Programme of Study

The Yangon Film School curriculum comprises a three-year programme of study. During this time, participants are required to complete five courses and submit a graduation film in order to graduate.

Upon graduation, YFS alumni have the opportunity to apply to join the School’s ‘Train to Teach’ programme to become a YFS Tutor.

YFS courses are intensive and often residential and last from a few days to two months. They give participants the opportunity to grapple with the technical, artistic and ethical aspects of documentary and fictional filmmaking by producing their own short films and/or film scripts.

Teaching at YFS comprises a mixture of classroom instruction, practical exercises, tutorials, screenings and discussions with the aim of helping participants to develop a compassionate yet critical eye for the world around them.



Founded by Anglo-Burmese filmmaker Lindsey Merrison in 2005, the Yangon Film School (YFS) is a non-profit organisation created to train media workers in Myanmar. YFS brings together experienced filmmakers and young Myanmar for film trainings in the country’s former capital city of Yangon.

In almost two decades of activity, YFS has trained over 250 students of all genders – many of whom now work in the media. Its courses range from screenwriting to editing, from animation to sound design and have resulted in over 280 documentaries, as well as shorts and animations. YFS films screen at international festivals and some have won prestigious prizes.

In 2009, YFS graduates began receiving training as tutors in their own right. Over a dozen graduates of the School’s ‘Train to Teach’ programme now pass on their knowledge to incoming students.

YFS students are of different ethnicities and genders and have backgrounds in film, journalism, literature, photography and IT, but also in the health and development sectors. The School’s flagship documentary course takes place every two years. Calls for candidates for a new intake are open to all Myanmar nationals.

The School’s production arm, Yangon Film Services creates films for local and international development organisations. Filmed at locations across the country and covering an astonishing array of topics, these works represent an invaluable advocacy tool.



The primary focus of YFS is to train students in documentary filmmaking, a form of artistic expression that can engage like no other media with a variety of humanitarian topics and provide incisive commentaries on everyday life in Myanmar.

Alongside this, YFS provides training in screenwriting, fiction film production and animation. The School emphatically encourages its students to develop their own work and artistic identities. YFS provides bursaries for its final-year students, enabling them to create a graduation film on a topic and in a filmmaking style of their own choosing.

The organisation’s long-term goal is to hand over the School to a local administration. By this time, it is hoped that YFS will have become a partly self-sufficient educational resource, generating income from film courses and production, as well as the hire of expertise and facilities as a post-production house.