Film Studies

Film Studies UMass

Celebrating 20 Years of Film Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst


Since 1991, the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies has been a dynamic center of interdepartmental and interdisciplinary activity. With active participation of more than twenty faculty members, representing fifteen departments from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and the School of Education, the Program offers both an Undergraduate and a Graduate Certificate in Film Studies. [More...]



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Trailer for the 21st Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, “Reality Narratives”


Must See!

See more Film Studies photos and videos on our Must See! page.



Honoring the Roif Family


Waiting for Herzog


Interview with Catherine Portuges


More photos and videos...





contact us

Contact Us

Interdepartmental Program in
Film Studies
S448 Integrative Learning Center
University of Massachusetts Amherst
650 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003
Tel. (413) 545-3659
FAX: (413) 545-0014


celluloid strip





Blueberry Soup image

Blueberry Soup Screening and Discussion with Director

Weds 11/5 at 7:00pm
Film Studies Theater
Integrative Learning Center S404
UMass Amherst

Film screening and discussion with filmmaker Eileen Jerrett. “An extraordinary documentary about the constitutional change in Iceland following the financial crisis of 2008... The film is a deeply touching account of an eclectic group of individuals reinventing democracy through the rewriting of the nation’s constitution.” [Event poster]


POWER/PLAY: Liane Brandon & Holly Fisher

Opening reception 11/3, 5-7pm
Augusta Savage Gallery
UMass Amherst

Artist Talks:
11/12, 7pm - Liane Brandon
11/13, 7pm - Holly Fisher

POWER/PLAY is an installation of film and photographic images that matches two veteran artists with widely differing sensibilities. From Liane Brandon’s documentation of women powerlifters to Holly Fisher’s improvisatory visual essays, we enter the world of artists with tremendous vision and an impressive range of experiences.


New Asia Cinema / Arab Cinema Panorama

2014 New Asia Cinema/Arab Cinema Panorama

Screenings at 7:00pm
137 Isenberg School of Management

Please join us for the 10th anniversary edition of New Asia Cinema/Arab Cinema Panorama. In Fall 2014, this series of films will showcase international films addressing a wide variety of abilities and assets, bodies and minds. The purpose of this series is to demonstrate a range of lived and embodied experiences, subjectivities and personalities, in myriad cultural contexts. With a focus is on physical, social, and neurocognitive diversity, the series includes films from Australia, India, Egypt, China, Iraq, Iran, Canada, and the United States.

All events start at 7:00 pm and are held in School of Management 137 (Flavin Family auditorium). See the website for the schedule. [More...]

PUNK THE CAPITAL, DC Punk Music documentary

Punk the Capital Screening with the Director

Tues 11/4 at 7:30pm
Herter Hall 227

(This event will be in Herter 227 and not SOM 137)

Director James June Schneider will visit UMass Amherst to screen his work in progress, a documentary on the Washington DC punk music scene in late 1970s through the rise of "harDCore" in the early 1980s. This visit is in conjunction with a Faculty First Year seminar on "Punk and American Underground Culture" and is co-sponsored by the Interdepartmental Film Studies Program at UMass. Free and open to the public.

James June Schneider’s films include Jean Epstein: Oceans of Cinema; 1,2,3 Whiteout; and the music documentaries Blue is Beautiful and La banda gue buscó el sonido debajo.

For more information, please contact: Jonathan Skolnik

[Facebook | Kickstarter | James June Schneider]

Lindsay Van Dyke Receives Fulbright Award

UMass Film Studies student Lindsay Van Dyke has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to Mexico in Sociology, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently. Van Dyke is one of over 1,800 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2014-2015 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

[Fulbright Program | Lindsay Van Dyke's website]

We Have Moved!

The Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies has moved its offices to the new Integrative Learning Center building. Our offices are on the 4th floor of the south side of the ILC building:

Reception: S448
Administration: S445
Advising: S447
Director: S443

Our new Mailing address:
Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies
650 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003

Barbara Zecchi

New Books by Barbara Zecchi: Desenfocadas and Gynocine

Barbara Zecchi, Film Faculty and Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, has published two new books in the last year on women in cinema in Spain:

Desenfocadas, Cineastas españolas y discursos de género (Icaria, 2014)Gynocine: Teoría de género, filmología y praxis cinematográfica (Zaragoza: Publicaciones Universidad Zaragoza, 2013)

Desenfocadas, Cineastas españolas y discursos de género (Icaria, 2014) and Gynocine: Teoría de género, filmología y praxis cinematográfica (Zaragoza: Publicaciones Universidad Zaragoza, 2013). Barbara Zecchi directs Gynocine: History of Spanish Women's Cinema in the University of Massachusetts Digital Humanities Initiative. [See Barbara Zecchi's website]

Five College Student Film and Video Festival 2014

NESN Student Film Contest

Wednesday 4/2 at 10:00am
121 Heter Annex
UMass Amherst

Want to make sports docucmentaries? Meet Scott Masterson for a talk about the NESN Student Film Contest and a career in film and television!

NESN is developing a new television series that offers New England film students the chance at cash, prizes, exposure and bragging rights. The NESN Filmmaking Contest involves teams of undergraduate student filmmakers producing short, sports-themed documentary films in the Fall of 2014. These films will air on NESN and will be judged by industry professionals throughout the competition.

The winning filmmakers will be awarded $20,000 cash.

See Scott Masterson talk poster. For more info and to enter the contest, contact:

Skolnik book Jewish Pasts, German Fictions

Jewish Pasts, German Fictions

From Stanford University Press, a new book by UMass Assistant Professor of German Studies Jonathan Skolnik, Jewish Pasts, German Fictions History: Memory, and Minority Culture in Germany, 1824-1955.

Description: Jewish Pasts, German Fictions is the first comprehensive study of how German-Jewish writers used images from the Spanish-Jewish past to define their place in German culture and society. Jonathan Skolnik argues that Jewish historical fiction was a form of cultural memory that functioned as a parallel to the modern, demythologizing project of secular Jewish history writing. What did it imply for a minority to imagine its history in the majority language? Skolnik makes the case that the answer lies in the creation of a German-Jewish minority culture in which historical fiction played a central role. After Hitler's rise to power in 1933, Jewish writers and artists, both in Nazi Germany and in exile, employed images from the Sephardic past to grapple with the nature of fascism, the predicament of exile, and the destruction of European Jewry in the Holocaust. The book goes on to show that this past not only helped Jews to make sense of the nonsense, but served also as a window into the hopes for integration and fears about assimilation that preoccupied German-Jewish writers throughout most of the nineteenth century. Ultimately, Skolink positions the Jewish embrace of German culture not as an act of assimilation but rather a reinvention of Jewish identity and historical memory. [More...]



New England Italian Film Festival

2014 New England Italian Film Festival

Mondays at 7:30pm
Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and UMass Amherst

The Italian Programs at Mount Holyoke, Smith and UMass are pleased to announce the 2014 New England Italian Film Festival.

22 September: Lo Spazio bianco
(Francesca Comencini, 2009)
Mount Holyoke College
Gamble Auditorium B, 7:30pm

29 September: Terramatta
(Costanza Quadriglio, 2012)
Smith College, Seelye 110, 7:30pm

6 October: Hotel Meina
(Carlo Lizzani, 2007)
University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 137 Isenberg SOM, 7:30PM

20 October: Scontro di civiltà per un ascensore a Piazza Vittorio
(Isotta Toso, 2010)
Mount Holyoke College, Gamble Auditorium B, 7:30PM

27 October: Corpo celeste (Alice Rohrwacher, 2011) Smith College, Seelye 110, 7:30PM

All films are in Italian with English subtitles. Free and open to the public, courtesy of the Italian Consulate in Boston.

Mount Holyoke College,
Ombretta Frau,
Smith College, Anna Botta,
UMass, Daniel Pope,

[Festival poster]

German Film Series Amherst College

German Film Series Fall 2014

Thursdays 4:00pm & 7:30pm
Stirn Auditorium
Amherst College

The Fall 2014 German Film Series:

September 11: Das Wunder von Bern (The Miracle of Bern, Sönke Wortmann, 2003; 118 min.)
Touching family drama set against the backdrop of the famous soccer World Cup of 1954: a father returning from POW camp in the Soviet Union finds it hard to adjust to the new realities and to win the love of his 11-year-old son.

September 25: Die Reise nach Kafiristan (The Journey to Kafiristan, Donatello & Fosco Dubini, 2001; 101 min.)
Two women leave their home in Switzerland to journey together to Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1939, when Europe is on the brink of war. Based on the lives of Annemarie Schwarzenbach, a socialite and writer, and Ella Maillart, an ethnologist and photographer.

October 16: Rosenstraße (Margarethe von Trotta, 2003; 136 min.)
Powerful docudrama commemorating a little-known act of civil courage during the Third Reich: in 1943, hundreds of non-Jewish German women organized a protest against the deportation of their Jewish husbands outside the main detention center in Berlin’s Rosenstraße.

November 6: Good Bye, Lenin! (Wolfgang Becker, 2003; 118 min.)
Award winning international smash hit comedy about the hilarious complications that arise when a young East Berliner, trying to protect his mother—an ardent communist who went into a coma in the fall of 1989—sets out to maintain the illusion that East Germany continues to exist, in their own little apartment.

December 4: Kirschblüten—Hanami (Cherry Blossoms, Doris Dörrie, 2008; 127 min.)
Touching tragicomic drama about marital love and dysfunctional families: Trudi always wanted to take her ailing husband on a spiritual pilgrimage to Japan’s Mount Fuji; when she dies unexpectedly, he decides against all odds to undertake the journey on his own.


"Cinema Year Zero: Landscape and Memory in Post-Fascist Italian Cinema"

"Cinema Year Zero: Landscape and Memory in Post-Fascist Italian Cinema"

At talk by Giuliana Minghelli (McGill University)
Thursday 10/2 at 5:00pm
Smith College
Seelye 201

Meet Giuliana Minghelli at Smith College this Thursday, where she will give a talk "Cinema Year Zero: Landscape and Memory in Post-Fascist Italian Cinema." Free and Open to the Public.

[Event poster]

Seeking Transformation
The Films of Siegfried Kühn
October 20 – 30, 2014  

Seeking Transformation: The Films of Siegfried Kühn

October 20 – 30, 2014

In the first retrospective of director Siegfried Kühn’s work ever screened in the U.S., five films tell stories about the process and experience of transformation. “The heroes of my most important films are people who want to break out.” This statement runs like a thread through the oeuvre of Kühn, in which his main characters—often women—take huge risks in their desire to transform their lives. All films are in German with English subtitles.   Free and open to the public, except where noted. All screenings followed by Q&A with the director!

[Schedule | DEFA page]

Amherst Cinema's Translation Film Series

Amherst Cinema's Translation Film Series 2014-2015

Part of a year-long, valley-wide conversation sponsored by the Amherst College Copeland Colloquium, this film series explores complex issues of cultures in translation. All screenings are introduced by an Amherst College or Five College faculty member and are followed by a 20-minute discussion. [More...]

Bruce Geisler's FREE SPIRITS

Screening & Q&A: Bruce Geisler's Free Spirits in Turners Falls

Thurs, 9/18 7:00pm
Shea Theater
Turners Falls

RiverCulture will host a screening of Free Spirits at The Shea Theater on September 18th, as part of the Third Thursday event “20th Century Turners Falls”. 7:00pm, 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls. Free!

The Brotherhood of the Spirit (renamed Renaissance Community in 1974) was one of the largest and most enduring intentional communities in the Northeast and a distinct link between the commune movement of the 1960s and New Age consciousness happening today. In existence from 1968 to 1988, the rise and all of the commune mirrored that of its charismatic and mercurial leader, Michael Metelica, a factor that made the community unique.

Free Spirits, a film by Bruce Geisler, documents the distinct identity changes that the Renaissance Community underwent in its 20 year history in Franklin County. Footage from Turners Falls, Gill, Northfield, Leyden, Warwick & Greenfield.

Q&A with formers members will follow the screening. Pictures, artifacts and other ephemera will be on display. Copies of Free Spirits will be available for sale. Proceeds go to the Community Resource Foundation, a non- profit that helps former members in need. [More...]


MacArthur Grant for Pamela Yates and Skylight Pictures

MacArthur Grant Goes to Alumna Pamela Yates and Skylight Pictures

January 15, 2014:  The MacArthur Foundation has announced a $225,000 grant to Pamela Yates and Skylight Pictures for production of 500 Years, a documentary film on the 2013 genocide trial of former Guatemalan president Efraín Ríos Montt, and its aftermath.  Ríos Montt stood trial for the killing of 1,700 Maya Ixil people from 1982-1983—the first trial in the history of the Americas for the genocide of indigenous people.  When Ríos Montt is found guilty, a higher Guatemalan court vacates the verdict, and 500 Years captures the reactions and responses of Guatemalans from all levels of Guatemalan society. 

The 2013 Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival at the University of Massachusetts Amherst welcomed UMass alumna Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis as visiting artists in residence with a festival screening of their film DISRUPTION (Punto de quiebre, 2013).  The 2012 MMFF featured an evening with Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis with a screening and discussion of their film GRANITO (2011).

Film Studies and the MMFF extend congratulations to Pamela, Paco de Onis and Peter Kinoy, and wish them every success with the production of 500 years. (Photo credits: Dana Lixenberg and Daniel Hernandez-Salazar) [More...]

A Companion to the Historical Film Robert A. Rosenstone, Constantin Parvulescu

A Companion to the Historical Film

Broad in scope, this interdisciplinary collection of original scholarship on historical film, edited by Robert A. Rosenstone nad Constantin Parvulescu, features essays that explore the many facets of this expanding field and provide a platform for promising avenues of research.

  • Offers a unique collection of cutting edge research that questions the intention behind and influence of historical film
  • Essays range in scope from inclusive broad-ranging subjects such as political contexts, to focused assessments of individual films and auteurs
  • Prefaced with an introductory survey of the field by its two distinguished editors
  • Features interdisciplinary contributions from scholars in the fields of History, Film Studies, Anthropology, and Cultural and Literary Studies

Look for the chapter "Colonial Legacies in Contemporary French Cinema: Jews and Muslims on Screen" by Catherine Portuges.


Book: Cinemas in Transition in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989

Cinemas in Transition in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989

Edited by Catherine Portuges and Peter Hames, this collection of essays focuses on cinema in Eastern Europe in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. As Professors Portuges and Hames argue in their introduction, in spite of Eastern Europe's rich cinematic tradition, films from this region are often marginalized. The contributors in this collection seek to fix this by offering textual analyses of films from each country from the former Soviet bloc. In addition, the essays also offer a sustained focus on structural questions of cinematic production. The collective effect of the volume is to offer a picture of Eastern European cinema at a critical historic era and its connection to the emerging world of transnational media. [More...]





University of Massachusetts Amherst Film Studies Celebrating 20 Years of Film Studies