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!

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Honoring the Roif Family


Waiting for Herzog


Interview with Catherine Portuges


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Contact Us

Interdepartmental Program in
Film Studies
129 Herter Annex
University of Massachusetts Amherst
161 Presidents Dr
Amherst, MA 01003-9312
Tel. (413) 545-3659
FAX: (413) 545-0014


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MMFF 2014 - Raising Shrimp

MMFF 2014: Raising Shrimp

Wednesday 4/30 at 7:30pm
UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg SOM

The 21st Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, “Reality Narratives,” presents Raising Shrimp. Dive into a vivid, rarely-seen world of rugged fishermen and jungle laboratories, of exotic bacteria and teeming coral reefs, of Asian outsourcing and broken dreams before testing your nerve with some radical solutions for raising shrimp right here at home. New England premiere. Co-sponsored by the UMass Department of Environmental Conservation & the College of Natural Sciences. Introduction by Daniel Pope, UMass. The film’s star and scientific advisor, UMass professor Andy Danylchuk, will be present for discussion and Q&A. [More...]

Michael S. Roif Award in Film Studies

2014 Roif Awards Ceremony

Don't miss the Fourteenth Annual Michael S. Roif Award in Film Studies for Exceptional Creativity and Accomplishment presented to Undergraduate Certificate Students in the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies.

Awards Ceremony & Presentation of Winning Works:
Friday, May 2 at 12:00 noon
301 Herter Hall
UMass Amherst


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:

Liane Brandon

A Woman Filmmaker Tells Her Story

Tues 4/1, 4:30-6:30pm
South College 108

UMass Grad Film Certificate Colloquium with independent film pioneer, Liane Brandon. Liane Brandon is an award winning independent filmmaker, photographer and University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Emeritus. She was one of the first independent women filmmakers to emerge from the early Women's Movement. During that time, she was also a member of Newsreel film collective and of Bread and Roses, one of the first women's liberation groups in Boston. She was also a founding member of FilmWomen of Boston and Boston Film/Video Foundation. In 1971, she co-founded New Day Films with Julia Reichert, Jim Klein and Amalie Rothschild.

Her classic films Anything You Want To Be (1971) and Betty Tells Her Story (1972) were among the earliest and most frequently used consciousness raising tools of the Women's Movement. Her films, which also include: Once Upon A Choice, How To Prevent A Nuclear War and Fine Print have won numerous national and international awards, and have been featured on HBO, The Learning Channel, USA Cable and Cinemax. They have twice received Blue Ribbons at the American Film Festival, and have been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Chicago Art Institute. Betty Tells Her Story was nominated for inclusion in the National Film Registry and Anything You Want To Be was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2011.

Co-sponsored by the Comm Department CSC lecture series and the Interdepartmental Film Studies Program.

MMFF 2014

Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival 2014

The 2014 MMFF “Reality Narratives” explores the blurred boundaries between documentary and fiction that have been present since the birth of cinema and that constitute a major conceptual force in contemporary filmmaking. Hosting nine filmmakers who will be present for discussion, our festival program observes the hybrid, amalgamated spaces between these genres, juxtaposing methodologies and narratives that blend the “factual” with the “fictional.” In so doing, the festival raises ethical questions about the “truth claims” and “reality principles” of a wide-ranging, eclectic body of international cinema, recasting conventional definitions and distinctions in a variety of works and styles. All events are free and open to the public. [More...]

Catalan Film Festival 2014

Catalan Film Festival 2014

Tuesdays 6:30-9:00pm
UMass Amherst
Herter 301

Organized by Barbara Zecchi and Guillem Molla, the theme for the 6th annual Catalan Film Festival is "Identity/ies and Cinema."

02/25 El bosc (Óscar Aibar)
03/04 Herois (Pau Freixas)
03/11 Mercado de futuros (Mercedes Álvarez)
03/25 Catalunya Über Alles (Ramon Térmens)
04/01 Lo mejor de mí (Roser Aguilar)
04/08 Una pistola en cada mano (Cesc Gay)
04/22 53 dies d’hivern (Judith Colell)

[Festival poster]

Democratizing Film Discovery

Student Filmmaker talk and Q&A

Wednesday 2/26 at 3:30pm
301 Herter Hall

How does a new filmmaker get discovered? Films and filmmakers can be selected for prestigious film festivals. They might be funded and distributed by big studios or television companies. Alternatives to these traditional channels are developing on the internet and through social media.

Meet Konstantin Rubchinsky of DigiPops, a new platform taking film and filmmaker discovery to the next level. Konstantin will speak and answer questions about the future of how great films and filmmakers will be discovered.  [Event poster]

Skolnik book Jewish Pasts, German Fictions

Jewish Pasts, German Fictions

Forthcoming in February 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...]

The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe
by Olga Gershenson

The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe Film Series

The Film Series at the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies together with Olga Gershenson's new book The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe. See the article in the journal Tablet on Olga Gershenson's book. Olga Gershenson is a film scholar and Assistant Professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at UMass. [More...]

Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer talk 10/17

Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer Talk

Thursday 10/17 at 4:30pm
The Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies
758 North Pleasant Street, Amherst

The Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is pleased to present "School Pictures in Liquid Time: Assimilation, Exclusion, Resistance," a presentation by Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer

Free and Open to the Public. Reception to Follow. [More...]


German Film Series Amherst College

German Film Series Spring 2014

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

The Spring 2014 German Film Series from 2/13 through 4/24.

February 13: Bandits (Katja von Garnier, 1997; 109 min.)
Fast-paced feel-good movie featuring some of Germany’s best known actresses, including Katja Riemann and Jasmin Tabatabai: four female prison inmates form a rock band. At an outside gig, at a policemen’s ball, they seize the opportunity to escape, leading to a dramatic, crazy chase all over Germany, to an upbeat musical score.

February 27: Hannah Arendt (Margarethe von Trotta, 2012; 113 min.)
Fascinating biopic with acclaimed actress Barbara Sukowa in the title role, centering on the controversies that erupted in 1961 when the famous German-Jewish political philosopher reported on the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Israel.

March 13: Die Welle (The Wave, Dennis Gansel, 2008; 107 min.)
Thought-provoking drama centered on a charismatic high school teacher who launches an ominous experiment in his civics course: enforcing rigorous discipline in an authoritarian manner, he pushes his students to confront surprising and disturbing insights concerning themselves and the nature of power.

April 3: Ende der Schonzeit (Closed Season, Franziska Schlotterer, 2012; 104 min.)
In 1942, a childless farmer and his wife in South Germany discover a young Jewish man after his unsuccessful attempt to cross the border into Switzerland. They take him in, on condition that he sire an heir to ensure the survival of their farm. The bizarre request leads to a series of tragic complications in this powerful, complex historical drama, partially based on a true story. Screenings co-sponsored by Amherst College Office of the Jewish Religious Advisor. Shown in conjunction with the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival.

April 24: Drei Zimmer/Küche/Bad (Move, Dietrich Brüggemann , 2012 111 min.)
Eight twenty-somethings find themselves constantly on the move: from internship to internship, from job to job, from relationship to relationship, from apartment to apartment. Multiple narratives intersect in this smart, complex, refreshingly understated comedy that explores the comical, sometimes tragi-comical, trials and tribulations of life in present-day Germany.



My Child NYC premiere

NYC Premiere of My Child

Can Candan's My Child celebrates its New York premiere on May 18, presented by the New York Turkish Film Festival and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Can Candan discussed My Child at the 2014 Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival screening of the film. The documentary follows a courageous and inspiring group of parents in Turkey who have children who identify as LGBT individuals. They have not only gone through the path of accepting their children for who they are, but have also opened up and shared their experiences publicly by forming a support group called LISTAG. In this documentary, parents intimately share their feelings and tell the story of their experiences, redefining what it means to be a family in a conservative society. My Child is a powerful film that challenges social prejudices against LGBT individuals. It was screened at numerous festivals worldwide, including the Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival in Germany and the Thessaloniki International LGBTQ Film Festival in Greece, and won many awards, including the Best Documentary Audience Award at the Boston Turkish Film Festival. Post-screening Panel Discussion of familial support of LGBT individuals in cultures where gender issues are not traditionally accepted. Moderator: Chuck Hadad, Emmy-award-winning Producer of Anderson Cooper 360° at CNN. [More...]

Screening: Winners of the Five College Student Film and Video Festival

Wednesday 4/23 at 7:00pm
Amherst Cinema

Best of Festival and Best Narrative, THE PRINCESS AND THE TREE, Rachel Bass, 20 minutes, Amherst College

Best Graduate Film, THE JOURNEY UPSTREAM, Erica Kowse,13 minutes, UMass

Best Animation, THE TRAP, Elisabeth Makishima, 3 minutes, Smith College

Best Documentary and Best of Amherst, PALIMPSEST, Joyzel Acevedo, 8 minutes, Amherst College

Best Dance on Camera, SYNKROV, Francesco Passalacqua, 6 minutes, Hampshire College

Best Experimental, INVERSION, Linda Fenstermaker, 13 minutes, Hampshire College

Best of UMass, NOT MY HEAVEN, Rahmah Mohammad Pauzi, 17 minutes

Best of Mount Holyoke, THIS IS MY CITY TOO, Anita Haidary, 12 minutes

Best of Smith, WHO ARE YOU? Salome Kokoladze, 8 minutes

Best of Hampshire, SOMETHING'S LURKING IN THE WATER, Marinah Janello, 20 minutes


Amherst Cinema's Italian Film Series

Amherst Cinema's Italian Film Series 2014

Revel in the stunning visuals and colorful stories of Italian cinema, at Amherst Cinema's Italian Film Series Introduced by Dr. Carolyn Anderson, Professor Emerita, UMass Amherst (Sunday screenings only). This series made possible through the generous financial support of Fred and Edith Byron. [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...]

Jed Winer wins Audience Award at NoHoIFF

Film Studies Alumn Jed Winer wins Audience Award at NoHoIFF

Congratulations to Jed Winer, honors student and Film Certificate alumnus ('13). Jed took home the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Short at the 2013 Northampton International Film Festival for his film Cheetah Conservation Fund: Change for the Cheetah's Future on the work of the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. [NoHoIFF | Multimedia]

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