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Study information


Module titleDissertation
Module codeEAFM203
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Mrs Victoria Thomas (Convenor)

Professor Will Higbee (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The final dissertation will be related to an issue covered on one of the modules that is then developed by you into an independent study of 15,000 words. The specific topic for the dissertation will be selected by you in discussion with one of the course tutors – acting as the dissertation supervisor – ensuring that the final dissertation is informed by the overarching learning process of the MA International Film Business as a whole. You will work with both your allotted supervisor and with an industry-based mentor, who will offer an industry-based perspective on the topic. The mentor will be appointed in consultation with the course leaders from Exeter (Jezz Vernon) and LFS (Victoria Thomas).


Module aims - intentions of the module

The dissertation is the culmination of the Master's programme. It requires you to conceive, plan, research and write-up an independent study of 15,000 words. The dissertation provides you with the opportunity to test your learning, display your subject knowledge and methodological skills, and explore in detail a topic that interests you.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Formulate at an advanced level a research proposal and plan and execute advanced research
  • 2. Discuss and analyse at an advanced level the economics of international film production, finance and distribution appropriate to their chosen area of enquiry
  • 3. Critically evaluate at an advanced level current research and industry practices in the discipline and in their chosen area of enquiry
  • 4. Use and apply at an advanced level a range of research techniques and methodologies, business models and industry practices appropriate to the discipline and to their chosen area of enquiry
  • 5. Critically evaluate and revise at an advanced level your own academic work and vocational practice in the light of feedback from the supervisor and peers
  • 6. Present your dissertation in accordance with the norms and conventions appropriate to the discipline

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Demonstrate a sophisticated and intellectually mature ability to analyse film and the economics of international film production, finance and distribution of different periods and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context
  • 8. Demonstrate advanced and autonomous skills in the research and evaluation of relevant critical and historical materials for the study of film and the economics of international film production, finance and distribution
  • 9. Demonstrate an advanced and autonomous ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to films and models of international film production, finance and distribution
  • 10. Digest, select, and organise at an advanced level interdisciplinary material and to trace the development of debate across disciplinary boundaries
  • 11. Make a contribution to a particular scholarly field and body of research in relation to practical models of international film production, finance and distribution
  • 12. Devise, research, and execute a programme of research

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 13. Through the planning and organisation of large-scale research dissertations, demonstrate independence of thought and confidence in developing ideas and formulating questions
  • 14. Through the writing of large-scale research dissertations, construct work of substantial length, detail, and some originality
  • 15. Through responses to constructive feedback, demonstrate an advanced and intellectually mature ability to reflect upon and strengthen written and other work

Syllabus plan

You are encouraged to begin to think about potential topics for your dissertation in the second half of term 2. You should do this in discussion with your course tutors from both Exeter and LFS.

You will be required to develop and submit an initial proposal by the end of term two. Once the initial proposal has been submitted, you are assigned to a supervisor with interests and knowledge appropriate to the chosen topic.

You are also required to pitch your dissertation to course tutors at the dissertation symposium that takes place at the start of term 3.

You will then work closely in term 3 with your allotted supervisor and industry mentor, who will be appointed by an advisory panel based at the London Film School to offer practical guidance and advice to you. Working with both your supervisor and your mentor, you will develop and bring your dissertation to completion.

Each student will be allowed up to 5 supervision sessions and 3 meetings with their industry mentor.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15A workshop and five supervision sessions
Guided independent study585To include reading, viewing and writing preparation for workshops and supervision sessions. Archival research, development of dissertation proposal and dissertation and writing up of dissertation proposal and final dissertation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Dissertation proposal200 words1-5, 7-13Written feedback provided by dissertation supervisor

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Dissertation9015,000 words1-15Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutor follow up
10 minute pitch (individual presentation)1010 minute pitch and 7-10 slide pitch-deck 1-15Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutor follow up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
DissertationDissertation1-15Referral/Deferral period
10 minute pitchDissertation proposal1-15Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

These will vary, depending on the precise focus of the dissertation, though likely to include:

Primary texts:

  • Angus Finney, The International Film Business: A Market Guide Beyond Hollywood, Routledge, 2010.
  • Christine Vachon, Austin Bunn, John Pierson, A Killer Life – How an Independent Film Producer Survives Deals and Disasters in Hollywood and Beyond, Simon & Schuster 2006.
  • Thomas Elsaesser, European Cinema: Face to Face With Hollywood, Amsterdam University Press, 2005.
  • Iordanova, Dina et al., The Film Festival Yearbook 1: the festival circuit, St Andrews Film Studies, 2009.
  • Iordanova, Dina and Cunningham, Stuart, (Eds.), Digital Disruption – Cinema Moves On-Line, St Andrews: St Andrews Film Studies, 2012.
  • MacDonald, P. and Wasko, J. (eds), The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry, Willey-Blackwell, 2008.

Selected secondary texts:

  • Eberts, J. & Ilott, T., My Indecision is Final: the Rise and Fall of Goldcrest Films, Faber 1992. 
    Finney, A., The Egos Have Landed: The Rise and Fall of Palace Pictures, Arrow, 1997.
  • Schatz, Thomas The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio era, University of Minnesota Press, 2010 (3rd edition).
  • Tzioumakis, Yannis, American Independent Film: An Introduction, Edinburgh University Press, 2006.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

International Film Business

Credit value60
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date