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Film and Media Studies

Applicable for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Film and Media Studies Website

Assistant Professor Arom CHOI Assistant Professor Baran GERMEN Associate Professor & Chair Scott KRZYCH Associate Professor & Associate Chair Dylan NELSON

Film and media studies is increasingly essential to a rigorous liberal arts education. Our program integrates critical studies with creative practice, preparing students to understand moving images, harness media technology, and participate actively in a swiftly changing media landscape. Students study cinema and media history and theory, while pursuing creative work in a variety of forms, including fiction and documentary film, screenwriting, radio, television, video games and other digital technology. This cross-disciplinary major incorporates courses in art, literature, sociology, philosophy, music, theater, dance, and global cinema. Building on Colorado College’s history of innovation in liberal arts education, the Film and Media Studies Program produces students who are engaged thinkers, thoughtful and collaborative practitioners, and who have achieved success in film and media industries as well as many other fields.  

Major Requirements

Film and Media Studies (12 units)

Core Courses (3 units)

  • FM101: Introduction to Film Studies
  • FM102: Basic Filmmaking
  • FM301: Advanced Theory and Research Methods

Genre, History, and Theory (3 units, at least one of which must be at the 300 level)

  • FM200: Topics in Genre and History
  • FM201: Media Theory and Cultural Studies
  • FM228: Experimental and Expanded Cinema
  • FM203: Media and Psychoanalysis
  • FM300: Film History and Theory
  • FM303: Philosophy of Technology
  • FM305: Advanced Topics in Film and Media Studies
  • FM330: On Location: Hollywood

Form and Filmmaking (2 units, at least one of which must be at the 300 level)

  • FM202: Screenwriting
  • FM210: Topics in Filmmaking
  • FM240: Directing the Fiction Film
  • FM260/360: The CC Film Institute (offered in Summer Session; 1 unit of Form & Filmmaking credit + 1 unit of Elective credit)
  • FM302: Advanced Filmmaking
  • FM310: Advanced Topics in Filmmaking
  • FM312: Documentary Form and Filmmaking

Electives (2 units)

  • FM205: Topics in Film and Media Studies
  • FM212: Writing for Performance
  • FM215: Independent Work in Film and Media Studies
  • FM216: Video Dance
  • FM225: Topics in Media Practice:
  • FM250: Videogames, Aesthetics, Culture
  • FM315: Advanced Independent Work in Film and Media Studies

Any courses from the Film and Media Studies major categories (Genre, History, and Theory; Form and Filmmaking) and any FM-numbered or cross-listed courses may be taken for elective credit.

No more than one independent study course may be counted toward the major. No more than two study abroad courses may be transferred for major credit. No more than one course may overlap with a student’s minor. No more than two courses may overlap with a second declared major.

Thesis (2 units)

  • FM400: Independent Film, Filmmaking, and the Sundance Film Festival or FM405: Senior Seminar
  • FM401: Senior Thesis (Critical) or FM402: Senior Thesis (Creative). An additional unit of FM401 or FM402 (as applicable), which will count as an elective, may be taken with approval of the department.

Senior thesis projects must be proposed in writing during the spring of the junior year. Thesis project blocks may not be taken pass/fail.

To write an essay for the senior thesis, FM301 must be completed before the thesis block. To make a fiction film for the thesis, an approved course in writing for the screen or FM202 (Screenwriting) and FM302 (Advanced Filmmaking) are required and must be completed before the senior year. To make a documentary film for the thesis, FM312 (Documentary Form and Filmmaking) and FM302 (Advanced Filmmaking) or an approved course in documentary filmmaking are required and must be completed before the senior year. To write a screenplay for the senior thesis, FM202 (Screenwriting) and an approved course in creative prose writing are required and must be completed before the senior year. Other types of creative projects will also require FM202 (Screenwriting) or FM302 (Advanced Filmmaking) and additional relevant prior coursework; these must be approved on a case by case basis.

Courses

Film and Media

Film in its formal and ideological dimensions, narrative, documentary, and experimental. Students learn to become active and critical viewers of films, and to situate film aesthetics within historical, industrial, cultural, and political contexts, developing an understanding of film form as interlinked with content. 1 unit.

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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 process of analysis, evaluation, and revision. 1 unit.

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Studies the form of a single film genre, auteur, or historical era and its development over time. Possible genres include science fiction, horror, the musical, melodrama, documentary, comedy, and “independent” film, among others. May include studies of specific auteurs or of national cinemas beyond the US.

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Examines contemporary media and its effects on our understanding and experience of culture and society. In-depth reading of influential theories in the disciplines of contemporary film and media theory, Cultural Studies, and technology studies, as well as close analysis of visual media (television, film, web pages, and interactive technology). Group projects and analytical writing assignments will emphasize both formal and ideological analysis of media. (Not offered 2021-22).

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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.

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Considers the status of desire and subjectivity in the contemporary media landscape, a setting in which failure often has become a new means for success. How can we judge the aesthetic value of contemporary media when failure may ensure, rather than prevent, profitability? Is there any possibility for an ethics of media when nothing is off limits? To what extent can the psychoanalytic concept of desire be applied to and extended by the aesthetics of new media?

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Studies in a specific subject area involving the critical analysis of film, television, new media, audiovisual culture, or theoretical concept, among other topics. 1 unit.

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Introductory work in specific areas, or with specific techniques, of filmmaking or writing. Includes critical reading and writing with an emphasis on applied projects. 1 unit.

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Fundamentals Identifies techniques utilized by writers of performance, ranging from slam poets to monologists to playwrights. Script and poem excerpts as well as video and audio samples will serve as the basis for in-class conversations around craft. Students will embark on a series of short solo and group writing exercises, trying their hand at a myriad of performance writing forms. Selected student work of merit will be presented in a final public staged reading. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Introduction to creating dance specifically for the video medium, also known as video dance. Investigates ways that choreographers might use video technology as a creative tool. Aspects include production of video, audio, and choreography with the aim of fusing these elements. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Study and practice of forms of media-making beyond film and video. Possible topics include interactive storytelling, radio journalism, podcasting, and new media, among others. Includes critical reading and writing with an emphasis on applied projects. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Examines alternative approaches to cinema developed after 1960 by independent filmmakers and interdisciplinary artists working with animation, puppetry, video, performance, and installation. Uses readings by scholars such as P. Adams Sitney, Steven Shaviro, and Laura Marks to explore the visual and tactile qualities of film, the relationship between mainstream and experimental cinema, and social attitudes towards new technologies. 1 Unit. (Not offered 2021-22).

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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 2021-22).

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Examines the various ways in which videogames intersect with and borrow from other modes of play, performance and artistic/cultural/political expression. Begins with a survey of videogames history and the major concepts and debates surrounding the emerging field of game studies. Then considers the aesthetic intersections between videogames and cinema, both in popular forms of 'machinima' aid in more experimental practices. Finally, examines the various ways in which videogames operate throughout popular culture: in the emerging field of 'persuasive' or political games, as allegories of digital culture, and as agents in the development of individual and collective identity. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Examines the various ways in which videogames intersect with and borrow from other modes of play, performance and artistic/cultural/political expression. Begins with a survey of videogames history and the major concepts and debates surrounding the emerging field of game studies. Then considers the aesthetic intersections between videogames and cinema, both in popular forms of 'machinima' aid in more experimental practices. Finally, examines the various ways in which videogames operate throughout popular culture: in the emerging field of 'persuasive' or political games, as allegories of digital culture, and as agents in the development of individual and collective identity. (Summer only 2021-22).

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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.

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In-depth study of contemporary theoretical approaches to film, media, or technology. Topics vary from year to year. Course assignments place special emphasis on analytical writing and scholarly research.

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Emphasizes control of all aspects of the visual experience in service of motion picture storytelling. Acquaints students with advanced digital filmmaking techniques, including mattes, special effects, green screen compositing, and 3D animation, as well as the use of manual cameras, more sophisticated lighting methods, and motivated camera movement. Analyzes the concepts, language, and methods of film expression and stresses the processes of collaboration, critique, and revision. Culminates in a public screening of student work.

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Explores the ways in which technology serves as a compromise between mind and matter. Technology may begin as an idea in the mind of an inventor, but technologies only come into existence through unpredictable processes that involve historical, cultural, and environmental limitations. In those moments when technology begins to operate unpredictably, independently of its inventors or intended purposes, it opens up possibilities for philosophical insights into culture, society, and human subjectivity. Investigates examples in film and new media, including cybernetics, special effects, digital cinema, and virtual reality. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Studies in a wide array of topics related to film history, theory, and genres.

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Introductory work in specific areas, or with specific techniques, of filmmaking or writing. Includes critical reading and writing with an emphasis on applied projects. 1 unit.

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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.

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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.

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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. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Upper-level intensive seminar course engages film theory, history, and practice through the lens of the Sundance Film Festival. A week of intensive screening and discussion at Sundance inspires further critical and creative work on campus, with an emphasis on collaborative practices.

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Advanced study of a topic, chosen by the student and approved by the program, with student research and writing directed by an individual faculty member. The essay may take the form of a traditional written essay or a video essay. Can be taken up to 2 times for credit upon approval of the department.

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Advanced project, chosen by the student and approved by the program, with student work directed by an individual faculty member, culminating in a short fiction film, short documentary, or screenwriting project, accompanied by a written critical analysis. Can be taken up to 2 times for credit upon approval of the department.

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Topics vary from year to year. May include preliminary work on the senior thesis project, including research, bibliography, and individual and group screenings in film/media relevant to the thesis. (Not offered 2021-22).

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