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The Shanghai Vancouver Film School Track

of the Global MFA in Cinematic Arts

Introductory Residency

A nine-day, 2 credit residency at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in August of each year provides an immersive survey of the International MFA and an introduction to the meditation-based creative processes and Art Life philosophy that are the distinguishing characteristics of the David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts (DLGSCA).

Year One

Intensive classes on a grid of six two-month terms then commence, beginning in the September intake of each year, at Shanghai Vancouver Film School. If these courses are fully completed at the graduate standard, 36 credits will be counted toward the MFA. Classes run under multiple topics throughout the day, five days per week, in an immersive environment – effectively a residency approach continuing on campus for a full year, with exceptionally high contact hours.

Note: in February of each year, during a break just prior to the resumption of Winter classes at SHVFS, students will undertake a one credit, five-day residency at Shanghai Theatre Academy centered on the Science and Technology of Consciousness (STC) course and MFA Thesis Projection / Development.

Upon completion of the year at Shanghai Vancouver Film School, in August, students will move into Maharishi International University’s higher numbered courses and be allowed to complete the degree. Students seeking degree recognition from the Chinese Ministry of Education will complete two semesters of full-time study in the United States, on the MIU campus in Fairfield, Iowa, and at approved academic US internship sites. The student’s experience of the intensive vocational approach of Shanghai Vancouver Film School will transition to the traditional university environment, including the scheduling of courses. The key requirement for each student is the completion of 36 concluding credits at the graduate level, including core requirements.

Each student will be individually mentored by the David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts Global MFA Program Director or an assigned faculty member and will a) complete 15 credits in courses under Maharishi International University faculty, b) secure and complete an internship of at least 3 credits with an approved site supervisor, c) propose and complete a thesis project of at least 12 credits approved and overseen by a committee of three, at least two of whom must be faculty affiliated with the degree path.

Graduation Requirements for the Global MFA in Cinematic Arts, SHVFS Track

The Global MFA in Cinematic Arts degree requires 72 semester hours of credit at the graduate standard. The degree has an immersive first year at SHVFS, then is completed over the course of two semesters in residence at MIU. The core (required), selective, and elective courses include the following. Please note that the curriculum may evolve from one year to the next, and this will entail course changes. Students will graduate under the terms of curriculum of the catalog in place in the year of admission.

Curriculum (72 credits)

All MFA students must take all courses in the Core Curriculum.

Waivers to requirements, based on previous professional experience or exceptional circumstances, will be permitted only by petition to the Global MFA Program Director.

Shanghai Theatre Academy 9-day residency – 2 credits

  • DLCA 500 Survey of the Global MFA in Cinematic Arts (1)

  • DLCA 510 The Creative Process (1)

Shanghai Vancouver Film School - Immersive Year One

36 credits in PRODUCTION

Production Immersion:

  • DLCA 1922A – Term 1: Story Development, Directing, Cinematography, Producing, Post Production, Production Design (6 credits)

  • DLCA 1922B – Term 2: Story Development 2, Directing 2, Cinematography 2, Producing 2, Post Production 2, Production Design 2 (6 credits)

  • DLCA 1922C – Term 3: Story Development 3, Directing 3, Cinematography 3, Producing 3, Post Production 3, Production Design 3 (6 credits)

  • DLCA 1922D – Term 4: Advanced Directing, Advanced Cinematography, Advanced Producing, Advanced Post Production, Advanced Production Design (6 credits)

  • DLCA 1922E – Term 5: Advanced Directing 5, Advanced Cinematography 5, Advanced Producing 5, Advanced Post Production 5, Advanced Production Design 5 (6 credits)

  • DLCA 1922F – Term 6: Advanced Directing 6, Advanced Cinematography 6, Advanced Producing 6, Advanced Post Production 6, Advanced Production Design 6 (6 credits)

Shanghai Vancouver Film School - Immersive Year One

36 credits in SCREENWRITING

           Screenwriting Immersion:

  • DLCA 1922G - Visual Storytelling, Structure, Format, Genre (6 credits)

  • DLCA 1922H – Screenplay Development (6 credits)

  • DLCA 1922I – Story, Character, Dialogue Workshops (6 credits)

  • DLCA 1922J - Specialization: Film or Television (6 credits)

  • DLCA 1922K - Expanded Specializations: Animation, Game Writing, Adaptation (6 credits)

  • DLCA 1922L - Polishing, Delivery, Securing Agency Representation (6 credits)

Shanghai Theatre Academy – 5 day Winter Residency – 1 credit hour

(scheduled in February during the spring break of SHVFS)

  • DLCA 501 – Thesis Development and the Creative Process (1)

Upon successful completion of the immersion year, the student receives a Shanghai Vancouver Film School diploma and is granted candidacy for the MFA to be completed at STA.

Second Year Program

At Maharishi International University –

36 Traditionally Scheduled Full-Time Credits over Two Semesters

In Year Two, the intensive vocational approach of Shanghai Vancouver Film School will give way to the pace and structure of the traditional university environment of Maharishi International University, including scheduled courses, some of which are required, some selective, some elective. To receive the articulated MFA through MIU, the key requirement for each student is the completion of the two first-year residencies (3 credits in total) and 33 concluding credits at the graduate level, including core requirements.

In consultation with her advisor, the student is guided through the options available to attain the aggregate of 72 credits required for her MFA, whether it be in Production or Screenwriting.

Course Options offered at MIU

  • DLCA 511–515 Creative Intelligence Seminar (1 credit per semester, up to 4 required)

  • DLCA 580 - The Business of Festival Strategy, Delivery and Distribution (3 credits)

  • DLCA 519 - The Films and Philosophy of David Lynch (3 credits)

  • DLCA 701 - Producing: Transnational Cinema (3 credits)

  • DLCA 656 - Documentary Filmmaking (2-4  credits)

  • DLCA 675 - Producing: Low Budget Filmmaking (3 credits)

  • DLCA 708 - Study Abroad: The Cannes Film Festival residency* (2 credits)

  • DLCA 709 - Study Abroad: The Toronto International Film Festival* (2 credits)

  • DLCA 710 - Study Abroad: Sundance and Los Angeles residency* (2 credits)

  • DLCA 720 – Capstone Development (3 credits)

* this course option requires payment of supplemental fees

Elective Courses (not required; 9 credits maximum)

Up to 9 (nine) credits in graduate level courses taken on campus in other disciplines at Maharishi International University may be undertaken and counted toward the total credits allowable for graduation.

Note: while the provision of the elective category is intended to allow flexibility in the degree path, students are not required to choose courses outside the curriculum of The Global MFA in Cinematic Arts.

On a limited basis and solely with approval of the advisor, MFA students may also undertake a registered Independent Study in lieu of a regularly scheduled course:

  • DLCA 690 Independent Study (1-9 credits after first year)

Required Internship in Cinematic Arts (3–15 credits)

All students are required to undertake internships in the minimum aggregate of 3 credits (or 3 weeks).

The student must identify a field-related internship topic or project and secure the commitment of an on-site supervisor for the project. The student will submit to the Global MFA Program Director a petition for the internship that states the educational objectives of the internship and identifies a full-time faculty member who will be the internship evaluator. In special circumstances, the internship may be conducted at an on-campus location. Upon approval of the faculty evaluator and submission of the Internship Petition, the student may register for DLCA 692/792 Internships.

  • DLCA 692 Internship (2–6 credits)

  • DLCA 792 Internship (2–9 credits). May be repeated for credit.

Required Thesis (9–15 credits)

In the thesis/project, the student actively participates in an aspect of the design, production and/or delivery of a film project undertaken at a graduate standard. Project scope and duration must be approved prior to registration by the faculty advisor. For thesis credit, the student must serve in one of the following roles:

  • Producer

  • Screenwriter

  • Director

  • Cinematographer

  • Editor

Credit for any other function on a thesis project will be permitted only with the approval of the Global MFA program director.

The student selects a Thesis Committee consisting of a thesis chair and two additional faculty members, then develops a proposal acceptable to the committee. The faculty chair must be drawn from full-time faculty; the other committee members may come from part-time faculty and may include an external evaluator, subject to the chair’s approval.

In the first year, equipment as needed for thesis production will be provided on a borrowed basis through Shanghai Vancouver Film School and the Shanghai Theatre Academy and is included in tuition. If equipment is damaged, lost or destroyed while in the student’s possession, the student will be responsible for repair or replacement costs.

As MIU has limited equipment and production facilities, in the second year, students are encouraged to bring their own equipment, including cameras and computers for editing. It is strongly recommended that thesis projects undertaken at MIU are rooted in screenwriting, producing (production development), or editing of a work filmed prior to arrival at MIU. Approvals for production theses started and completed at MIU will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The thesis project is a significant piece of work. Except in special circumstances subject to rigorous approval, the thesis registrant’s role in the related production(s) may not be a shared credit. The function must be clearly defined in writing and approved by the faculty advisor prior to registration. Students are otherwise encouraged to collaborate with their classmates, colleagues in their workplaces, and with the community as subjects, cast, and crew in the making of thesis projects.

As students proceed through their own thesis work, and that of their classmates, they register for the following courses as appropriate to their role in the project at that time. At the end of the program, each student will exhibit their film and defend it in an oral examination.

  • DLCA 730 Thesis Screenwriting (1-15 credits)

  • DLCA 740 Thesis Pre-Production (1-6 credits)

  • DLCA 750 Thesis Production (1-15 credits)

  • DLCA 760 Thesis Post-production (1-15 credits)

  • DLCA 790 Thesis Exhibition (1 credit)

Students may register for DLCA 700-level courses only after the committee has approved the student’s proposal.  The student then completes the thesis project/production with the guidance of the thesis chair.  An 8-10 page paper taking the form of a production diary must accompany all projects submitted for evaluation. The purpose of the accompanying paper is to speak reflectively on the student’s experience of the production process and to facilitate insight into the experience that cannot be observed through reviewing the thesis project in itself.

Upon completion of the thesis requirement, a student will possess either a) a portfolio of work carried out in the disciplines of screenwriting, producing, cinematography, and editing, with other subjects to be considered by the Global MFA Program Director, or b) a thesis film in which the student has functioned as auteur – the writer, director, and editor.

Each credit of DLCA 700-level work must be substantiated by at least 45 hours of project-related work with periodic supervision and feedback from the faculty.

Please note: the formal start date of this program may be suspended for any reason, such as the ongoing pandemic, and the decision to delay will be decided at the sole discretion of Maharishi International University.  If this should happen, all applicants will be notified at least six weeks in advance.