Film and Media Blog

Thinking about studying Documentary Film?

Photo by Pranav Narayan Manandhar

I am Margaret Mäses, an Estonian master’s student of Documentary Film, currently about to enter my final semester of the 2-year course. I got my bachelor’s degree in the UK where I studied Animal Behaviour. The aim was to gain some scientific understanding before pursuing a career in wildlife filmmaking. Life happened and some things changed, but my fascination with the natural world and passion for audiovisual storytelling remained. 

Making plans for my return to Estonia, I stumbled upon an introductory presentation of the BFM Documentary Film course on YouTube. It appeared especially appealing to me for its focus on creative documentary, as opposed to an arguably more mainstream and less artistically fulfilling journalistic style. This was the moment the idea of applying got stuck in the back of my mind.

How would you describe BFM?

BFM has a nicely laid-back atmosphere and a fairly hands-on approach to teaching. I very much enjoy the international creative community here. Also, the on-site cinema hall SuperNova is lovely to have. Among other things, they often host free film screenings.

BFM chilling area

What is your best memory from the time you have studied at BFM?

My time at BFM has been very eventful. It seems impossible for me to choose one memory to highlight. I have watched great films I would otherwise never have thought of watching, been part of insightful discussions, heard many intriguing ideas and inspiring stories, challenged myself in a wide variety of ways, seen myself improve, witnessed the whole development and production processes of some brilliant projects.

What additional bonuses or benefits, apart from academic knowledge, have you received from your time at school?

Becoming surrounded by people with similar interests and lifestyle is undoubtedly a great bonus to academic knowledge. I highly value the connections I have made with fellow students as well as members of staff. Memorable events include, for example, Pärnu Film Festival, Baltic Sea Docs pitching forum, and Ukrainian-themed Christmas dinner. What’s more, these beautiful people have led me to some useful professional opportunities too.


What are you planning to do after graduation?

After graduation, my primary goal is to find a way to continue making films. Truth be told, it is unlikely to be a secure and straightforward path. However, this is the sacrifice I am willing to make to be able to do what I love.

What would you suggest to someone who would like to study Documentary Film at BFM?  

If you are considering studying Documentary Film at BFM, there are some questions I suggest you ask yourself before making the decision. Can you qualify as positively insane? Do you have a higher than average sense of empathy, curiosity about the world, and need to express yourself creatively? Are you ready to face your inner demons, possibly mixed with sleep deprivation and financial struggles? Do you have the courage to be vulnerable and painfully honest with yourself? Do you have the determination to keep going despite constant obstacles, fear of failure, and feeling like a fool? If yes, the documentary family will definitely be happy to welcome you.

Photos by Pranav Narayan Manandhar.