Fall 2022 Offerings
In Art of Cinema, we explore the following: how does a film communicate information and meaning to its audience? What are the expressive components of cinema?
Cinema is a key component of our cultural landscape and how we understand ourselves and the world. This course is aimed at developing a deeper appreciation for film by developing critical thinking and reading skills. We will explore how audiences make meaning from artistic and thematic cinematic strategies by examining its core communication elements. Moreover, we will examine how cinematic developments have been influenced by technology, cultural trends, and time.
During the first half of the course, we will break down the aesthetic components of cinema. (Cinema refers broadly to film, video, and digital time-based works intended for screening before a mass audience.) We will examine each element’s function in the production of meaning in a text, and in doing so, generate a shared vocabulary through which we can all speak and write with intelligence, confidence, and specificity about the ways in which a work affects us.
In the second half, we will discuss film history and genre by examining movie genre classifications. We then move into specific film topics that concern broader possibilities for cinematic expression. These topics include avant-garde and animation films that explore the medium’s relationship to reality and deviations from traditional storytelling. Therefore, during the second half of the course, we will use the language and grammar of cinema developed in the course’s first half, linking our aesthetic and technical understanding of film codes and language to generic and other formats -- in the larger cultural context.
Course modality – In-person lecture and screenings. Separate 50-minute discussion section also required.
Learning Outcomes – At the end of course, students will:
- Know the aesthetic components of cinema, including their historical development and the ways the function in the production of meaning, and be able demonstrate this knowledge in their exams and writing assignments.
- Know a shared vocabulary that enables scholarly and critical film discourse and demonstrate this knowledge in their discussion and writing.
- Understand the relationship between cinema’s aesthetic language and the cultural, technological, and economic conditions that determine it and demonstrate this knowledge in their discussion, exams, and written assignments.
- Value the diverse perspectives we bring to our understanding, interpretation and emotional response to cinema.
- Value the diverse approaches that filmmakers have taken to their art form as well as the stories they tell.
Meetings: Tuesdays 11:30am - 2:50pm / Faculty Miranda Banks
OR Thursdays 11:30am - 2:50pm / Faculty Ken Provencher
Separate discussion required, see PROWL for times
‘Stories matter. They help us find our way through a confusing and complicated world while providing us with positive and powerful images of ourselves. They can help us understand and empathize with others, especially those whose experiences are different from ours. They can reinforce our cultural attitudes and values or they can challenge us to think about difference differently. Through stories, we can better understand the ways that power and privilege impact different communities; compare the experiences of people from varied racial, ethnic, gendered, neurodiverse, class, and faith/religious groups; and gain an appreciation for the ways that race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disabilities intersect
0to form complicated personal and collective identities. This course investigates the ways that television, video games and content created for the web use and transform the elements of film language to create worlds and populate them with compelling characters in order to tell stories that shape and reflect cultural values and attitudes, especially those circulating in and around diverse and varied identities, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, faith and religion, and disabilities’
By the end of the semester, you will…
- Know the history and development of television, the internet, and study of video games
- Understand and be able to analyze the aesthetic aspects of an array of televisual, internet-based, and game texts with a specific focus on the ways that gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, faith and religion, and disabilities can be constructed through them
- Understand the ways that media scholars analyze and discuss texts and be able to apply scholarly discourse in their own writing and discussion
By the end of the semester you will be able to...
- Expand, deepen, and apply your critical thinking and reading skills
- Develop a shared vocabulary for analyzing media texts
- Do a close reading of a media text--Refine your ability to construct and support an effective analytical and argumentative essay--Be able to reflect on your own learning and use these reflections to deepen learning
By the end of the semester you will value...
- The contributions that marginalized groups have made and respect the continuing challenges they face to tell their stories in complicated and diverse ways
- Multiple perspectives and ways of expressing ideas creatively, analytically, and in scholarship
- The importance of informed discussion and debate to challenge, expand and clarify thinking
- Scholarly discourse and participation in a community of learning
This course will have a blend of in-class and out-of-class elements. Every week there will be work you do on your own and we will convene on Wednesdays to go over it together, have screenings and discussions. We’ll start in a lecture/discussion mode, then shift to a student-led mode in which you will present materials and I will guide discussions. There will be a midterm and final exam as well.
Meetings: Monday 11:30 AM - 2:50 PM Faculty Robert Simmons
OR Tuesday 11:30 AM - 2:50 PM Faculty Alexander Newman
This course examines some of the most important industrial and artistic developments, and some of the most pressing and relevant thematic issues, in cinema worldwide from 1895 to 1955. Although we consider cinema culture today to be “global” in its various dimensions, the notion of a global cinema culture is fairly recent, having been preceded, first, by the codification of cinematic practices and conventions in the early 20th century. This course will consider world cinema in the “national” context of the World War era. As film industries in Europe and Asia respond to, and are threatened by, the outbreaks of war in their home countries, filmmakers struggle to maintain their positions, even as they innovate cinematic styles. At the same time, American studios establish their dominance in the domestic and global marketplace through powerful distribution networks and the popularization of “Hollywood style” narrative and audiovisual design. The films, filmmakers, and topics covered here will reflect on this broad period as a national, pre-global era of world cinema.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, students will…
- know some of the most important aesthetic developments in world cinema during, between, and immediately after the First and Second World Wars, which will be traced to specific countries and filmmakers responding to these major conflicts.
- gain an understanding of cinema in a national context, where barriers of foreign language, culture, and government restrictions determine much of the content as new production and distribution methods are established.
- learn and make effective use of important terms and concepts derived from cinema practices of the wartime period (e.g. Russian formalism, German Expressionism, etc.) that are still in use today.
- 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.
Class Format – In-person lecture and screenings.
Midterm and Final Exams
Two analysis papers
Meetings: Tuesdays 11:30am - 2:50pm Faculty: Anupama Prabhala OR
Monday 3:05pm - 6:25pm Faculty: Kenneth Provencher
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.
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 8:00am - 11:20am OR Monday 3:05pm - 6:25pm OR Tuesday 8:00am - 11:20am OR Wednesday 3:05pm - 6:25pm
Without a doubt, television is a powerful medium. It can reflect and shape values, help construct identities (personal, familial, cultural and national), teach us about the world and our place in it, and bring people together. Many of our attitudes about family, school, romance, gender roles, marriage, work, class, and ethnicity are shaped and informed by what we watch on television. 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. But what is this thing called television? How has it changed over time, from its beginnings in radio to the internet age? How do we watch it? How do we talk and write about it critically and thoughtfully as consumers and as scholars? Further, the explosion of social media and YouTube (and the rest) culture has created new challenges to traditional television –both for the good and bad. Finally, massive upheavals are happening all over the entertainment industry, with shifting demographics and audience patterns. Understanding what is going on in the context of what happened in the past is the best way to plan for the future.
Instructor: Dan Watanabe
Meeting: Thursday 6:25pm - 10:00pm
Today’s media-watchers keep telling us that we live in the golden age of documentary. And this may be the case. Certainly, there has never been such a proliferation of non-fiction product available on the media landscape: feature theatrical docs, streaming docs, docu-series, podcasts, digital shorts, reality shows, TikTok videos etc.
This class traces the history and development of documentary film, video and digital media, touching on works that laid the foundation for today’s so-called gilded era. From Nanook of the North to Keeping Up With the Kardashians to Tiger King, to the dawn of “Fake News”, we will investigate issues of style vs. subject matter, truth vs. reality,
politics and social justice, identity and ethics.
The form has been shaped (and continues to be shaped) by technological advances, cultural upheavals as well as the vagaries of the ever-changing marketplace. Over the years it has influenced fiction filmmaking while simultaneously applying fictive storytelling techniques for its own purposes. As students gain insight into the ongoing re-invention of the genre they will hone their own critical and analytic skills through screenings, discussion and essay writing.
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. Class participation: Attendance and participation are taken seriously, as is the exchange of ideas among classmates. In-class screenings provide the fodder for group conversation, creative questioning, and in-class debate on various issues. Consistent and thoughtful contribution is expected.
2. Assigned readings: Each week’s lecture will be augmented by a reading assignment in the text. Students are expected to have read the selection before class and be prepared to discuss it.
3. Film Reports: Students will write two formal critical analysis essays for this class.
4. Mid-Term exam: Exam will be multiple choice and be based on material covered in assigned readings, class lectures and discussions.
5. Film Journal: Students will write one-page personal responses to ten films assigned for home viewing.
6. Final Exam: It will consist of a take-home essay component and an in-class essay component.
Faculty: Robert DeMaio
Meetings: Thursdays 6:25pm - 10:00pm
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 this 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.
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 Prof. Ray Greeene
Meetings: Tuesday 6:25pm - 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 ASSIGNMENTS: Collaborative terms: We will work collaboratively to create our own glossary of terms. Once we have created our list of terms to define, you will sign up for two terms: one for which you will write the first draft of a definition and the second for which you will an addendum, in which you will build on a first draft definition created by one of your classmates. More specific guidelines will be distributed and posted on BrightSpace.
Weekly reflection exercises: These are designed to encourage you to take time each week to step back, take a breath, hit pause, and reflect on the week, following a set of guided reflections. The guidelines will be distributed and posted on BrightSpace. You’ll upload your responses to BrightSpace each week.
Group projects: Throughout the semester you will have the opportunity to work with some of your classmates on a variety of group projects, the last of which will be to design a video game (on paper) that deals with a social justice issue and pitch it to the class at the end of the semester. Specific guidelines will be distributed and posted on BrightSpace. You will also have the opportunity to write a short reflection essay, reflecting on the experience of working in a group.
Short essays: You will have the opportunity to write several short (2-4 pages) essays throughout the semester. These essays will be designed to encourage you to think about games from a variety of perspectives. Prompts for each one will be distributed and posted on BrightSpace. You will upload your essays to BrightSpace.
Gameplay journals: Since this is a video game class, you should be playing and/or observing games throughout the semester. In fact, playing games is part of our expectations for how you use your class preparation time each week. 7 Writing in a journal will help you step back from your gameplay to reflect and analyze your experience. Specific guidelines will be distributed, and you will post your journals on the BrightSpace page
Course Description: This course examines how digital technologies are reshaping our understanding of health, bodies, and habits. Over the course of the semester, we will analyze popular digital media, including smartphones, apps, websites, wearable devices, and digital documentaries to explore how the language, visual culture, and methodologies of science and medicine have become incorporated into our digital daily lives. Specifically, the course will focus on the relationship between bodies and digital technologies to examine how emerging media impact our perception of health and wellness. In other words, this class explores “feeling healthy” through digital media. This course foregrounds hands-on engagement with digital technologies through activities, group projects, and assignments. Students will be given the opportunity to borrow digital fitness and wellness devices, including a Fitbit, to complete assignments and activities. Topics include contagion narratives, wellness wearables, mHealth apps, WebMD, crowdsourced medicine, the digital wellness industry, femtech, and online self-help and positive psychology.
Workload Expectations: In addition to weekly readings, this course includes two projects using fitness and wellness technologies: Project 1: Students will have the opportunity to borrow a Fitbit for the semester to complete two short paper assignments. Project 2: Students will be asked to work in groups to complete a research presentation on wearable wellness technologies.
Research Opportunity: Students can choose to participate in a research study on teaching with wellness technologies. Participation is voluntary and will not impact their progress in the class. I will be seeking student co-authors for this study to collaborate on an article for publication.
Faculty: Mikki Kressbach
Meetings: Mondays 3:05pm - 6:25pm
Course description: Although sometimes understood in the past as a medium of “pure entertainment,” film has also had an essential relationship to evolving social conditions in the United States and various struggles for change. This course will focus on moments where film and media have commented upon, documented, and even informed social change.
We will analyze and contextualize media reflecting a wide variety of identity categories and social issues, looking both at and beyond media to understand its complicated intersections with power, economics, personhood, and representation. By familiarizing ourselves with basic theoretical concepts fundamental to cultural and social analysis, we’ll equip ourselves to think with nuance about the varied ways media has related to society.
Weekly readings (on history, theory, and media analysis)
Attendance to weekly lectures and screenings
Engaged discussions during our class meetings
Written responses to the topics and readings covered in class
Midterm and final demonstrating mastery of class materials
Research paper doing comparative analysis of media focused on social issues
Faculty: Bryan Wuest
Wednesdays, 11:30am - 2:50pm
Course Description: This course examines American cinema during the1980s. Our initial aim is to situate each movie in the context of its release, and ultimately understand its complex relationship to American culture. This investigation will challenge us to see familiar movies in fresh ways, and to reconsider the illusions we may have about the culture and industry that produced them. This is not a celebration of the 1980s, nor is it about the ‘best’ or ‘most remembered’ movies of the decade. Instead, we’ll use a select group of movies to critically explore a complicated time and place. Our goal is a clear-eyed engagement with the trends, cycles, and themes that emerged or recurred in American cinema in a pivotal time in the nation’s history.
Student Learning Outcomes: Upon successful completion of this course, students will...
Understand the economic logics of Hollywood that in part gave rise to these films.
Gain an appreciation of the political and social context which made these films relevant at the time.
Be able to distinguish current social and political norms in American cinema from those of the 1980s.
Develop a vocabulary specific to cinema studies, and integrate it with discourses from other disciplines.
Be able to demonstrate the above through discussions, written assignments, exams, and presentations.
Instructional Methods: This course will have a blend of in-class and out-of-class elements. Every week there will be work you do on your own and we will convene on Mondays to go over it together, have screenings and discussions. We’ll start in a lecture /discussion mode, then shift to a student-led mode in which you will present materials and I will guide discussions. There will be a midterm and final exam as well.
Faculty: Robert Simmons
Meetings: Wednesdays 11:30pm - 2:50pm
Objectives: Students will examine in depth the films and film-making style of many of cinemas most important international auteurs. Particular emphasis will be placed on innovations in film style and story-telling that represented a radical stylistic break from Hollywood models. Students will study the French New Wave and innovations in style: use of natural sound, light-weight cameras, non-professional and real locations (particularly the streets of Paris). We will also examine film movements in Britain, Spain, Italy, Sweden, and the Czech Republic. Students will also analyze and define each director’s visual style.
Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate in detail the complex themes, and visual and narrative styles of these international auteurs who have reshaped American and world cinema and influenced contemporary film-makers as varied as Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen, the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson, Noah Bombeck, and Martin Scorsese. To increase students’ awareness of the complexities and possibilities of narrative and visual story-tellling.
Faculty: Richard Hadley
Meetings: Tuesdays, 3:05 PM - 6:25 PM
This interdisciplinary course offers students the opportunity to appreciate and reflect on a selection of Greek films in their political and cultural setting. The course aims to:
- Carry out a critical study in detail and in depth of the major contributors to contemporary Greek cinema.
- Study the emergence of various film movements, styles, genres and approaches to narrative
- Examine the way in which Modern Greek cinema has been inspired by and has creatively reworked timeless themes from Greek myth and from the masterpieces of ancient Greek literature —epic poetry, tragedy, comedy.
- Uncover any coded political and social messages conveyed by modern versions of mythical prototype.
- Train the students in the critical and intelligent appreciation of cinema by means of essay-writing and class presentations.
- A selection of readings will be assigned per class to elaborate on the historical/political background, and on the particular film-director and film.
- Explore the social and cultural context of Greek cinema and the impact this had on Modern Greek identity as portrayed in Greek films.
Faculty: Katerina Zacharia
Meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00pm - 3:45pm
Course description:Our course will focus on avenging women across Asian Cinema. It will be truly comparative in scope, stretching across both historical time and cartographies of Asia to investigate the allure of this figure in Asian cinema and its global reception. Because this figure will organize our study you should expect to think about the relationship between gender, genre, and violence in the course. We'll look to the sister of the femme fatale, the final girl, the bad girl, the violent girl, and the mean girl to question whether films organized around lady avengers are feminist, asking: what can cinema avenge (and for whom)? Films will include Lady Snowblood (Japan, 1973), The Terrorist (India, 1998), “Dumplings” (Hong Kong, 2004), Chocolate (Thailand, 2008), Bedevilled (South Korea, 2010), and many more. You will also leave with a very strong sense of the Asian influences on Tarantino’s films (most notably, Kill Bill) and the programming at his New Beverly cinema.
Workload expectations: Weekly in-class screenings of films will be accompanied by readings (from the historical to the theoretical) that you will complete prior to coming to class. You should expect to lead one discussion over the semester with a partner, to have weekly low-stakes writing assignments, and to do a final analytical essay or creative/production project.
Faculty Kimberly Icreverzi
Thursday 11:30am - 2:50pm
"Many "African" programs in the United States and Europe consist of films made by Europeans who tend to focus on the dysfunction of Africa. What you'll see in this series, curated by Elvis Mitchell, is a perspective on West Africa as seen by West Africans. Throwing off the vestiges of colonialism the filmmakers take full ownership of their image, and create a very different picture, one brimming with all the rich cultures of West Africa. We believe that these films are revelatory of a dynamic film tradition which will soon take its rightful place in the pantheon of world cinema."
The above statement introduced the festival in 2013. This course will draw upon the films shown during the Caméras d'Afrique festival and will add important titles from the last 9 years. In all, we will be showcasing the work of West African directors over the last 60 years.
Students will be writing two 5-8 page papers which offer reflection and analysis of several of the films shown in the course. The subjects of the papers will be chosen in conjunction with the professor. Students will also be expected to do a 5-8 research paper on a filmmaker of their choice.
Faculty: Steven Ujlaki
Meetings: Wednesdays, 3:05pm - 6:25pm
The force of feeling: Pedro Almodovar and Wong Kar-Wai
In this class, we will explore the work of two celebrated directors of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries: Wong Kar-Wai (Hong Kong) and Pedro Almodóvar (Spain). Both of these directors are associated, to a degree, with their homeland’s New Wave; both are known for having an idiosyncratic and intense visual style, and for making emotionally charged, sensuous, and occasionally ambiguous films. Although they work across vastly different geographic and political contexts, their work deals with certain similar themes: in particular, the intensity of desire, the arbitrariness of choice, and the complex, fraught relationship between media, love, and memory in a rapidly changing world. Together, we will approach their work from a number of different theoretical lenses, working to create a sensuous archive of our experience as spectators, critics, and collaborators. Some guiding questions: How can we identify each author’s “signature” – the common thread across their films that makes their work unique? How can we contextualize each author in their sociohistorical context? How can we contextualize each author relative to the film movements of which they were a part? How can we closely read their films on both a formalist and a narrative level? What kinds of affect (feeling) are provoked by these films and what is their significance?
Faculty Emma Benayoun
Monday 11:30am - 2:50pm
“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
Objectives:Students will be introduced to the basic elements of Film Noir: mood, tone, lighting, ambiance, and themes. Four major influences on the genre will be examined: post war disillusionment, post-war realism, German expressionism, and the hard-boiled literary tradition. The course will examine ways that Film Noir has influenced other genres – particularly melodrama, the gangster film, and the western. Students will study the visual and thematic similarities that link films in the genre, but also the way that individual directors use the elements of genre to express their individual thematic or stylistic concerns. Students will examine the adaptation process of two central Noir novels, The Long Goodbye and Double Indemnity.
Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate in writing the visual complexities of this Film Style and also key themes of individual directors who have contributed to the Noir and Neo Noir styles (and influenced film-makers as varied as Christopher Nolan, Curtis Hanson, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino).
Faculty Dr. Richard Hadley
Meetings: Thursdays, 3:05pm - 6:25pm
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.
Assignments: Besides regular attendance and active engagement with the class, you will complete several assignments during the semester. The following is a brief description of each assignment. More specific guidelines will be distributed via email and posted on our Brightspace page.
Weekly observation assignments: Each week you will submit a weekly observation in which you will note a) things of interest from the assigned readings; b) things of interest in the assigned TV screenings; c) a set of questions and/or observations you want to bring to the class; and d) a short response to a weekly discussion question (posted on our Brightspace page each week).
Collaborative key terms: We will collectively produce a set of “key terms”, gleaned from our readings and class discussions. Each of you will contribute something to our collective document by the end of the semester.
Group creative project: You will work with a group of students to design a “queer” TV series and will pitch it to the class at the end of the semester
Final grade self-assessment: a paragraph or two, describing the grade you think you earned in the class, with your rationale, based on the course grading standards. Final grades are determined using a rubric created by the class and instructor in collaboration.
Faculty Sue Scheibler
Thursdays, 11:30am - 2:50pm
Course description: Many of the film students at LMU come to this school, of course, for the pre-professional training that helps set you up for employment success in film as industry. However, most of us first come to film through some version of cinephilia – through our love for film, as a theater of desire. This class will indulge those pleasures and cover everything from our guilty pleasures in popular cinema to the theorization of visual pleasure from feminist, critical race, psychoanalytic and postcolonial scholars (Mulvey, hooks, Laplanche, Shohat). We’ll talk about the soporific pleasures of the movie theater with Barthes and think, too, about the privileged zone of pornography in conversations about film and pleasure. Along the way, we’ll also be thinking about what distinguishes “movies” from “film” and “cinema”– or the divides, however fictional or un/necessary, we draw between those things we enjoy watching and those that merit study.
Workload expectations: We will have nearly weekly in-class screenings that will be a combination of films decided by the instructor in conversation with those based on your input. Readings will be assigned weekly and you will have a viewing journal across the semester based on these readings and screenings from both inside and outside of class. The course will culminate in a final analytical or creative/production project.
Faculty: Prof. Kim Icreverzi
Mondays 11:30am - 2:50pm
This course examines Japanese animation, or anime, as a popular mass medium that has captured a worldwide audience. From its beginning on television in Japan, anime has been an international phenomenon: exported to other countries, inspiring animators outside of Japan, and now a truly global genre of animation. We will consider anime from both national and international perspectives, from the earliest TV broadcasts of the 1960s to the streaming original productions of today. We will examine anime in terms of a transnational industry, audiovisual style, and a growing fan culture.
Learning Outcomes – At the end of course, students will:
- learn more about Japanese anime from historical, social, and cultural perspectives;
- increase their knowledge of the techniques and aesthetics of Japanese animation;
- understand the transnational structure of the anime industry as well as its fandom;
- analyze significant works of anime through substantive discussion and critical writing;
- enhance formal communication skills through oral presentations.
Class Format – In-person lecture, screenings, and discussion.
- Midterm and Final Exams
- Two analysis papers
Faculty: Prof. Ken Provencher
Fridays 8:00am - 11:20am
This course offers a broad overview of the history of American television, from live television broadcasting to online streaming. We will examine television as an entertainment industry, a technology, a form of cultural communication, and a social practice. This course asks questions about how television presents, challenges, and/or reflects American ideals and values.
Graduate SFTV majors only.
Faculty: Dan Watanabe or Miranda Banks
Meetings: Thursdays 11:30 AM - 2:50 PM
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.
- 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: Wednesdays 8:00am - 11:20am
This course is a historically-situated survey of New Korean Cinema, a transnational film culture that begins in the late 1990s and whose phenomenal success can in part be explained because it is according to scholar Chris Berry, a “full-service cinema”, excelling in the production of not only art films and documentaries, but popular genre films, action blockbusters and other commercial entertainment fare. Produced by film workers with much better training than previous generations having had studied in film schools all over the world, these great films are marketed and placed within a sophisticated vertically-integrated system much like Hollywood to support their national success, secure regional domination and continue to extend their formidable global reach.
Using films that helped inspire and make up the ever expanding canon of New Korean Cinema this course will examine topics including dynamic iterations of auteurship, successful national and transnational modes of filmic address, genre innovations and hybridity, contemporary art cinema, populist documentaries, postmodernism as a primary mode of cultural production, and the new idioms of globalized entertainment films
Furthermore, during the semester, students will:
- Cultivate a greater appreciation for the expanding global film canon.
- Learn the fundamental concepts from film studies as they pertain to film style, grammar, modes of production and reception.
- Continue to develop and refine critical thinking, researching and writing skills.
- Understand and acknowledge that there is a film world outside Hollywood as New Korean Cinema illuminates the ways in which film is not only a global language but a multinational and interconnected industry that transcends borders
Participation in weekly group discussions after screenings
A midterm assignment called the viewing journal which will require students to incorporate salient information from lectures and readings to produce thoughtful and well-argued responses about the course and specific outside screenings. A detailed prompt will be distributed in class two weeks before this assignment is due.
A formal analysis paper that will be an opportunity for students to formulate a critical argument concerning a film’s formal elements not screened in class. The paper must cite articles from the course reader as well as other academic writings that are useful in the support of a thesis. The paper must anchor an argument with strong formal analysis of the chosen film instead of providing the reader with an empty plot summary.
A take-home final exam that will allow students to incorporate pertinent information from the lectures, readings, and screenings to produce sophisticated and well-supported responses to material examined in the last half of the semester. A prompt for this take-home final exam will be distributed two weeks before this exam is due.
Faculty: Gloria Shin
Meetings: Thursdays, 8:00am - 11:20am
Horror is a fascinating cinematic genre because it puts issues of representation in the foreground and because the genre is considered on the fringe of the mainstream, so it has historically been given more space to question or even subvert mainstream representations.
This course surveys the history and development of the horror genre and its “sister genre,” sci-fi horror in both American and other national cinemas. This course delves into particular moments and movements such as German Expressionism, Universal Monsters, British folk horror, Italian Giallo, 70s Slashers, Asian Extreme, Latin-X horror etc.
We will also sample a range of academic approaches to the genre, for example: industrial practices (censorship, distribution), feminist film theory, cultural studies, reception studies (audiences, fandoms).
We are covering a lot of academic ground, but the course is designed so that students can focus on the area(s) they find most interesting or useful to their development of their own craft.
Our weekly class time will consist of a brief lecture, a film screening, and a class discussion.
Weekly reading assignments of approximately two chapters or essays per week provide the backbone of the course. Periodic, on-line (untimed) quizzes (7) help us keep up on the reading and comprehension.
Online discussion forum assignments (6) are designed to foster synthesis of the reading and screenings, and to allow you to share and trade your insights amongst the class.
There will be a final research paper which will work on over the course of the semester in stages: a proposal, a bibliography, an outline, and then the final paper. Breaking it down into the stages allows me to help you develop your work every step of the way and feel confident in the process.
Faculty: Dawn Fratini
Tuesday, 11:30 AM - 2:50 PM