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Film Studies Track

An Overview of the Film Track

Students in the English Department’s film track develop their interests in film with a strong foundation in literary studies. Film study and filmmaking benefit deeply from reading stories, novels, poems, plays, and critical theory. Understanding what makes plots and characters tick in Shakespeare and Dickens, for example, helps students understand plots and characters in Citizen Kane and create them in their own films if a student wants to make films. The department’s primary interest lies in narrative film and narrative filmmaking. The department program moves from Introduction to Film Studies and Basic Filmmaking through film genre classes (Film Noir, Hitchcock, the Western) and an advanced film theory/history class, to either a senior seminar / writing project, or a senior filmmaking project. Screenwriting and filmmaking classes are a special strength of our program. Students learn in deep and serious ways how to think about writing for film, and about how to design, shoot, and edit a story in film.

 

Requirements Checklist - Previous Major Requirements

Requirements Checklist - New Major Requirements

 

Aims of the Film Track 

a. The film track in the English Department offers students the opportunity to develop their interests in film with a strong foundation in literary studies. The Department believes that film study and filmmaking benefit deeply from reading stories, novels, poems, plays, and critical theory. Understanding what makes plots and characters tick in Shakespeare and Dickens, for example, helps students understand plots and characters in Citizen Kane and create them in their own films that a student may make. The primary interest in the department’s program lies in narrative film and filmmaking. 

b. Film track majors also benefit from a thorough introduction to film studies as an intellectual discipline and a history. A background in film history and theory prepares students to benefit from courses in specific topics like the Western, Hitchcock, Film Noir, Melodrama, and Shakespeare on Film. Students who decide to make a film also benefit from an extended preparation in film studies and the valuable introduction to film practice in our filmmaking courses. 

c. The culminating experience in the film track is either a writing project or making a senior film. Seniors making a film need Basic and Advanced Filmmaking as prerequisites, and follow a careful schedule during their senior year for writing the screenplay, planning production, shooting and editing the film. Seniors choosing to write a screenplay or a critical essay for their culminating project will take a Senior Seminar, and write their film project either with permission of their two-block seminar professor, or as an independent one-block Senior Project. Because of the work required to make a film, students choosing that option are not required to take a Senior Seminar. 

English Requirements

A student majoring in English on the Film Track must satisfactorily complete at least 13 units. Students on the Film track may fulfill more than one requirement in the major with single courses; see details below.

1) Gateway courses (4 units, all required):

English:
a) EN221 Introduction to Poetry
b) EN250 Introduction to Literary Theory
Film:
c) FS215 Introduction to Film Studies
d) FS212: Basic Filmmaking or FS240: Directing the Fiction Film or FS260: Documentary Form and Filmmaking

2) Foundations and Transformations courses (3 units at any level, 1 unit of each required; may be fulfilled simultaneously with requirements in groups 3 and 4; may be taken outside the English department/Film Studies program):

a) Western Tradition: Bible as Literature, Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” Greek Drama, History of the English Language, Homer, Shakespeare (list is not comprehensive)

b) American Ethnic Minority Literature: courses (including film courses) in African-American, Asian-American, Native American, Latino/a literature

c) Anglophone and Other National Literatures: courses (including film courses) in Caribbean, Postcolonial, African, Classical, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish literature (in translation or in the original language; list is not comprehensive)

 3) Historical Periods in Literature courses (3 units required; 2 out of 3 must be taken at the 300 or 400 level; may be fulfilled simultaneously with requirements in group 2):

a) Shakespeare (required)

Two out of the following three:

b) Medieval/Renaissance (excluding Shakespeare)

c) 18th Century

d) 19th Century

Film Studies Requirements

3 units required; electives may be fulfilled simultaneously with requirements in group 2.

a)  FS315: Film History and Theory (required)

b)  Film electives (2 units; may overlap with group 2)

i)  Film topics classes (e.g. The Western, Hitchcock, Film Noir)

ii) Filmmaking classes (e.g. Screenwriting, Advanced Filmmaking)

Senior Options

3 units required, including pre-requisites.

1. Filmmaking options:

a) Make a film in your two-block Senior Project (EN486) Prerequisite: FS312: Advanced Filmmaking

b) Write a screenplay in your two-block Senior Project (EN486) Prerequisite: FS284: Screenwriting

2. Film Studies options:

a) Take a two-block senior seminar (EN480) with a film component

b) Take a one-block senior seminar (EN480) and one block of Independent Thesis (EN499)

Prerequisite for both film studies options:  EN399 Junior Seminar in English (may overlap with historical periods)

Students may use no more than two units of summer independent reading toward major requirements.

Distinction in English is awarded at graduation to senior majors who have done outstanding academic work in the department.