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Current Course Offerings

FALL 2019

CMA 1002W: Moving Images and Analytical Thinking: Musical Film: Art, Tech, Multi


Moving images and new media from various genres, periods, and national contexts. May be repeated for credit once if there is no duplication in topic. Offered on a graded basis only.

The history of the musical film is inherently a multimedia history: consider its intimate connection with advancements in technology, its inclusion of other forms of art and performance, its self-referentiality. In this course, we will study representative musical films alongside critical scholarship as we examine this genre relative to its multimedia engagements with art and technology- and how these forms shape and are shaped by each other. This W course will also focus on critical analysis, research, writing, and argumentation; students will produce response papers, essays, and a final research- based multimedia project. Attendance at a weekly film screening is required.


CMA 1500: Fundamentals of Film and Video Production

Warren and Acierto

Technologies and techniques of filmmaking. Digital video cameras, staging and lighting, sound recording, post-production sound, and image editing. Offered on a graded basis only.


CMA 1600: Introduction to Film and Media Studies


Stylistic tendencies and narrative strategies, genres, and theoretical approaches. Live-action cinema, animation, experimental cinema, television, and computer-generated moving images.


CMA 2260: Digital Production Workshop


Digital cinematography, sound design, and editing. Individual and group projects. Offered on a graded basis only. Prerequisite 1500.


CMA 2400: History of World Cinema


Survey of world film history from 1895 to the present. Key films and filmmakers. Historical, aesthetic, national, and political contexts of films and film movements. Prerequisite: 1600.



CMA 1500: Fundamentals of Film and Video Production

Waters and Warren

Technologies and techniques of filmmaking. Digital video cameras, staging and lighting, sound recording, post-production sound, and image editing. Offered on a graded basis only.


CMA 1600: Introduction of Film and Media Studies

McFarland and Cortez

Our lives are inundated by moving images. They cross cultural boundaries, inhabit various institutional frameworks, and involves diverse media platforms. This course serves as an historical introduction to major concepts of film style and moving image analysis. We will approach cinema not as a simple medium but as a technological trajectory with various precursors and descendants. From silent, to sound, to color, to wide-screen, to digital movies, the course will develop a vocabulary that describes the consistent elements of cinema—mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound design—as well as considering different historical models of spectatorship. We will examine the changing forms of cinema production (including non-fiction, experimental, televisual, and other forms of audio-visual imagery) and explore critical methods addressing questions of genre, form, and meaning. Students will be expected to engage with familiar films in unfamiliar ways, and to view unfamiliar films with patience and openness, in an effort to understand cinema as part of an ever-expanding media landscape.


CMA 2250: 16mm Filmmaking


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 cinematographers, screenwriters, directors, sound technicians/designers, assistant directors, and editors.  Weekly group shoots, 3 short films (any mode or genre) directed by each student.


CMA 2300: Film and Media Theory


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? And might we push back on and resist the ways films construct us? 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 on 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 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!


CMA 2600W: Advanced Screenwriting


Story structure, character development, and dialogue. Prerequisite: 2500W.


CMA 3891: Special Topics in Production: Creating the Web Series


What is a web series? What new and interesting elements can be contributed to this now established medium? With the explosion of web-based content and movie streaming sites, more film and video content is being viewed on the web - rather than in movie theaters or on television - than ever before. Filmmakers’ reaction to this phenomenon has been to create and distribute short-form episodic “webisodes” online for themselves. Thus, the web series was born. In this course we will explore the short history and stylistic variances of web series content, with the ultimate goal of creating and releasing our own original series online by the end of the semester. Students will explore aspects of idea development, episodic scriptwriting, casting, shooting, editing, promotion, and distribution of the short-form web series, while also gaining more confidence in their overall production skills.


CMA 3892: Race in Film and Media


This course interrogates the foundational role of race in the development of modern technologies and media theory. Moving across different periods and media formations, we will address how race as a social category and cultural fantasy has been materialized through specific film technologies, representational norms, and institutional networks. At the same time, we will also look at a range of films and television shows that challenge protocols for constituting race as an object of knowledge and control. Topics will include the racial bias built into visual technologies, digital surveillance, and race and digital cinematography. 

CMA 4962: Senior Seminar on Film Practice


Advanced independent filmmaking, portfolio assembly, and professionalism. Offered on a graded basis only. Prerequisite: 1500 and senior standing.