Master in Creative Documentary

Program curriculum and final degree

Program Curriculum

Module I: Narrative technique, aesthetics, history and perspectives of the documentary

The aim of this module is for the participants to gain in-depth theoretical and aesthetic knowledge from the documentary tradition to the contemporary creative documentary, from the contributions of documentary photography, documentary practice and the production and screening processes. The different subjects which make up this module will be dealt with in various seminars, case studies and projections:

  • History and aesthetics of documentary films This seminar will study in depth the historical origins, forms and genres of documentary films, their most important representations and their narrative contributions and techniques, by means of a journey around the different styles or schools (direct cinema, cinéma vérité , cine-eye, film-diary, participatory cinema, etc.), dedicating part of the study to the history of documentary films in Spain.
  • Approaches to the documentary perspective Directors of recognised international prestige offer their point of view of the documentary perspective starting from their own creation and from the works that have influenced them. The documentary practice that unites them inscribes cinema of reality in a field where documentary and fiction converge. The main aesthetic lines of documentary production are reconstructed through the experiences underlying each of their works.
  • Retake Seminar Practical seminar dedicated to specific problems of cinematographic mise-en-scène. A filmmaker will work for one week with the participants on a dramatic situation characteristic of their creative universe, a practical exercise starting from which the problems raised by the filming device brought into question will be tackled.
  • Analysis of contemporary documentary The contemporary documentary from the production viewpoint. Professionals from the audiovisual medium will show a selection of the works that they consider as representative of the different trends in contemporary creation. The new formats, new forms and production strategies will be tackled.
  • Documentary photography, school of the gaze Historical journey around the main schools of documentary photography and their most important authors. An analysis which proposes recognising, in the photographic gaze and method, the gestures which make up the different cinematographic representations of reality.
  • Current documentary image Different perspectives (legal, journalistic, ethical, artistic, etc.) on the use of the image in mass media society and its artistic possibilities. The sessions will offer an approach to direction and production starting from the questions raised in the framework of intellectual property law, image rights and professional ethics.
  • Sound in creative documentary Sound as an important element in the production of the documentary. Reflection on sound design as creative potential and analysis of sound mise-en-scène strategies at different times in the history of the documentary, especially in the current lines of work.
  • Film construction through editing Editing as the backbone of the narrative structure, the development of characters, filmic time, etc. Review of the main theories of editing and influence of technological evolution on cinematographic language.
  • Production, distribution and screening of the documentary project Seminar geared toward production design and the search for and management of sources of funding and subsidies. Analysis of production needs ( timings , budget, production plan, funding plan, etc.). Strategies for presentation and sale of the project.

Module II: Development of own projects.

This second module covers the whole development process of the projects of each participant on the master's degree programme, operating parallel to the first (theoretical) module and the evolution of the projects from the third module. The work of the Master in Creative Documentary is geared toward the evolution of the personal projects of each participant until they are ready to be produced. In the event of being produced, the credits of the pieces produced must mention that they were developed in the framework of the Master in Creative Documentary.

The sessions are organised as tutorials, individual monitoring, group sessions, individual documentation work, pitchings , etc.

  • From the idea to the narrative development of the project The aim of the tutorials is to give shape to the initial idea of each participant's project. They will deal with aspects relating to narrative structure, time construction, treatment of characters, formal proposal, documentation work, etc.
  • Presentation of the project Analysis of the different ways of explaining the documentary project. Work will be carried out on the participants' projects in order to find the dossier writing in each case (synopsis, treatments, description of characters, production plans, etc.) and the most appropriate communication forms.
  • Pitching and project assessment The participants will have the opportunity to present their projects before a group of television producers and programmers who will discuss their formal aspects and viability. Some sessions will be devoted to preparing the pitching .
  • Production design and strategies Analysis of the production needs of the personal projects. Aspects will be tackled which determine the decisions prior to the development of the script and the production process: format, budgets, financing plan and sale strategies. The final phase will deal with the possibilities of organizing the pre-production, production and post-production.

Module III: Participation in the projects which are initiatives of the Master in Creative Documentary

In each edition the master's programme proposes three documentary projects in collaboration with three independent production companies. The master's programme students will participate in the process for the development of the project. After the initial period of work with the director it will be possible, depending on the nature of each project and the profile of each participant, to join one of the production phases.

  • Pre-production, script and documentation The documentation needs of all those elements related to the discussion and writing of the script will be covered. As the project evolves, the process of assessment of the viability of the documentary, the project's financing strategy and the preparation of the work plan will be followed.
  • Production and shooting In this period, the shooting of each of the documentary films will take place. Depending on the needs of the project and the profile of the participants, the latter will take on different functions which will have been awarded to them in the production, documentation / script or direction areas.
  • Editing and post-production This block will follow the process of viewing and selection of the images filmed, editing and soundtrack. The tasks of presentation, distribution and screening will be carried out at the same time, in addition to the follow-up of the marketing and dissemination.


* The information contained herein may be subject to changes.

Final Degree

QUALIFICATION Master in Creative Documentary, issued by the Pompeu Fabra University. Class attendance, passing the corresponding tests and submission of assignments requested are essential in order to obtain the qualification.