Film, TV, and Media Studies Courses

Spring 2022 Offerings

  • This course examines cinema as a technology, mass medium, business, entertainment, art form, and cultural product. First we will explore the origins of the motion picture, then narrative and narration, performance, mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound. Next, we’ll look at a specific Hollywood genre, how it has changed over time, and why. Finally, we will examine documentary and avant-garde cinema. This course is about the analysis of cinema in its many forms, and an exploration of culture through an audiovisual medium.

    FLAG: Writing

    Meetings: Wednesdays 9:00am - 12:20pm / Faculty Miranda Banks

    OR Fridays  9:00am - 12:20pm / Faculty Miranda Banks

    Separate discussion required, see PROWL for times

     

     

  • A historical and aesthetic introduction to how television, video games and content developed for the web use and transform the elements of film language to shape and reflect cultural values and attitudes, especially as they have to do with representations of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, faith and religion, and disabilities.

    Meetings: Monday 4:10pm - 7:00pm Faculty Alexander Newman

    OR Wednesday 4:10pm - 7:00pm Faculty Robert Simmons

  • Course description:
    This course is a critical and historical survey of some major developments, trends, movements, filmmakers, and industries in world cinema from 1955 to 1990 and beyond. Because it is impossible to exhaustively cover over thirty-five years of global filmmaking in a semester, we’ll focus our attention on some central themes and countries that demonstrate the differences between foreign and U.S. film by exploring the concepts of first, second, and third cinema, tracking the influence of World War II on global filmmaking, and examining particular national and auteurs’ styles.


    Learning outcomes:
    This course will enable students to:
    ● Identify major trends in global filmmaking after World War II
    ● Appreciate the political and social contexts influencing these films’ production
    ● Track different artistic and political goals for and theorizations of filmmaking across the globe
    ● Develop critical thinking and writing skills about media and culture

    Meetings: Monday 9:00am - 12:20pm Monday OR 12:40pm - 4:00pm OR Wednesday 9:00am - 12:20pm OR Thursday 12:40pm - 4:00pm OR Friday 9:00am - 12:20pm

  • Globally, television is one of the strongest forces in culture. It reshapes our values, helping to construct our identities (personal, familial, cultural) and our place in the world. In this era of an increasingly global community for both creators and audiences, it is vitally important to understand different cultures, different perspectives, and different visual styles. Television, whether traditional broadcasting and cable, or more recently, streaming, remains one of the greatest triumphs of the art of blending the creative spirit and business acumen. Television is nothing if not an art founded on what seem to be unending compromises: audience flow, advertiser needs, time slot constrictions, standards and practices, and appeal to territories beyond local borders. This course explores how the creative/business geniuses of television addressed these challenges and made them part of the art from the days of the Kinescope to streaming content. At a time when movies seem to have lost their artistic and narrative vision, television has become the place to find innovative stories told in ways that not only push the medium but influence other media. Visual texts include pioneering narrative shows as I Love Lucy, Scenes from a Marriage, Village of the 8 Tomb Stones (Japan), The Baby Room (Spain), Squid Games (Korea), All in the Family, Friends and Game of Thrones. We also include news shows (60 Minutes), pioneering documentaries (49 Up) and game/reality (American Idol, Price is Right). Finally, we explore some of the challenges to television in the YouTube era.

    Instructor: Dan Watanabe

    Meeting: Thursday 9:00pm - 12:20pm

  • COURSE DESCRIPTION:
    This class traces the history and development of documentary film, video and digital media. Focus will be on the evolution of non-fiction forms with special regard to issues of style and subject matter, truth vs. reality, politics and justice, identity and ethics.


    The form has been shaped (and continues to be shaped) by technological advances, cultural shifts and upheavals as well as the vagaries of the ever-changing marketplace. Over the years it has influenced fiction filmmaking while simultaneously adapting fictive story-telling techniques for its own purposes.


    As students gain an overview of the history and ongoing re-invention of the genre they will hone their own critical and analytic skills through screenings, discussion and essay writing.


    COURSE OBJECTIVES & LEARNING OUTCOMES:
    Over the course of the semester, students:
    1. Will become familiar with the broad spectrum of documentary and non-fiction
    forms and will gain insight into the philosophical concerns and concepts at the
    core of the documentarian's creative impulse.
    2. Will be exposed to the ways in which documentaries are conceived, filmed and
    constructed and will analyze, interpret and evaluate the "narrative" elements that
    make for an effective documentary.
    3. Will be able to identify, interpret and evaluate seminal documentary works,
    movements and styles and will become familiar with key filmmakers who have
    shaped the genre.
    4. Will explore why the documentary form is a viable creative choice for personal
    expression, as well as for cultural, social, scientific, and journalistic expression.
    5. Will develop critical thinking skills and refine their academic/professional
    writing style.


    INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS & WORKLOAD:
    This course will be taught as a seminar, including a mix of lectures, class discussions, essay writing, and in class and outside assigned screenings. The following are the course requirements:


    1. Film Reports: Students will write two formal critical essays for this class.
    2. A Mid-Term exam: Exam will be multiple choice and based on material
    covered in assigned readings and class lectures.
    3. Film Journal: Students will be required to write brief one-page personal responses to
    ten films assigned for home viewing.
    4. Final Exam: It will consist of a take-home component and an in-class component.

     Faculty: Robert DeMaio

    Meetings: Tuesday 7:10pm - 11:00pm

  • COURSE DESCRIPTION/PRINCIPAL TOPICS
    Engages critical perspectives and discussions of current movies and media, joined frequently by classroom encounters with media creators as well as actors, writers, producers and others engaged in contemporary media creation. Practical discussions of the creative process plus examinations of current professional trends are a focus; aesthetic analysis is a regular weekly feature. Professor Greene is a working TV producer and documentary filmmaker, and will draw on his own professional experience to delve deeply and specifically into the projects presented and the topics raised.


    STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
    It is the intention of his course to demystify the contemporary media landscape by close conversations with working professionals as well as a free-ranging discussion of the themes and stylistic approaches represented by a wide-ranging slate of works. The course can serve to educate aspiring filmmakers about both professional realities and different creative approaches. For the casual filmgoer, the course is designed to challenge pre-existing viewing assumptions and open up different perspectives on media and how it talks to and about the wider world. There is also a strong writing component intended to focus and intensify our weekly classroom experiences through related prompts, and it is the intention of this course to help every student improve their writing.


    COURSE WORK/EXPECTATIONS
    Participation in class discussion and other class activities; weekly writing exercises; two analytical papers examining any film of the student's choice; and a multipart and essay-based take-home final exam. A weekly asynchronous writing assignment based on a relevant prompt posted to Brightspace is also a core feature of this course.

    Faculty Ray Greeene

    Meetings: Tuesday 7:10pm - 10:00pm

  • Course Description   

    The “video essay” has emerged in recent years as a new form of digital communication and entertainment. Media scholars, non-professional critics, and YouTube personalities are using the videographic form to express ideas about media of the past and present. This course will blend analysis and practice. We will closely examine the various types of video essays on film, TV, video games, and other online media. We will also make our own video essays, developing our skills with editing software while enhancing our knowledge and perception of audiovisual techniques. In a flexible, experimental setting, and with no previous experience required, students will learn to use video to make an argument, to comment on media, or simply to explore the video format in a creative way. At the end of the semester, students will have the option to exhibit their work to larger groups on campus or online.  

    Faculty Ken Provencher

    Thursday 7:10pm - 10:00pm

  • COURSE DESCRIPTION: Since their inception, video games have grown from a casual experiment designed to introduce computers to the wider public to a billion-dollar industry with its own culture and place in the larger global culture. The past nineteen months has seen the gaming industry grow as people have turned to games for consolation during the Covid crisis. This course takes as a given that games are worthy of serious scholarly interest even as we play, analyze, share, and talk about games and game culture.

    COURSE OBJECTIVES/LEARNING OUTCOMES: WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW AND BE ABLE TO DO BY THE END OF THE SEMESTER?

    • Develop a theoretical framework for understanding, analyzing, speaking and writing about games and demonstrate this through your writing, group projects, and participation in the class discussions

    • Understand and value the aesthetic components of games (sound, image, world and character design, story, dialogue) and demonstrate this in your writing, group projects, and participation in class discussions

    • Understand the ways that games can be used to address social justice issues and identify ways that you, as a gamer, game scholar, and, possibly, creator of games, can use games to explore your own commitment to creating a more just and equitable world and demonstrate this in your own written and creative work

    • Develop an understanding of games as ethical systems and your own position as an ethical and moral person playing, analyzing, and, possibly, creating games and demonstrate this in your written and creative work

    Faculty: Dr. Sue Scheibler

    Meetings: Tuesday, 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • Film, Media and Social Justice

    Thursdays, 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • An introduction to the theoretical paradigms that underpin film and/or media studies. The course may be offered as a historical survey or focus on a minimum of two distinct theoretical traditions and the historical developments within them (e.g., psychoanalysis/theories of representation and ontological/realist film theory). Alternately, it may focus on introducing the work of a minimum of four dominant film theorists from different decades. Refer to the specific semester description.

    Prerequisite: FTVS 1010 or FTVS 1020.

    Meetings: Tuesday, 4:00pm - 7:00pm Faculty Mikki Kressbach

    OR Thursday, 4:00pm - 7:00pm Faculty Anu Prabhala

  • Course description

    Entertainment Industry Careers was created to serve as the bridge between the world of academia and the business of entertainment.

    Along with exploring the wide variety of roles available in entertainment, this class provides the practical, hands-on tools needed to successfully navigate this highly competitive field.

    In addition to presentations given by the instructor to assist students in procuring a job/career in entertainment, working industry professionals are featured as guest speakers to share their experience and insights.

     Student learning outcomes

    By taking this course, students will:

    • Find out what jobs in entertainment are out there (and what it takes to get them);
    • Craft the necessary tools to make them more attractive to hiring managers/decision makers;
    • Hone their time management and public speaking skills;
    • Engage in classroom discussions with their peers to expand their perspectives;
    • Make connections with others who can assist their careers;
    • Discover more about themselves along the way.

     Work expectations:

    As Entertainment Industry Careers is an elective, it was created to conflict as little as possible with other courses—as a result, there is no midterm, and no final exam. Instead, there are two quizzes designed to ensure students are staying current with the reading material, and a “Semester Takeaways” paper, due at the end of the semester.

     The workload also includes:

    • Preparation of three questions for each week’s guest speaker;
    • A one-page paper with accompanying oral presentation to the class;
    • The creation of a cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile;
    • Conducting an informational interview with an important industry professional, with a resulting 3-page paper and oral presentation.

     

    Faculty: Stephen Domier

    Meetings: Wednesday, 7:20pm - 10:10pm OR Thursday 7:20pm - 10:10pm

  • COURSE DESCRIPTION/PRINCIPAL TOPICS:
    This workshop is designed for all students who wish to reinforce and perfect their knowledge of French while focusing on the most relevant themes in the business world, with a special focus on the film industry. Students are introduced to the cultural, social, and administrative realities of the French/francophone business world. Through a functional simulation that involves them, students are trained to face common situations of written and oral professional communication in French and create a mock talent firm start-up in the film industry. The workshop is conducted mostly (if not entirely) in French.


    STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES:
    Upon completion of this Workshop in Professional French (French for the Film Industry), students will be able to:

    • recognize, understand, and use oral and written professional communication functions in French

    • situate and define the general context of the cultural, social, and administrative realities of the
    French/francophone business world, with a special focus on the film industry

    • have “authentic” oral and written professional exchanges in French and interact with French / francophone cultures through a functional simulation

    • expand their international cultural knowledge, competencies, and skills in French to increase their global competitiveness

    Faculty: PROF. VERONIQUE FLAMBARD-WEISBART

    Meeting: Tuesday and Thursday 9:40am - 11:10am

  • Faculty: Robert Simmons

    Meetings: Monday 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • This course explores a selection of key films produced in Italy since the 1940s, placing them in historical perspective. The selected films encompass several broadly conceived historical and social themes, including Fascism and WW2, the economic boom, Italian migrations, and the evolution of organized crime. Additionally, we examine issues of film language, genre, and audience address, reflecting on how cinema both reflects and shapes understandings of national identity, historical memory, and discourses of family, gender and sexuality.

    Faculty: Aine O'Healy

    Meetings: Mondays, 4:15pm - 7:15pm

  • A critical introduction to French Cinema. It may be offered as a historical survey; it may focus on a specific historical timeframe; or, it may offer a historical overview of a particular topic. Refer to the specific semester descriptions.

    Faculty: Stephen Ujlaki

    Meetings: Thursdays, 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • This course will be offered as a critical survey of Japanese cinema. In it, you’ll be introduced to the major directors, genres, institutions, and structures that have shaped Japanese cinema in the world. Across this we’ll also consider how the world imagines Japan through cinema from a number of different vantage points. By course’s end you should expect to have a strong foundation in Japanese cinema across its history that will include everything from some of the most iconic films from Japan to less familiar independent, experimental, documentary and marginal works. Class will be organized around screenings and discussions, with some brief lectures.

    Student learning outcomes:

    Students should acquire

    • broad knowledge about Japanese cinema over its long history, including its movements, major figures, and gatekeepers
    • an analytic for thinking about how national cinema travels within the world
    • knowledge of the analytical methods that have been used to approach Japanese cinema and flexibility to self-reflexively adopt these analytical methods
    • skills for researching and writing about Japanese cinema that reflect a deep knowledge of its history, aesthetics, and social context
    • skills for thinking and writing about film critically that should transfer to other academic and professional settings.

    Work expectations: Weekly required readings will support class discussions. You will write three short essays. Across the term you’ll be involved in a project where you’ll watch more films relevant to one of our course units with a group, discuss them with one another and then present your findings about these films in a presentation at the term’s end.

    Faculty Kimberly Icreverzi

    Wednesday 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • Objectives: Students will examine the central themes, style, working methods, and approach to Acting of Elia Kazan, one of cinema’s most important maverick auteurs (b. 1909 Constantinople, d. 2003 Manhattan).  Students will examine the works of other New York Filmmakers who were profoundly influenced by Kazan: Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Martin Ritt, Mike Nichols, Ulu Grosbard, and Spike Lee.  Students will do acting exercises that will lead them to understand better acting and the vocabulary used between Directors and Actors. They will be assigned a partner and work on a scene together throughout the semester. The course will also focus on how the city of New York is used as both a location and a living presence in the films screened.

    Learning Outcomes:  Students will be able to articulate in detail the complex themes, visual and narrative styles of these international auteurs who have reshaped American (and world) cinema.  Students will show increased awareness of the complexities and possibilities of narrative: biographical, autobiographical, and visual storytelling (in addition to acting). Students will be able to distinguish between creative acting (which is a recreation of life) and indicative acting (which is a set and predetermined way of behaving).  Students will show an understanding of actor’s techniques: objectives, intentions, and motivations that can lead to creative and truthful behavior on screen.

    Faculty: Rick Hadley and Barry Primus   

    Thursday 4:10pm - 7:00pm

     

  • Global Authors: In this class, we will explore the work of three celebrated directors: Eric Rohmer (France), Wong Kar-Wai (Hong Kong), and Lucrecia Martel (Argentina). Each of these directors is associated, to a degree, with their homeland’s New Wave; each is known for having an idiosyncratic and intense style, and for making emotionally charged, sensuous, and occasionally ambiguous films. Although they worked across vastly different geographic, political, and historical contexts, their work deals with certain similar themes: in particular, the complexities of desire, the arbitrariness of choice, and the emotional, visceral relationship between people and physical environments: the beach, the city, the mountains.

    Faculty Emma Benayoun

    Monday 9:00am - 12:20pm

  • Course Description  

    In Global Film Authors, we will examine two of the most well-known filmmakers in East Asia: Wong Kar-wai of China, and Hayao Miyazaki of Japan. At first glance, their cinema may appear to be very different, but a closer look shows how deeply each of them is invested in the idea of a unique cinematic “world” that we can chart across their various works. As film authors, both Wong and Miyazaki have struggled against the challenges of their respective industries and the conventions of local filmmaking practices. We will consider how each of them developed their own voices and international reputations. And by closely examining some of their major works, such as Chungking Express (1994), In the Mood for Love (2000), Spirited Away (2001), and Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), we will see how they comment on contemporary social and cultural issues that are of a global interest. In all of the course screenings, we can see individuals facing challenges of their environment, just as the filmmakers themselves have struggled against industrial norms to realize their unique and powerful visions.

     

    Student Learning Outcomes

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will…

    • become familiar with the lives and works of Wong Kar-wai and Hayao Miyazaki, and how they create unique “worlds” that reflect upon contemporary social and cultural issues.
    • gain an understanding of cinema as the work of an “author,” a single person who has creative control over a film’s design.
    • embrace the varied approaches that filmmakers use in cinema, the wide array of stories they tell with it, and the way they inspire, and are inspired by, filmmakers of other nations and cultures.
    • value the diverse perspectives we bring to understanding, interpreting, and responding to cinema.
    • be able to demonstrate the above through discussions, exams, and written assignments.

    Faculty Ken Provencher Tuesday 12:40pm - 4pm

     

  • “Authorship” is a challenging concept in the world of television. How can authorship be determined in a world dominated by writer’s rooms; intervention from networks, studios, and distribution platforms? How can one truly have a “vision” when there are so many pitfalls to traditional authorship? The answer is… there may be many authors on television. We will cover each of these groups in detail. Traditional Show-Runner Authors: A television “show runner” is a supervising writer/producer, responsible not only for every episode’s script, but also for casting, production, and post-production. If anyone can be called a true “auteur” in television, it is the show runner. Among those we examine are luminaries such as David Chase, Shonda Rhimes, and Norman Lear. Creative Producers: Unlike the show runner, the Creative Producer delegates to other show runners, but maintains a solid look on all of their shows. Typical examples of this include Don Bellisario, Quinn Martin, and Aaron Spelling. Sponsors: While not as viable in the world of television today, in the past, single sponsorship programming had a great deal of control over the content of their programming. Examples include Kraft and Ford. Distributors/Platforms: While corporations such as Netflix might seem removed from the creative process, there are certain elements that must be present in a Netflix program in terms of style, look, and content. The same holds true for HBO Max, Disney+, and other streaming platforms. The Foreign Difference: Programming on an overseas basis follows very different models than United States counterparts, mostly because of far more limited budgets. Yet, artists as diverse as Ingmar Bergman and Fukusaku Kinji have all left indelible marks in the world of television, just as they did in the theatrical realm. In more cases than not, the distribution channel tends to be a larger influence than the individual creative talent. In England, for example, there is a distinct difference between a program on BBC1 or 2 and one from ITV or Channel 5. We explore difference across other countries. 

    Faculty Dan Watanabe

    Thursday 4:00pm - 7pm

  • Course description:
    Horror is one of the most recognizable and longest lasting genres in film, and has become a more integral part of the American film industry in the last forty years. In order to understand this body of film, we’ll not only examine the varying forms and content that have defined horror for over a century, but also interrogate the very concept of “genre” itself, asking what goes into the codification of a genre, what kinds of production it encourages, and what kinds of reception this categorization practice enables. With examples from a range of time periods, styles, and stories, together we’ll explore the lasting social need for horror film, how horror reflects different moments in American culture, and how the genre has commented on itself and its place in the world.


    Learning outcomes:
    This course will enable students to:
    ● Deconstruct the deceptively complex concept of genre
    ● Identify major trends, tropes, and transitions in American horror filmmaking from the silent era to the present
    ● Locate horror film productions within historical, cultural, and political contexts
    ● Develop critical thinking and writing skills about media and culture

    Work expectations:
    Weekly readings (comprising genre theory, horror history, journalism and criticism, etc.)
    Attendance to weekly lectures and screenings
    Engaged discussions during our class meetings
    Written responses to the topics and readings covered in class
    Midterm assignment demonstrating mastery of class materials
    Final research paper applying class approaches to a horror film of the student’s choosing

    Faculty: Bryan Wuest

    Meeting: Thursday 9:00pm - 12:20pm

  • Objectives:  Students will examine the evolution of the Western from 1903 to the present, focusing on key elements and themes of the genre (such as nature vs. civilization; East vs. West; the closing of the frontier; the American dream/myth).  The course will study the traditional (classical) Western and examine how important directors (such as John Ford, Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood, Sam Fuller, and Sam Peckinpah) have used the elements of the genre to express their own individual concerns.  Major trends to be examined include: the classical Western, the neurotic Western, the vengeance Western, the professional Western, the auteur Western, and the revisionist Western.  The course will also examine the stylistics and themes of one international genre that has both been influenced by and influenced the Western: the Spaghetti Western in Italy (Spain).  Finally, students will study the reasons for the decline and revival of the genre.

    Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate in detail the complex themes, and visual and narrative styles of these auteurs who shaped the Western genre.  Students will demonstrate increased awareness of the different types of Westerns and how they comment on the changing face of American society.

    Faculty Dr. Richard Hadley

    Meetings: Tuesday, 4:10pm - 7:00pm

  • Global Film Genres: Melodrama: As a genre, melodrama predates the cinema by hundreds of years. In film, melodrama operates both as a genre—a category of film replete with its own conventions and canon—and as a mode, an emotional and narrative imperative that, as critic Linda Williams has written, “is the foundation of the classical Hollywood movie.” Elements of melodrama can be found in a number of film genres and across a variety of national and historical contexts. In this class, we will explore films that have come to define the genre alongside films that have pushed at its boundaries, and in the process consider melodrama’s rich cinematic lineage that continues to the present day. In particular, we will focus on melodrama’s relationship to the body and the home, and to the relationship of the “interior” (private, emotional space) to the “exterior” (public, social space) in these films. We will consider the ways that melodrama has tackled various forms of injustice and violence—whether racialized, gendered, or class-based—alongside its more intimate explorations of the bonds of familial and romantic love. We will look at four major categories: the crime melodrama, the generational melodrama, the maternal melodrama, and the romantic melodrama. In learning about each, we will work towards a deeper understanding of melodrama’s vital role in cinematic history.

    Faculty: Emma Benayoun

    Meetings: Monday, 4:10pm - 7:00pm

  • Instructors: Who is teaching this class and how can we contact them?

    This course is taught by Dr. Sue Scheibler, Film, TV, and Media Studies. Sue will be assisted by Harrison Hamm, WGST and SCWR.

    Course Description: What will this course cover? What is this thing called “Queer TV”? What do we mean by “queer”? Why do we use “queer” instead of “LGBTQIA+”? What is TV? What do we mean when we say, “let’s watch TV together”? Is TV queer in and of itself? We will use readings from queer theory and TV studies to inform our TV viewing as we attempt to answer these questions. If we all stay engaged with the readings, screenings, and discussion, we will raise even more interesting and thought-provoking questions as the semester progresses.

    Learning outcomes: What will we know, be able to do, and value by the end of the semester?

    If you stay engaged with the class---complete the readings, watch the assigned readings, and come to class prepared to participate in lively and productive discussions---you will know some fundamental concepts from queer theory and TV studies.

    You will also have a foundational understanding of the concerns and questions that scholars and artists working in queer theory and TV studies explore in their scholarly and creative work.

     In addition, you will be able to

    • Define and use terms from queer theory and TV studies in your writing as well as our class discussions
    • Recognize and critique the ways that sex, gender, and sexuality are constructed in TV texts and how these constructions both inform and are informed by our personal and cultural positions.
    • Recognize the ways that sex, gender, and sexuality intersect with race, ethnicity, class, and disability in TV texts as well as in our critical, creative, affective, and evaluative responses to these texts.
    • Read TV texts “queerly”
    • Articulate your ideas through a variety of ways: participation in our class discussion (by speaking up in class, commenting via the zoom chat feature, and/or using the zoom reaction icons); writing; and a formal presentation to the class (end of semester power-point party)
    • Demonstrate through your writing your ability to pay attention to viewpoints and ideas raised in class and engage with them in a way that moves our conversation forward into interesting and thought-provoking areas
    • Value the role that reflection plays in our critical, creative, and affective lives as you engage in weekly reflection exercises that ask you to take time to just stop, breathe, and reflect
    • Value the collective and collaborative production of knowledge as you work with your classmates to list and define key terms that emerge from our readings and discussion

    Faculty Sue Scheibler

    Thursday, 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • This course maps the transformations of American independent cinema from the watershed year of 1989 to our contemporary moment. Once considered a type of American filmmaking produced independently of the dominant established U.S. film industry and outside mainstream cinema practices, these films tended to be more avant-garde and even if not overtly experimental, often gave an alternative voice to dominant ideology.

    But since the 1990s the industrial culture of American independent cinema has changed and has been subsumed by Hollywood as it has become a reliable revenue stream for the mainstream film industry as an expanding apparatus of institutional and financial support from major studios allowed the indie to move within and outside the traditional art-house circuit to ensure that it too can be a $100 million blockbuster film.

    Examining many of its more commercially successful iterations this course will explore the shifting parameters of formal innovation, auteurship, subversion, postmodernism and taste that gird modern American independent cinema as the cultural formation around these films continues to adapt and change to meet industrial standards and audience expectations.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Cultivate a greater appreciation for the expanding American film canon which still depends on independent films as a capstone of innovative and great U.S. filmmaking.
    • Learn the fundamental concepts from film studies as they pertain to film style, grammar, modes of production and reception.
    • Continue to develop and refine your critical thinking, researching and writing skills.
    • Become aware of the salient issues and topics that imbricate the U.S. film industry as a global formation as well as become cognizant of how the university plays an integral part in our understanding of film and filmmakers as art objects and artists.
    • Begin to understand the ways that directors can work to build their critical reputations which helps green-light their films and ultimately secures their cultural legacies.

    SFTV Grads Only

    Faculty Dr. Gloria Shin

    Meetings: Tuesday 9:00am - 11:50am

    OR Mondays 9:00am - 11:50am - Faculty TBD

  • COURSE DESCRIPTION: Since their inception, video games have grown from a casual experiment designed to introduce computers to the wider public to a billion-dollar industry with its own culture and place in the larger global culture. The past nineteen months has seen the gaming industry grow as people have turned to games for consolation during the Covid crisis. This course takes as a given that games are worthy of serious scholarly interest even as we play, analyze, share, and talk about games and game culture.

    COURSE OBJECTIVES/LEARNING OUTCOMES: WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW AND BE ABLE TO DO BY THE END OF THE SEMESTER?

    • Develop a theoretical framework for understanding, analyzing, speaking and writing about games and demonstrate this through your writing, group projects, and participation in the class discussions
    • Understand and value the aesthetic components of games (sound, image, world and character design, story, dialogue) and demonstrate this in your writing, group projects, and participation in class discussions
    • Understand the ways that games can be used to address social justice issues and identify ways that you, as a gamer, game scholar, and, possibly, creator of games, can use games to explore your own commitment to creating a more just and equitable world and demonstrate this in your own written and creative work
    • Develop an understanding of games as ethical systems and your own position as an ethical and moral person playing, analyzing, and, possibly, creating games and demonstrate this in your written and creative work

    Faculty: Sue Scheibler

    Wednesday 1:00pm - 4:00pm

  • Course Description

    New media offer diverse platforms for storytelling, and the timing could not be better with audiences diversifying and creators demanding stories that reflect their experiences. To generate futures together, rather than just navigate or survive them, we must inhabit worlds we could imagine. In Constructing Story Worlds, we will discover, among other things, that the goal of building a fictional world is to build a metaphor. And the success of the world isn’t measured by how coherent or well-mapped the world is, but by whether the world and the meaning map onto each other.

    Through the analysis of story worlds in media, this course specifically designed for writers will deepen understanding of the role of advanced story forms. Students will gain tools for conceptualizing innovative stories by learning world-building fundamentals. However, a world is not limited to a place on a map, particularly a western map, and this course seeks to elasticize our sense of what is possible through the study of global story forms. By assuming an ecological view—the hero in a world—we will explore how the world is a physical expression of the hero, which dictates every piece and prop placed in that world. The world was not built in a day, but our story worlds can still be efficiently constructed through deployment of innovative structures, metaphor, character, and such territories as Horror, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Comedy, Romance, Adventure and the Thriller: Hollywood genre forms too are story worlds.

    Learning Outcomes

    Acquire knowledge of world building fundamentals.
    Develop critical skills in analyzing advanced story structures and story worlds.

    Understand the role of Hollywood genre forms in world building modeling.

    Expand understanding of film architecture and the role of metaphor in the building of a story world.

    Work Expectations: Essays, group projects, individual world building project, concept development

    Faculty: Mary Kuryla

    Tuesday, 12:40pm - 3:30pm

  • Tuesday, 12:40pm - 3:30pm

  • COURSE DESCRIPTION:
    FTVS 598 "Documentary Authors” examines the careers and works of five directors who have had a lasting impact on the field of documentary and non-fiction filmmaking. Those showcased include Frederick Wiseman, the Maysles Bros., Agnes Varda, Haskell Wexler and Werner Herzog; also included are contemporary documentarians who cite them as powerful influences (Sam Green, Chloe Zhao, Kristen Johnson, among others). The course explores production methods and styles pioneered by these innovative filmmakers ranging from Direct Cinema, Cinema Verité, first-person documentary and re-enactment; while investigating the creative challenges, aesthetic concerns, and the social and ethical questions posed by each.


    COURSE OBJECTIVES & LEARNING OUTCOMES:
    Over the course of the semester, students will:
    1. Be able to identify and evaluate seminal documentary works, movements and styles as they
    relate to 5 influential filmmakers who have shaped the documentary genre throughout history.
    2. Gain familiarity with a variety of documentary and non-fiction forms; gain insight into the
    philosophical and artistic concerns at the core of each documentarian's creative impulse.
    3. Identify narrative and stylistic strategies unique to the works of the featured film artists.
    4. Explore and evaluate the position these 5 filmmakers hold within the history and evolution of the documentary form and determine their relevance to contemporary documentary-makers.
    5. Develop critical thinking skills and refine their academic/professional writing style.


    INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS & WORKLOAD:
    This course will be taught as a seminar, including a mix of lectures, class discussions, essay
    writing, and in-class and outside assigned screenings. The following are the course
    requirements:
    1. FILM REPORTS: Students will write 2 film reports for this course.
    2. Film Journal: Students will keep a journal over the course of the semester. It should include
    weekly entries that express reflections and further thoughts about films screened in class.
    4. FINAL EXAM: It will consist of a take-home essay and an in-class essay .

    Faculty: Robert DeMaio

    Thursday, 7:10pm - 10:00pm