Graduate Diploma in Screen Arts (Film Making) - Invercargill

Qualification: Graduate Diploma
Level: 7

February to November


One year full-time

Location: Invercargill
Credits: 120

The Graduate Diploma in Screen Arts (Filmmaking) is a programme with a specialist discipline area that promotes and enhances the knowledge base, skills, and professionalism of creative media and film students.

Graduates will use industry standard digital filmmaking software to create a film project. They can apply knowledge of sound, screenwriting and video editing techniques that meet film industry requirements. This programme leads graduates to further study or employment in the screen arts sector.


BSA204 Screenwriting 2
Students will advance upon skills gained in BSA104 Screenwriting 1, with a particular focus on structure, conflict and character status.  Students will explore the principles of Hollywood-style feature film screenwriting. Students will refine their short film writing skills and script editing skills, and will be introduced to various forms of serial storytelling such as television or/and web-series drama.

BVA303  Research-Led Industry Practice 3
Students will undertake in-depth research for practice - supporting practice through focused theoretical framing that informs the critical questioning within Year Three practice based projects. Students will explore a range of approaches and attitudes to researching alongside/in practice and communicate projects findings within a variety of contexts.

Students will engage in activities which further develop their skills as professional practitioners.  They will engage in industry related internships gaining an understanding of organisational and operational requirements and be able to evaluate and operate within that environment. Students will refine and update their proposals to reflect the needs of their industry identifying skills needed and plan and manage internship activities to achieve these. 

Students will also obtain a first aid certificate and demonstrate an understanding of the demands of health and safety in the workplace.

BSA325  Project Management
Students will work on a collaborative group project within a studio environment. Students will receive a brief and form a company to produce and promote a collaboratively driven project.

BSA331  Digital Filmmaking 3
Students will strengthen skills required to operate within a deadline-driven production environment.  Students will build essential leadership and management skills, and learn to organise their time, whilst producing and directing a specialist film project.  Students will consider and document the legal and ethical implications of their actions with regard to film production.

Choose one of the following:

BSA234 Cinematography
Students will gain a theoretical understanding and practical experience of the lighting and camera tools and techniques used in digital cinema production.  Students will develop skills to an industry standard for both location and studio situations.

BSA227 Visual Effects Compositing
Students will critically analyse and evaluate tools and techniques, design processes and production of CGI live action visual effects projects. Students will use knowledge and skills gained to create a seamlessly composited, visually compelling short film.

This programme is eligible for the Zero Fees Scheme.

  • NO tuition fees
  • Direct material costs of $2228 (GST inclusive)

International Fees can be found here.

Students are stimulated to develop an inquiring and analytical approach to problems and issues, using independent judgment and creative thinking. Graduates of this programme are dedicated, professional practitioners who are prepared for life-long learning, with the desire to constantly update their knowledge and skills within a changing work environment.

This programme leads graduates to further study or employment in the screen arts sector as camera assistant, lighting assistant, director’s assistant, production coordinator, assistant scriptwriter, sound engineer, transmedia producer.

Applications are open to Bachelor degree graduates who can demonstrate equivalent, relevant, practical professional or educational experience in a related discipline.

Special Admission

Notwithstanding the above admission criteria, provided the applicant has successfully completed an approved course or programme, or has relevant industry experience, which is deemed to meet the required standard for entry, the applicant may be admitted to the programme.

Provisional Part-time Admission
An applicant, who does not meet academic criteria, may be provisionally admitted to enrol in one or more papers. Upon successful completion of the paper(s), the student may apply for special admission or admission by mature entry.

Additional Criteria

In addition, the following requirements also apply to applicants in all admission categories:

  • Applicants for the Graduate Diploma in Screen Arts (Filmmaking) are required to submit a portfolio of their work with their application and may be asked for a written submission. 
  • They are required to have a high competence in spoken and written English, 18 credits or more at Level 2 in NCEA literacy or an equivalent or more advanced English qualification.
  • Applicants must also submit a Graduate Diploma Research Proposal.

- Introduces key question

- States main argument

- Explains why the topic is of interest

- Defines key terms

- Discusses proposed research methodologies

- Demonstrates awareness of related contemporary work in the field

- Includes relevant references

- Outlines proposed timeline

- Outlines approach to documentation

- Identifies any ethical considerations

Portfolio Requirements

Applicants are required to submit a portfolio of their work with their application, as follows:

  • Portfolio One: examples of free-hand drawing (x10)
  • Portfolio Two: a digital portfolio/showreel showcasing digital storytelling skills. 
  • Statement: typed, double spaced statement X two A4 pages (outlining your interests and goals within the programme e.g. why are you choosing animation as a career?). 
  • Prior Learning: This course is designed for applicants who have already worked in the industry and need to hone their skills or already have a degree in a related field (fine arts, graphic design, film, 2D animation, gaming etc). 
  • Curriculum Vitae 
  • References: two specific references/testimonials from previous employers/lecturers who know you well and are able to recommend you for graduate study. Please include contact details. 
  • Interview: a time will be arranged for you to meet with the programme manager or appropriate staff member following the assessment of your application. 
  • Established Skills, Motivation & Passion: We are looking for a high level of skill, competency and motivation. Applicants must be proficient at self-driven research and analysis. This is a very intensive year suited to those who are committed to excelling in this exciting industry. 
  • Links to online portfolios and showreel accepted.

English Language Requirements

Applicants, whose first language is not English, or who come from a country where the language of instruction in schools is not English, are required to provide evidence of having achieved one of the following

NCEA Level 3 with University Entrance, or

an International Baccalaureate Diploma or Cambridge A- level qualification for which the teaching and assessment was conducted in English; or

Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA),or Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CertTESOL);or

Successful completion of all primary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand primary school years 1 to 8) and at least three years of secondary education (being the equivalent of three years from New Zealand secondary school years 9 to 13) at schools in either New Zealand,,Australia,Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States one of the countries listed in Rule 18.5 where the student was taught using English as the language of instruction; or

Successful completion of at least five years of secondary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand secondary school years 9 to 13) at schools in either New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States where the student was taught using English as the language of instruction; or

Successful completion of a Bachelor's Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Bachelor Honours degree, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Masters' Degree or Doctoral Degree, the language of instruction of which must be in English and which must be from a tertiary education provider from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States or

Successful completion of one of the following internationally recognised proficiency tests listed below to the level required of the programme of study and with all scores achieved in a single test during the two years preceding the proposed date of enrolment

IELTS test - Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5
TOEFL Paper based test (pBT) - Score of 550 (with an essay score 5 TWE)
TOEFL Internet based test (iBT) - Score of 60 (with a writing score of 18)
Cambridge English Examination - B2 First or B2 First for schools or C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency with a score of 169. No less than 162 in each skill.
OET - Minimum of Grade C or 200 in all sub-tests
NZCEL - a) Expiring Level b) Current: a) Level 4 (Academic) b) Level 4 (Academic)
Pearson Test of English (Academic) - PTE (Academic) score of 50 with no band score lower than 42
Language Cert - C1 Expert IESOL (LRWS) with PASS and no less than Pass in each skill
Trinity ISE - ISE II with no less than distinction in any band

* New versions of some NZCEL qualifications, and in some cases new qualifications, were published on 13 June 2017. These are intended to replace pre-existing versions and qualifications, which have been given expiring status until discontinued on 31 December 2019. (a) denotes expiring (b) denotes current

To be awarded the Graduate Diploma in Screen Arts (Digital Filmmaking) students must have been credited with all required papers as specified in the Programme Schedule. The total credit value of the Graduate Diploma in Screen Arts (Digital Filmmaking) is 120 credits.

Classes are held Monday to Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm at SIT's Downtown Campus (Don St, Invercargill).