Cult Movies is a special topics seminar designed to produce rigorous academic analysis and critique of the cult film phenomenon. We’ll investigate their modes of production, distribution, exhibition, their reception as well as their fans and various reading strategies. This course also examines the question of “taste” as it relates to culture (high, low, popular). Above all, the specific goal of this course is to cultivate a definition of what a cult movie is and examine the influence of fandom on cult films.
Documentary and non-fiction film is an advanced special topics seminar designed to produce rigorous academic analysis and critique of documentary and non-narrative texts. The course is interdisciplinary in spirit, thereby bridging history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics and political philosophy. This course also examines the question of “truth production” as it relates to culture and in its generation of public opinion. In our quest to survey the different critical methods that can be used to interpret and evaluate non-fiction films we will continually be defining and refining our assumptions about representations of “reality.” Our ultimate goal is to contextualize and place all of this semester’s learning into a broader historical and philosophical perspective/framework.
Film Noir is an advanced special topics seminar designed to produce rigorous academic analysis and critique of this genre, movement and cycle (and the nature of its slippery definition). We’ll employ various reading strategies framed primarily through a cultural studies prism. This approach embraces an interdisciplinary spirit, thereby bridging art, history, psychology, sociology, and political philosophy.
A broad, but vivid, survey of International Cinema. We explore other cinema producing nations and cultures – their films, their directors and their production systems. Ideological, thematic and aesthetic issues are stressed. By approaching these films from a cultural studies perspective we simultaneously reveal their cultural significance and the ideological frameworks that produced them.
Formal properties and aesthetic considerations in media, especially television. Taught from a media literacy perspective, the course focuses on the tools needed to become actively involved with media by learning to critically analyze, evaluate and write about the mass media. We concentrate on Television from the early postmodernism era forward–with examinations of format/techniques, the producer-as-auteur, audience reception and influence, motive/purpose: political economy and media ownership, archetypes & stereotypes, the roles of satire and pastiche in society and the limitations of the media effects model.
HISTORY OF FILM
History of Film presents a chronological survey of cinema’s development from passing novelty or fad to the dominant entertainment medium of the twentieth century. Students provide critical examinations of key films and are tested on their overall knowledge and comprehension on the origins and development of the motion picture industry in the United States and abroad. The historical investigation process is privileged by pursuing the main four main channels through which film history is generally conducted: aesthetic, technological, economic, and social.
INTRODUCTION TO FILM
Students provide critical examinations of films of critical and/or historical significance and are tested on their overall knowledge and comprehension of cinema. The fundamentals that will are emphasized tested are the major building blocks of film – i.e., narrative, mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, authorship and sound. We examine the cultural relevance of these texts while retaining and broadening their inherent pleasures. Also covered are the formal techniques used to create film, specific types of films (genre analyses), some general theory (auteur, ideological) as well as representation in cinema (gender, race, class, sexuality).
WRITING FOR RADIO, TV & FILM
Course emphasis is on writing fiction and nonfiction material for electronic media, including commercials, corporate video, public service announcements, television writing, and screenwriting for documentary & narrative (feature) films. Information-gathering techniques and standard script formats will be covered. Vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, and the importance of meeting deadlines are also key components in this course and your future careers. The goal is to produce ethical and responsible media for consumption by mass culture. All copy is to be clean and grammatically sound. Application of these principles will involve assignments which include radio public service announcements, advertisements (commercials), television writing, and screenwriting for documentary and narrative (feature) films.
DIGITAL VIDEO EDITING
This course is designed to introduce students to the basic techniques of video editing. Various editing theories are discussed to aid students in developing a successful editing philosophy. Students gain an appreciation for how the editing of images can produce meaning and reinforce ideology. Digital Video Editing utilizes industry standard non-linear digital editing software (FCP). Both hardware and software issues are covered and students will articulate a fundamental understanding of FCP’s functionality in the context of the post-production workflow.
The basic techniques and key components of audio, TV studio, and video field production are covered. The main focus of the course is practical, affording students’ an opportunity inside and outside of class to produce original works and to develop a level of skill that will be built upon in further production courses and/or the public sector. The goal is to master the basic techniques of digital production while at the same time cultivating a constructive criticism of your own artistic products and talents.