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...]



Student Advising and New Student Enrollment

Book an appointment for Student Advising or for a New Student Session to learn about and enroll in the Film Studies Program.



Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Make a Gift to Film Studies!

Giving to Film Studies!




Trailer for the 22nd Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, “Dislocations”


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





Catherine Portuges Discusses Campus Film Programs during Visit to Havana 

Catherine Portuges Discusses Film Studies Programs as Delegate to Havana 

Catherine Portuges, Professor of Film Studies and Comparative Literature participated in a professional research delegation to Havana, Cuba April 1-6. Portuges met with representatives of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema and the Cuban Film Institute (Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematograficos).  She delivered a talk on the UMass Amherst Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies and the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival and lead a discussion about possible exchange programs and collaboration in scholarship and film festivals and events. [More...]

DEFA Summer Film Institute

"Sex, Gender and Videotape: Love, Eroticism and Romance in East Germany" the DEFA Film Library's eighth biennial Summer Film Institute, July 19-26, 2015. The 2015 Institute co-directors are Benita Blessing (Univ. of Vienna), Kyle Frackman (Univ. of British Columbia) and Victoria Rizo Lenshyn (Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst). We are pleased to announce that Dr. Josie McLellan (University of Bristol), author of Love in the Time of Communism: Intimacy and Sexuality in the GDR (2011), will deliver the 2015 keynote lecture. [More...]

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]

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]

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...]



The German Film Series at Amherst College

Spring 2015 German Film Series

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

February 12: Schlußmacher (Break Up Man, Matthias Schweighöfer, 2013; 106 min.)
Smash hit comedy about a slick Berlin yuppie working for an agency that helps people end unwanted relationships. All seems to go swimmingly until Paul (Matthias Schweighöfer) meets his match in oddball Toto (Milan Peschel), who simply refuses to give up on ideal love.

February 26: Nirgendwo in Afrika (Nowhere in Africa, Caroline Link, 2001; 141 min.)
Drama, based on an autobiographical novel by Stefanie Zweig, about a German-Jewish family who, fleeing the Nazis in 1938, find refuge in Kenya. Their struggle to remake their lives is experienced through the eyes of a young girl. Winnesr of the 2003 Academy Award for best foreign film.

March 12: Gegen die Wand (Head On, Fatih Akin; 121 min.)
Hard-hitting, award-winning drama by Germany’s most prominent German-Turkish filmmaker: a young Turkish woman (Sibel Kekilli), seeking to enjoy the same freedoms as her German friends, enters into a sham marriage with a Turkish small-time crook to escape her family’s oppressive conservatism.

April 2: Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are Among Us, Wolfgang Staudte, 1946; 85 min.)
The first feature-length film produced in Germany after World War II: a traumatized German soldier returns to a Berlin in rubble, only to encounter his former superior officer, a war criminal who has quickly reestablished himself as a successful factory owner. Shown by kind permission of the DEFA Film Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

April 23: Eichmanns Ende (Eichmann’s Fate, Raymond Ley 2010; 89 min.)
Stunning docu-drama, based on real historical events, chronicling the series of bizarre coincidences that made it possible to take Adolf Eichmann, the notorious mastermind of genocide, to court. Set in early 1960s Buenos Aires, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor falls in love with a young German – who turns out to be the son of Eichmann, comfortably living in Argentina under an assumed identity. Shown in conjunction with the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival.

April 30: M (Fritz Lang, 1931; 111 min.)
Fritz Lang’s legendary early sound film, the granddaddy of all suspenseful thrillers: the police and an organized crime racket conduct parallel investigations to capture a mysterious serial killer (Peter Lorre) terrorizing the big city.


"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]

53rd New York Film Festival announces the World Premiere of REBEL CITIZEN  by Pamela Yates

53rd New York Film Festival announces the World Premiere of REBEL CITIZEN by alumna Pamela Yates

Tuesday, 10/6 at 6:00pm
Walter Reade Theater, NYC

Pamela Yates’s new film grew out of her friendship with master cinematographer and fellow activist Haskell Wexler, who’s still going strong at 93. Wexler asked Yates to represent him at a retrospective of his documentary work at this year’s Cinéma du Réel festival in Paris, and she responded by making a film portrait of her mentor and longtime collaborator. Wexler—in an interview with Yates shot by Travis Wilkerson, another comrade-in-arms—speaks with warmth, lucidity, and absolute certitude about his left-wing political beliefs, his craft, and his aesthetics, which are fundamentally one in the same. Rebel Citizen takes us on a revelatory tour of Wexler’s work, and it includes clips from his early documentary The Bus, shot aboard a bus on its way across the country to the 1963 March on Washington, as well as Medium Cool and Underground, his film about the Weatherman co-directed with Emile de Antonio and Mary Lampson. A Skylight Pictures release. [More...]

Derek Kornhiser's film 49 Miles

Vote for 49 Miles by Film Studies student Derek Kornhiser

UMass Film Studies student Derek Kornhiser is competing on NESN Next Producer with his film 49 Miles. NESN Next Producer is an innovative new series that showcases New England college filmmakers, their vision and their stories. Part "Shark Tank," part "America's Got Talent," students created short sports films with the hope of winning $20,000 and a job opportunity at NESN. [NESN Next Producer | Variety article]

Regina to air on BBC

REGINA to Air on BBC 2/2

Award winning film REGINA (Diana Groó, 2013) is to be broadcast on British TV after a year of cinema screenings around the world. Directed by Diana Groó and executive produced by George Weisz, REGINA is the story of Regina Jonas who made history as the first officially ordained female rabbi. During the Second World War, knowing that she was to be sent to the concentration camps, she placed in her synagogue all her documents and the only photograph ever taken of her, trusting that in the event of her death there would be survivors who might be inspired by her thoughts and example. She died in Auschwitz in 1942, and was completely forgotten. Through her rediscovered official ordination papers, personal correspondence and newspaper articles she left behind, her story can now be told on television for the first time. Winner of the Lia Award at the 2013 Jerusalem Film Festival, the Warsaw Phoenix Award 2014 and featuring Rachel Weisz as the voice of Regina. Diana Groó and George Weisz addressed the audience at the 2014 MMFF screening of REGINA. [BBC4 | REGINA website]

Granito wins BritDoc Impact Award 2014

Granito wins BritDoc Impact Award 2014

UMass alumna Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís at Skylight Pictures were awarded the 2014 BritDoc Impact Award for their film Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, which screened at the 2012 Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival together with a Q&A with Yates and de Onís. The 2013 Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival also invited Yates and de Onís with their film Disruption.

[See Press Release: Granito wins BritDoc Impact Award 2014! | Skylight Pictures | BritDoc Impact Awards]

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...]

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