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Film Studies

Professors BUTTE, SARCHETT, SIMONS; Assistant Professors HASKELL, NELSON

Film studies is a program administered by the English department. The program offers a minor to students with an interest in narrative film and video in addition to their major. The orientation is eclectic and aesthetic. We study cinema as a narrative art, whatever the genre of storytelling (fiction film, documentary, animation, experimental) or mode of presentation (theater, television, internet). The curriculum is enriched by faculty in other departments and by visiting scholars, filmmakers, and screenwriters.

Senior film projects by students in any discipline are encouraged and supported.

THE MINOR (6 UNITS):

The minor in film studies requires the successful completion of six units of coursework including

  • Two core courses: FS212: Basic Filmmaking or FS240: Topics in Filmmaking: Directing the Fiction Film or FS260: Topics in Filmmaking: Documentary Form, and Filmmaking; and FS215: Introduction to Film Studies
  • One additional unit in film history/criticism: FS 315: Film History and Theory or FS 205: Topics in Cinema or a film study class on a specific subject (e.g. Hitchcock) or FS 305: Advanced Topics in Cinema.
  • One additional unit in filmmaking: FS312: Advanced Filmmaking or FS218: Topics in Filmmaking or FS284: Beginning Screenwriting or FS318: Advanced Topics in Filmmaking.
  • Any two additional film studies units, not to include more than one unit on non-narrative film/video, or of independent study. 

Film Studies Courses

205 Topics in Cinema:

Detailed examination of some specific aspect of film: a genre (the Western, Film Noir, the slapstick comedy, the documentary); the work of an individual director; the films of a particular country, etc.

Also listed as Comparative Literature 200 and Comparative Literature 351 and Dance Theory 200 and English 280 and English 326 and Feminist & Gender Studies 206 and Film and New Media Studies 303 and Film and New Media Studies 304 and German 220 and Italian 320 and Russian & Eurasian Studies 200.

.5 or 1 unit —

212 Basic Filmmaking

Examines the fundamentals of filmmaking - planning, shooting, and editing - via numerous short projects that culminate in a final public screening. Topics include framing and composition; cinematography, lighting, and sound, storyboards and shot diagrams; editing tools and techniques; digital workflow; and the processes of analysis, evaluation, and revision.

Also listed as Film and New Media Studies 102.

1 unit —

215 Introduction to Film Studies

Film in its formal dimensions, narrative and non-narrative (documentary, experimental). How meaning and pleasure are created visually. Emphasis on film style: the shot, mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing (montage) and sound. 218: Topics in Filmmaking. Introductory course in specific filmmaking techniques and genres, such as Stagecraft for Film and Film and Video Animation.

1 unit —

218 Topics in Filmmaking:

Introductory course in specific film making techniques and genres, such as Stagecraft for Film, Documentary Film making, Film and Video Animation. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

232 The Films of Alfred Hitchcock

Study of the major periods, forms and themes of the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Included are comedies (To Catch a Thief) and tragedies (Vertigo), early British period films (The Lady Vanishes), classics of the 1940's (Notorious) and 1950's (Rear Window), and late masterpieces like The Birds or Marnie.

1 unit —

240 From Script to Screen: Directing the Fiction Film

Examines the processes of taking a script to screen. Students develop, cast, plan, direct, and edit short fiction films based on extant material, working in collaborative teams and alternating crew roles. Topics addressed include writing for the screen; story analysis; the role of directorial vision; casting; working with actors; cinematic language and shot design; camera, lighting, sound; production design and mise-en-scène; and editing theory and practice. The course culminates in an evening screening of the student films. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

244 American Film Comedy

A study of the major directors of comedy in American film, from Chaplin and Keaton through Capra, Hawks, and Sturges to more recent masters like Woody Allen the Coen Brothers and Wes Anderson. Includes important works in theory of comedy as context, from Freud to Cornford, Bakhtin and Frye. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

260 Documentary Form and Filmmaking

Students create their own short documentaries while examining the history, codes, and conventions of the feature documentary film. Topics include narrative techniques, questions of form and genre, documentary ethics, interview methods, documentary cinematography, archival imagery, fair use/copyright, and editing rhythm and pacing, among others. Student documentaries are showcased in an end-of-course screening.

Also listed as Film and New Media Studies 210 and Sociology 190.

1 unit —

284 Screenwriting

Examines the fundamentals of screenwriting: theme and meaning, structure, narrative, dialogue, character development, and revision. Students will read, analyze, and discuss the screenplays for produced films; develop and pitch their own story ideas; and plan, write, and revise, by the end of the course, a significant screenplay project.

Also listed as Film and New Media Studies 211.

1 unit —

305 Advanced Topics in Cinema:

Studies in a wide array of topics related to film history, theory, and genres. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Film Studies 215 or consent of instructor.

1 unit

312 Advanced Filmmaking

A course designed to prepare students for doing advanced independent projects in film or video. The course is a prerequisite for doing senior projects and deals with the creative and practical disciplines required to do festival-quality work. Activities include hands-on experience shooting and editing 16 mm film and digital video.

Prerequisite: Film Studies 212.

Also listed as Film and New Media Studies 314.

1 unit —

315 Film History & Theory

Film in its material, historical and theoretical dimensions, from its beginnings to the present. Growth of the film industry; the American studio system; European avant-garde cinema; world cinema; auteurism; film and popular culture; problems of genre. Film theory: the nature of the medium; its major theorists - Griffith, Eisenstein, Arnheim, Bazin, Kracauer, Metz, Mulvey, etc.

1 unit —

318 Advanced Topics in Filmmaking:

Work is specific genres or with specific techniques of film and video making for advanced students. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Film Studies 212 or equivalent.

1 unit

330 On Location: Hollywood

Provides a hands-on overview of the history and of the creative, technological, aesthetic and business practices of the Hollywood entertainment industry, from its inception through the present day. Taught in Los Angeles.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

Also listed as Film and New Media Studies 330.

1 unit —

485 Senior Film Project

Capstone film or video making project for Film Track English majors and majors in other fields working on a senior project in film or video. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Senior status & Film Studies 312 or its equivalent.

1 to 2 units

486 Senior Project: Film

Advanced study of film through film-making on a subject chosen by the student, approved by the department, in which the student completes a film in a workshop setting. Required of all Film Track seniors who are making a film.

Prerequisite: English 221, English 250, Film Studies 312.

2 units —