their most relevant authors. An analysis that proposes recognizing in the gaze and the photographic method the gestures that constitute the various cinematographic representations of reality.
The documentary image today. Different perspectives (legal, journalistic, ethical, artistic, etc.) on the use of the image in the society of mass communication and its artistic possibilities. The sessions will approach the making and production from questions that arise in the framework of the law on intellectual property, image rights, and professional ethics.
Sound in creative documentary. Sound as a relevant element in the making of the documentary. Reflections on sound design as creative potential and analysis of sound staging strategies at different moments in the history of documentaries, especially in current lines of work.
Film construction through montage. The montage as a backbone of the narrative structure, the construction of characters, film time, etc. Review of the main theories of montage and influence of technological progress on cinematographic language.
Filmmakers of recognized international prestige present their point of view on the documentary gaze based on their own creation and the works that have influenced them. The documentary practice that unites them inscribes the cinema of reality in a field where documentary and fiction converge. Through the experiences that underlie each of their works, the main aesthetic lines of documentary production are reconstructed.
Seminar oriented to the design of production and the search and management of sources of financing and aid. Analysis of production needs (timing, budget, production plan, financing plan, etc.). Project presentation and sale strategies.
Subject II: Personal project development
Analysis of the different ways of explaining the documentary project. The students' projects will be worked on to find in each case the writing of the dossier (synopsis, treatments, description of characters, production plans, etc.) and the most appropriate forms of communication.
From the idea to the narrative development of the project. The tutorials are intended to shape the initial idea of each student's project. Aspects referring to the narrative structure, the temporal construction, the treatment of the characters, the formal proposal, the documentation work, etc. will be dealt with.
Organized into tutorials, individual monitoring, group sessions, individual documentation work, etc.
Pitching and project evaluation. Students will have the opportunity to present their projects to a group of television producers and programmers who will comment on the formal aspects and their viability. Some sessions will be dedicated to preparing the pitch.
Design and production strategies. Analysis of the production needs of personal projects. The aspects that determine decisions prior to the development of the script and the production process will be addressed: format, budgets, financing plan, and sales strategies. In a final phase, the possibilities of organizing pre-production, production, and post-production will be discussed.
Subject III: Participation in the initiative projects of the Master in Creative Documentary
Documentation needs and all those elements that deal with the discussion and script writing will be raised. As the project evolves, the assessment process on the viability of the documentary, the project financing strategy, and the preparation of the work plan will be looked at.
In this period, the filming of each of the documentary films will take place. Depending on the needs of the project itself and the profile of the students, they will assume different functions that have been assigned to them in the areas of production, documentation/script or filming.
In this block, the viewing and selection process of the images shot, editing and sound editing will be undertaken. At the same time, the tasks of presentation, distribution and exhibition will be carried out, as well as the monitoring of the commercialization and dissemination of the film.
The Master in Creative Documentary also includes the possibility of participating in practical activities and activities for personal and professional growth such as:
- Subject I aims for students to deepen their theoretical and aesthetic knowledge from documentary tradition to contemporary documentary creation, the contributions of documentary photography, documentary practice, and production and exhibition processes.
- Subject II covers the entire development process of each student's project in the master, working in parallel with Subject I (theoretical) and the progress of the Subject III projects. The work of the Master in Creative Documentary is oriented towards the evolution of each student's personal projects until the moment they are ready for filming. If filmed, the credits of the pieces produced must state that they have been developed within the framework of the Master in Creative Documentary. The development of personal projects will take place from January 2022 to February-June 2023 (date of pitch). The schedule for the tutorials will be set personally between the students and the project tutors.
- In Subject III the student will be able to participate in the development of three documentary projects in collaboration with three independent production companies. After the initial period of work with the director, there will be the possibility, depending on the nature of each project and the profile of each student, of joining any of the production phases. This subject will take place from February-June 2023 (date of pitch) until January 2024. The calendar and working hours of each of the projects will depend on the calendar established by the production company itself and the professionals linked to the film. The projects respond to the reality of the film industry, and so the calendar cannot be planned in advance.
- UPF-BSM Inside: is a group of interdisciplinary subjects (applied data, communication, creativity, innovation and project management, sustainability and leadership among others) that, if you take this program, you can access at no additional cost. They are 100% online and you can take them throughout the academic year at your own pace, as they have been designed as self-study subjects.
- LABED Program: After the Master in Creative Documentary you can access the Laboratory of Editorial Accompaniment of Creative Documentaries (LABED) where you will receive a 3,000 to 6,000 euros fund, and will be supported by tutors who will help you access the international market in better terms.
- Festivals Access: The Master helps with accreditation for festivals and documentary filmmaking-related events, both national and international. The Master's community is organised to attend documentary film events.
Once you have passed the program, you will obtain an electronic degree (e-Título) for the Máster de Formación Permanente en Documental de Creación issued by the Pompeu Fabra University
The e-Título is an authentic digital degree, issued in pdf format and electronically signed, with the same legal validity as if it were in paper format.
The Master in Creative Documentary is taught by a teaching team made up of professionals from the audiovisual sector as well as internationally renowned directors and documentary makers.
Associate Professor UPF
Associate Professor UPF
The teaching and learning methodology in the Master in Creative Documentary combines theory with practice. The student's own documentary project will be developed and presented in a pitch organized by the master.
Combination of theory and practice
The sessions combine theoretical knowledge and practical application, which allows you to see in depth the challenges that documentary professionals encounter on a daily basis.
Connection with professional reality
The program has had a great impact on the sector: 73 projects by students on the master have ended up being made, together with 33 films by established and new directors promoted by the master. All of them have been awarded at the best international festivals (Cannes, Locarno, IDFA, FID, among others).
Students participate directly on the conception and realization of documentaries by filmmakers and/or novices, while they are developing their own project in parallel. There is no simulation, they are works of great impact in the real world and can change things. This transmission model has been a reference for other universities and training and creation centres around the world.
Presentation of the developed written project, with an audiovisual teaser and a production plan, in a final pitch in front of a panel made up of professionals from the sector.
A theoretical work, which relates the seminar of Module 1 'Tour of the cinema of reality' with reflection on the staging of each project.
Project-oriented learning and the combination of lectures and active methodologies such as case studies, flipped learning, solving real problems and professional simulations allow the student to connect theory and practice, acquire advanced skills and achieve learning which is transferable to work.
You will have:
- Master's Final Project (TFM) or Postgrad Final Project (TFP)
- A personal mentor to monitor your final project (TFM or TFP)
- Digital resources to achieve transversal skills
- Interdisciplinary activities and workshops
On the Master in Creative Documentary you will share a classroom with national and international students and you will learn to examine new models of production, current and real. You will also undertake your own documentary project in collaboration with producers and broadcasters of the European audiovisual scene. You will be able to participate in the development and production of a documentary feature film and create your own documentary at the end of the master.
You will share a classroom with students from different national and international origins, which will allow you to grow not only academically, but also culturally and personally. Our students come from various academic backgrounds and professions. This contributes to creating a multidisciplinary and collaborative spirit, enriching for all.
Previous studies in Audiovisual Communication
Previous studies in Journalism
Previous studies in Psychology
At the end of the master, thanks to the training received and participation in real projects, students will be able to join different positions in the cinema and audiovisual sector, with a special focus on the field of the documentary genre.
- Project Producer
- Audiovisual editing
- Director of photography
- Director's Assistant
- Cultural Management
- Film management
- Sound recordist
Admission and enrolment
Our admission process consists of a rigorous evaluation of each application to preserve the quality of the group as well as the training, experience, and work capacity of all students.
Who can apply?
University graduates in Audiovisual Communication, in Fine Arts, in Journalism, in Communication Sciences or in other degrees at this university level related to these fields.
It will be an essential requirement to submit an idea for the project from which the pre-registered participants will be selected, an idea to be developed in a minimum of two pages.
Those participants who do not have Spanish as one of their mother tongues or who did not have it as a teaching language in their training studies, must prove that they have at least a B2 level of Spanish (Common European Framework of Reference), as well as fluently take part in a personal interview with the academic director, if necessary.
How to apply?
To apply for admission to this program, students must read and accept the Terms and Conditions of Contract once they start the application for admission through the following form.
Application for admission
Complete your application within the next admission rounds:
|Round||Application deadline||Admission resolution|
Applications for admission will be evaluated when you complete the following steps:
- Complete the online admission form.
- Pay the €120 admission fee. This amount will be returned if you are not admitted.
- Send the following documents through the online platform e-registrar:
- Presentation letter or video
- Scanned copy of university degree (if you are in the last year of your degree, you can provide your academic records)
- Scanned copy of Transcript of Records. Make sure that it includes your GPA (Grade Point Average)
- Scanned copy of ID Card or Passport
- Passport-size photo (jpg format)
Additional documents may be requested in certain cases.
Application rounds are subject to the number of places available on the program.
- The Admissions Committee will select the candidates on the basis of a personal or CV-based interview.
- You will be notified of the admission decision in writing.
- Registration must be paid within a 15 days after the admission.
- Once the letter of acceptance to the program has been received, you will need to submit the following original documents before the course begins:
- Stamped and/or authenticated photocopy of your university degree.
- If you have a foreign degree you may need to submit additional documents.
- Paying the reservation fee (25% of the program's tuition fees) is essential in order to reserve your place
- If you pay the tuition fees by bank transfer you will be required to introduce the program code. The program code for this course is 1013.
- The remaining tuition fees must be paid 2 weeks before the start of the course.
Grants, scholarships and financing
The UPF Barcelona School of Management offers you different means of financing so that you can take any of our programs without worry. We offer you the opportunity to finance part of your program, either by rewarding your talent through scholarships, through grants from entities dedicated to promoting education or through collaboration agreements with financial entities.
Grants and discounts
You can choose how to finance your studies by consulting our simulator and receive an answer in less than 24 hours.
In addition, we collaborate with various entities which provide study loans on favorable terms. For more information you can contact any of the following links.
Master in Creative Documentary