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Course Offerings

Spring 2019

Professor Casad

Bodies on Screen/Screening Embodiment This class explores psychic and social dynamics related to related to bodies and bodily experience on screen- focusing in particular on questions of race, gender, labor, violence, sensuality. Films on the syllabus include realist depictions of bodies in society as well as fantastical depictions of "humanoid non-human" bodies such as zombies, cyborgs, and other monsters.

Professor Krista Knight

In Advanced Screenwriting we will be writing original pilots for half hour or one hour TV shows. Pilots are the new calling cards for screenwriters and the volume of content being bought and developed for TV and streaming is at an all-time high. We will look at pilot scripts alongside the produced episodes to investigate craft and the ineffable qualities that got the script read, bought, and made. Students will develop their own original ideas for TV series by writing and workshopping loglines, treatment beat sheets, and finally the drafts of the pilot scripts themselves. By the end of the semester, students will have completed the draft for an original half hour or one hour TV pilot that they can pitch in LA and submit to development opportunities like the Sundance Episodic Lab.

Applegate/Blackbourn

This course introduces students to the riches of twentieth-century German film. The works considered come from every period of a politically tumultuous century—the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the two postwar Germanys, and the reunified Federal Republic. They range from classics of early German cinema to the work of the celebrated Turkish-German director Fatih Akin. Some of the films are expressly political, such as Kuhle Wampe, scripted by Bert Brecht, and the early Nazi film Hitlerjugend Quex. Others are representative of genres. Examples include the sentimental “Heimat” film of the 1950s and the German New Wave cinema of the 1970s. The course will examine the chosen films as works of art produced in particular historical circumstances. We shall analyze the films and consider their reception and broader social-cultural significance. The course includes lectures and discussion; assessment based on participation and writing assignments. There is no midterm or final exam. No prerequisite.

Professor Wi Yung Ji

From the colonial period to the Korean Wave in the new millennium. Film criticism, transnational and national contexts of film production, aesthetics of auteurs and genres, and local and global receptions of Korean cinema

Professor Bradley Gorski

Masterpieces of Russian and Soviet cinema from the silent period to the present. Montage theory, propaganda film, politics of the art house, and rise of the Russian blockbuster. Films by master directors Eisenstein, Vertov, Tarkovsky, Sokurov, and Zvyagintsev. Soviet musicals and contemporary popular cinema. Knowledge of Russian not required.

Professor Alejandro Acierto

This interdisciplinary production seminar introduces students to the methods, tools, and important theoretical positionings to work with media in real time. Working collaboratively and individually, students will work with sensors, controllers, and custom built devices and software to control, manipulate, process, and remix video, images, text, and sound. Students will also be introduced to projection mapping, VR env

Professor Seth Kim

A survey of international cinema focusing on the use of action as a means of narrative. Pays close attention to the relationship between martial arts, nationalism, and action heroes as seen through the films of Bruce Lee, Michelle Yeoh, Clint Eastwood, and Tony Jaa.

"Beyond Hollywood: Classical Cinemas in France, Germany and Japan" Taught by Prof. Michael Wedel, visiting Max Kade Professor of German. A comparative view on the concept of classical cinema, starting with Hollywood, but then focusing on three alternative versions, addressing issues of cultural differences in style, star systems and genre structures, industrial and political contexts in the period between 1930 and 1950..

Spring 2018

Professor Waters - T 4:10-7:00 E Bronson Ingram Studio Arts 238

In this introductory class we will explore the conceptual, organizational, and technical skills of film and video production. Through hands-on technical workshops, screenings, lectures, projects and discussions, you will develop the basic skills in image creation, sound design, and editing as they apply to single camera techniques for nonfiction, narrative, and alternative modes. This class will provide a cultural context for different forms of production as well as give you an opportunity to develop critical and collaborative skills through group projects and class critiques. You will create several short film projects, both individually and working in groups.

Professor James McFarland  MWF 10:00a - 11:00 Screening M 8:30-11:00pm Buttrick 103

Cinema today exists in the plural. It stretches across cultural boundaries, inhabits various institutional frameworks, and involves diverse media platforms. This course serves as an introduction to major concepts of film style and moving image analysis. We will build a vocabulary to describe mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound design and discuss different historical models of spectatorship. We will consider the question of contemporary moving image production (including non-fiction, experimental, televisual, web-based, and gaming-oriented audio-visual imagery) and explore critical methods addressing questions of genre, form, and history. Students will be expected to engage with familiar films in unfamiliar ways and to understand cinema as part of an ever-expanding media landscape.

Professor Jonathan Waters W 4:10p - 7:00p Buttrick 015

This course will serve as an opportunity for students to gain more experience shooting and directing the scripted narrative film. Students will study the work of a variety of directors and cinematographers to examine how they work together to collectively develop the style, look, and feel of a particular film, while also exploring the aesthetic principles and technical tools of digital cinematography (cameras, lenses, lighting) in conjunction with directorial techniques (blocking, directing actors, script analysis) and overall set operations. The course will be largely structured as an intense, hands-on workshop consisting of in-class exercises, critiques, and several creative assignments that will required each student to work as either director, actor, or cinematographer, with the goal of ultimately preparing students with the tools necessary to successfully create visually accomplished films.

Professor Jennifer Fay TR 9:35-10:50a Buttrick 015 Screening T 6:00-8:30pm Buttrick 308

What is film? What is the relationship between film and photography, painting and the “real” world that a film may capture? What is a good film? How does a film affect, construct, or delimit a spectator? What is a film spectator? What difference does it make when cinema is analog or digital, on a small or big screen, seen in a theater, at home, or in a gallery? Answers to queries as fundamental as these may seem obvious. (“A good film is entertaining…”) But there is a long and rich tradition of film and media theory that is concerned with elucidating and complicating not only how we answer these questions, but how we frame such questions in the first place. This course is an advanced introduction to film and media theory as a mode of inquiry. We will read some of the major works representing significant movements in film, photography and digital media theory from the early part of the 20th century up to our contemporary moment. We will also consider films, in their own right, as theoretical experiments in perception. This is a reading-intensive class and the material is challenging. But it is very worth the investment!

Professor Stephen Moulds TR 2:35-3:50pm B T015

Even if you know nothing else about a film, you usually have an idea of what a movies has to offer based solely on its genre. What makes a genre film work? A collection of familiar tropes? A story arc we can depend on? A tone, a mood, a set of thematic concerns? Do the truly successful films transcend genre? In this course, we will study prototypical examples of several classic genres, seeking to define their stylistic and narrative assumptions and combining this analysis with fundamental skills of dramatic storytelling. Students will then have a choice to write a short, one-hour screenplay or complete the first half of their own genre feature.

Professor Jonathan Rattner MW 12:10-1:25pm BT 015 Screening W 8:00-10:30p BT 103

In this interdisciplinary class we will explore the history, theory, and practice of nonfiction film and the many different modes (expository, poetic, performative, observational, reflexive, participatory) that encompass it.  In addition to weekly readings, presentations, screenings and discussion, students will be assigned three video projects.  In this class we will look at films by the Lumiere brothers, Chris Marker, Agnes Varda, Ross McElwee, Werner Herzog, Fredrick Wiseman, Errol Morris, Dziga Vertov, Marlon Riggs, and other well-known filmmakers who have explored this genre of filmmaking.

Professor Jennifer Fay TR 1:10-2:25 Buttrick 015 Screening T 8:00-11:00p

The word “amateur” calls to mind the unprofessional, untrained beginner whose art exists outside of respected venues and/or offends refined tastes. This is to say that amateur art is often regarded as having little aesthetic pertinence. The amateur, however, is also the exalted outsider who creates art not for monetary gain, but out of personal need and love, and who energizes the established arts with new forms and unexpected, sometimes shocking, techniques. Amateur art may be valued because it is impertinent—that is, irrelevant or brazen. This course considers amateur film and video practices (including the use of amateur grade technologies) as a mode of avant-garde experimentation, home-movie making, personal archiving, and compulsive publicity. We’ll explore the social uses and aesthetics of old technologies and viewing platforms (film, video, underground cinemas, television) as they give way to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Among the questions we'll address: • What is the relationship between amateur technology and avant-garde practice? • What are the different attentional modes as we shift from “old” and “long” media to instant, short, and “new”? • How does the private home movie anticipate the public sharing in our contemporary moment? And what new anxieties emerge in a culture of “over-sharing?” • What are the aesthetics of outsider art, and how might art for personal use find a larger therapeutic purpose? • What are the politics of underground media in relationship to censorship laws and changing norms of privacy and publicity? • How may we theorize a practice of social media as a mode of social responsibility? Warning: Impertinent art may be—and is often by design—offensive art. We will be watching films that have been deemed to be legally obscene, made in bad taste, queer, gay, indecent, radiant, beautiful, artful, trashy. I cannot know in advance what will offend your sensibilities. Therefore, please take a moment to read through the sample syllabus posted on YES, look up the films, and speak to me if you have any questions or concerns.

Professor Madeleine Casad TR 11:00am-12:15pm Screening M 6:00-8:30pm Buttrick 10

Course Description Pending

Professor Rattner M 4:10-7:00pm Buttrick 015 Screening Sunday 7:00-9:30pm

Cinema & Media Arts capstone thesis course

Professor Kelly Oliver W 2:10-4:40pm Furman Hall 209

“In America, you call him Hitch. In France, we call him Monsieur Hitchcock. In America, you respect him because he shoots scenes of love as if they were scenes of murder. We respect him because he shoots scenes of murder like scenes of love.” -François Truffaut

Alfred Hitchcock shaped the history of cinema. His films vividly put on display deep-seated anxieties, fears, and desires we share. In this course, we will examine some of the themes that run throughout Hitchcock’s work, including betrayal, knowledge, loyalty, redemption, neurosis, anxiety, mistaken identity, and the relationship between sex and gender. We will read critical works on Hitchcock that span the disciplines of philosophy, film theory, psychoanalysis, and gender studies.

Fall 2017

Professor Rattner - T 4:10-7:00 E Bronson Ingram Studio Arts 238

Professor Waters - R 4:10-7:00 E Bronson Ingram Studio Arts 238

In this introductory class we will explore the conceptual, organizational, and technical skills of film and video production. Through hands-on technical workshops, screenings, lectures, projects and discussions, you will develop the basic skills in image creation, sound design, and editing as they apply to single camera techniques for nonfiction, narrative, and alternative modes. This class will provide a cultural context for different forms of production as well as give you an opportunity to develop critical and collaborative skills through group projects and class critiques. You will create several short film projects, both individually and working in groups.

Professor Lutz Koepnick

MWF 11:10a - 12:00p

Cinema today exists in the plural. It stretches across cultural boundaries, inhabits various institutional frameworks, and involves diverse media platforms. This course serves as an introduction to major concepts of film style and moving image analysis. We will build a vocabulary to describe mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, and sound and discuss different historical models of spectatorship. As important, we will study the diversity of contemporary moving image production (including non-fiction, experimental, televisual, web-based, and gaming-oriented) and explore critical methods addressing questions of genre, form, and history. Students will be expected to engage with familiar films in unfamiliar ways and to understand cinema as part of an ever-expanding media landscape.

Professor Rattner

M 4:10-7:00 Buttrick Hall 015

The objective of this class is to introduce students to 16mm film production. This course will cover the basics of 16mm camera operation, lighting, non-sync sound design, and film pre-production. Students will gain experience as screenwriters, directors, sound technicians/designers, assistant directors, and editors. Weekly group shoots, 3 short films (any mode or genre) per student. Mandatory film screenings Sundays 5-7 pm in BT 103.

Professor Se Young Kim

TR 9:35a - 10:50a

Even in its technological pre-history, cinema has always been a global phenomenon. As a narrative/entertainment medium, it has been subject to the demands of an international economy and political spheres of influence. In fifteen weeks, this course covers over a century of global film history as it unfolds in twelve different countries at various moments in time. We will consider not only those instances in which science and industry open up new possibilities for the medium while foreclosing others (particularly in the growth of the Hollywood studio system and commercial narrative cinema in the United States), but also how the exigencies of war, poverty, colonialism, and liberation (to name a few) have impinged on production, or served as the production's foundation. In addition to how filmic texts are produced and disseminated, we will also attend to shifting exhibition practices, particularly in cases where the exhibition site radically alters the meaning of the text. No credit for students who have earned credit for HART 272a or 272b. Prerequisite: 1600.

Cinema in the Age of Trump

We are witnessing the resurgence of extreme political positions and visions for America’s future. Mainstream and centrist politics appear to be giving way to partisan positions that find expression at rallies, on social media, in political documentaries, and through news pundits. Mass media, in other words, has fragmented into particularized, partisan media in parallel with contemporary politics. “Cinema in the Age of Trump” takes stock of partisan film culture and the legal history of how cinema attained the status of political speech while news itself veered ever closer to mediated forms of entertainment. This course explores cinema as both an entertainment form and as a forum for political expression, one that has found new primacy in our current culture (especially in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee). This state of affairs requires us to rethink the distinctions between the politicization of film and the aestheticization of politics (to recall Walter Benjamin’s famous formulation), between personal and corporate expression, and the relationship between partisan film and democratic commitments.

From Michael Bay to Ava DuVernay, from Michael Moore’s proletariat protest to the “Queen of Versailles”: What are the film genres, directors, and character types that reflect and shape our current political moment? What is the relationship between the popular arts and populist sentiment, between emotion and political thought, and between artistic practice and civic engagement?

Professor Claire King

MW 3:10p - 4:25p

How do we map the history of technology and understand the origins of a new medium? When is a medium new, and when is it merely a continuation through other means of an earlier paradigm? At what point, and motivated by what forces, does a medium find novel outlets and applications? This course considers a number of evolutions, or perhaps revolutions, in 19th, 20th and 21st century media technologies, focusing on the invention of photography, film, video, satellites and computers to consider their cultural, scientific, and industrial origins, mutations, and impacts.

Professor Se Young Kim

New media has changed us. Video games make up a multibillion dollar industry that surpassed Hollywood in the late 2000s. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter were crucial in the elections of the last two U.S. presidents. The smartphone app Pokémon Go was able to mobilize massive bodies of users the world over in 2016. Streaming services such as Netflix have emerged as a major force in the distribution of media. As these examples make evident, it is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine a world without new media and internet technologies. But to consider the impact of new media on the world is also to think about its relationship to its users, those that inhabit that technological world – it is to think about ourselves. This course will investigate the relationship between new media and contemporary notions of subjectivity. Informed by the thinking of writers such as Lev Manovich, N. Katherine Hayles, Alexander Galloway, and McKenzie Wark, the course will examine the dynamic relationship between media and identity in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries through close analyses of texts and phenomena such as social media, video games (console, PC, mobile), media streaming, and virtual reality, among others. In doing so, the course look to illuminate the precise ways in which new media and internet technologies have come to inform and even make possible our modern configurations of identity.

Spring 2017

Professor Casad

TR 11:00a - 12:15p, Screenings T 7:00p - 9:00p

Even if we begin with the earliest precursors of modern film and video, such as cave art, narrative scroll painting, or immersive panoramas, the media of moving images have always functioned as memory technologies. On the most basic level, they store visual information for future retrieval. However, they also invoke, perpetuate, or occasionally challenge the patterns and practices of interpretation we use to translate between raw audio-visual information and culturally significant meanings, stories, or histories. This course considers a broad historical scope of moving image media, ranging from the premodern precursors mentioned above to classical narrative cinema, underground and avant-garde film, experimental television and video art, interactive digital technologies, databases, and social media. We’ll focus on works that emphasize the connections and conflicts between collective social memory and individual, personal memory, exploring ways in which different media technologies present distinct challenges and possibilities for artists attempting to negotiate these conflicts. Participants will analyze, discuss, and write about these works in connection with ongoing, overlapping human themes of love, war, family, identity, discrimination, exile.

Professor John Warren

Section 1, M 5:10p - 8:00p
Section 2, W 5:10p - 8:00p

In this introductory class we will explore the conceptual, organizational, and technical skills of film and video production. Through hands-on technical workshops, screenings, lectures, projects and discussions, you will develop the basic skills in image creation, sound design, and editing as they apply to single camera techniques for nonfiction, narrative, and alternative modes. This class will provide a cultural context for different forms of production as well as give you an opportunity to develop critical and collaborative skills through group projects and class critiques. You will create several short film projects, both individually and working in groups.

Professor Se Young Kim

TR 1:10p - 2:25p, Screenings W 8:30p - 11:00p

Cinema today exists in the plural. It stretches across cultural boundaries, inhabits various institutional frameworks, and involves diverse media platforms. This course serves as an introduction to major concepts of film style and moving image analysis. The student will build a vocabulary to describe mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, and sound and discuss different historical models of spectatorship. As important, the course will cover the diversity of contemporary moving image production (including non-fiction, experimental, televisual, web-based, and gaming-oriented) and explore critical methods addressing questions of genre, form, and history. Students are expected to engage with familiar films in unfamiliar ways and to understand cinema as part of an ever-expanding media landscape.

Professor Jonathan Waters

R. 4:10p - 7:00p, Screening R 7:00p - 9:30p

Topics vary. Motion picture production and analysis of nonfiction and experimental forms. Development of conceptual and technical skills for making individual and collaborative film projects. May be repeated for credit more than once if there is no duplication in topic. Students may enroll in more than one section of this course each semester. Offered on a graded basis only. Prerequisite: 1500. [3] (No AXLE credit)

Professor Jonathan Waters

W 4:10p - 7:00p

This course will serve as an opportunity for students to gain more experience directing the scripted narrative film. Students will study the work of a variety of directors and cinematographers to explore how they work together to collectively develop the style, look, and feel of a particular film, while producing several films of their own as well. The aesthetic principles and technical tools of cinematography (cameras, lenses, lighting, etc.) will also be explored in conjunction with directorial techniques (blocking, directing actors, script analysis) and overall set operations. The course will be largely structured as an intense, hands-on workshop consisting of in-class exercises, critiques, and several creative assignments that will required each student to work as either director, actor, or cinematographer, with the goal of ultimately preparing students with the tools necessary to successfully create visually accomplished films.

Professor Jennifer Fay

MWF 11:10a - 12:00p, Screening W 6:00p - 8:30p

What is film? What is the relationship between film and photography, painting and the “real” world that a film may capture? What is a good film? How does a film affect, construct, or delimit a spectator? What is a film spectator? What difference does it make when cinema is analog or digital, on a small or big screen, seen in a theater, at home, or in a gallery? Answers to queries as fundamental as these may seem obvious. (“A good film is entertaining…”) But there is a long and rich tradition of film and media theory that is concerned with elucidating and complicating not only how we answer these questions, but how we frame such questions in the first place. This course is an advanced introduction to film and media theory as a mode of inquiry. We will read some of the major works representing significant movements in film, photography and digital media theory from the early part of the 20th century up to our contemporary moment. We will also consider films, in their own right, as theoretical experiments in perception. This is a reading-intensive class and the material is challenging. But it is very worth the investment!

Professor Se Young Kim

TR 9:35a - 10:50a, Screening T 7:00p - 9:30p

Even in its technological pre-history, cinema has always been a global phenomenon. As a narrative/ entertainment medium, it has been subject to the demands of an international economy and political spheres of influence. In fifteen weeks, this course covers over a century of global film history as it unfolds in twelve different countries at various moments in time. We will consider not only those instances in which science and industry open up new possibilities for the medium while foreclosing others (particularly in the growth of the Hollywood studio system and commercial narrative cinema in the United States), but also how the exigencies of war, poverty, colonialism, and liberation (to name a few) have impinged on production, or served as the production's foundation. In addition to how filmic texts are produced and disseminated, were will also attend to shifting exhibition practices, particularly in cases where the exhibition site radically alters the meaning of the text. No credit for students who have earned credit for HART 272a or 272b. Prerequisite: 1600.

Professor Stephen Moulds

TR 11:00a - 12:15p

You’re heading to the movies, and you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy. But your friend wants to see a slasher flick. Even if you know nothing else about them, you have an idea of what those movies have to offer, based solely on their genres. What makes a genre film work? A collection of familiar tropes? A story arc we can depend on? A tone, a mood, a set of thematic concerns? Do the truly successful films transcend genre? In this course, students will analyze prototypical examples of several classic genres, seeking to define their stylistic and narrative assumptions. Students will then write two short screenplays, combining this analysis with the fundamental skills of dramatic storytelling to create successful genre stories of their own.

Professors Jennifer Fay and Anand Taneja

MW 2:10p - 3:25p, Screening M 7:00p - 9:30p

How and when did cinema function as a medium to define Islam? Why was cinema considered the art form best suited to this purpose? How may we understand Islam through the narrative and aesthetic properties of cinema, on one hand, and how does cinema become Islamic through strategies of production, censorship, and aesthetic design, on the other? Or, put differently: how does cinema change our understanding of Islam and how does Islam change cinema?

This course proposes to answer these questions through extended case studies in which film created an image of and, in some instances, made a case for Islam. These will include Post-Partition India, Post-Revolutionary Iran, and the Post-9/11 West. Team-taught by Professors Jennifer Fay (Cinema & Media Arts| English) and Anand Taneja (Religious Studies| Anthropology), the class invites students from a range of disciplinary and social backgrounds to discuss the connection between a medium and a religious practice. Though designed as an advanced seminar, there is no prerequisite for this class.

Professor Jonathan Waters

M 4:10p - 7:00p

Advanced independent filmmaking, portfolio assembly, and professionalism. Offered on a graded basis only. Prerequisite: 1500 and senior standing. (No AXLE credit)

Planet Bollywood?: South Asian Literature and Film

(Schedule and professor vary)

South Asia is almost a third of the world’s population, but what do we know about its literature and culture? This course offers an introduction to the literature and films of 20th and 21st century South Asia. Bollywood from India and writings in English from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh more broadly have received much global attention in recent times. We will study some of these texts along with literary and cinematic works translated and dubbed from other South Asian languages such as Hindi, Urdu, and Bangla. We will think about cultural difference in our fast globalizing world, and will critically reflect on the ways in which we have come to view, read, and know South Asia. As we do that, we will also learn to write critically about literature and film. (All texts and readings will be in English.) This course satisfies the non-US national cinemas requirement for the CMA major.

Professor Allison Schachter

TR 9:35a - 10:50a

In this course will examine coming-of-age novels, stories, memoirs, and films from multiple Jewish cultural perspectives. What does it mean to grow up in the Russian empire in the late nineteenth century? In Vilna on the eve of World War II? In French colonial Tunisia? In 1950s American suburbia? What were the different protagonists' challenges as they embraced or rejected the Jewish lives their parents lived? What role did sexuality and gender play in Jewish coming of age narratives? We will address a range of themes in the course ranging from minority identity, the Holocaust, and Zionism to sexual l identity and inter-ethnic and inter-faith relationships. We will also reflect on the practice of writing about the lives of others and recording oral histories.
This course fulfills the non-US/ ethnic cinema requirement for the CMA major.

Professor Lutz Koepnick

Thursdays 4:00p - 6:30p

Werner Herzog: Few directors have challenged the limits of German and international art house cinema over the last few decades more consistently than Werner Herzog. Whether hauling boats through the Amazon rainforest, tracking deadly bears in Alaska, or mapping the devastation of natural or human-made disasters across the globe—Herzog’s films and protagonists are known for their uncompromising gestures, their unwavering exploration of different ways of being in the world, their unpredictable mingling of the ecstatic, the visionary, the bizarre, and the aesthetic. This seminar will explore the development of Herzog’s work from the late 1960s to the present. We will study Herzog’s seminal feature films, his unique contributions to the documentary and essay film genre, as much as his work for opera and installation art. Additionally, we will investigate Herzog’s status as an icon of indie filmmaking and examine the extent to which his films, amid an ever-shifting landscape of moving image art, continue to redefine what we might want to understand as art cinema. All readings and discussions in English. This class will count for CMA elective credit or to fulfill the "national cinema" requirement for CMA undergraduate majors.

film