Filmmaking in the 21st Century

Visiting Filmmakers Series, Intensive Workshops, and MasterClasses

Interdepartmental Film Studies is happy to sponsor the Visiting Professors Series «Filmmaking in the 21st Century». The program regularly hosts award-winning international filmmakers and film scholars who offer classes in screenwriting, directing, cinematography, the video essay, and other key areas of filmmaking and film scholarship. Students have an unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience and enrich their portfolios. Enrollment priority is give to BDIC/Film majors and  Film Certificate students. 
Please enroll in Spire: FILM-ST  310 - Special Topics- Visiting Filmmaker Series
Film Studies also regularly offers intensive (one- or two-credit) Workshops, and Masterclasses taught by renowned visiting filmmakers

Fall 2022Spring 2022 - Fall 2021 - Past Editions


Ariel Avissar

Ariel Avissar is a video maker and media scholar from the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, Tel Aviv University. Since 2021 he has been Associate Editor at [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film & Moving Image Studies. His videos have been published at [in]Transition, NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, Tecmerin: Journal of Audiovisual Essays, and The Cine-Files. He has also co-edited several of Sight & Sound's "Best Video Essays" polls, on which his own work has been regularly featured. Check out his collaborative videographic projects: "Once Upon a Screen" (with Evelyn Kreutzer: vol. 1vol. 2a and vol. 2b), the "TV Dictionary", and the "Screen Stars Dictionary" (with Tecmerin).

The course will introduce and offer practice in the videographic study of television, a relatively underdeveloped subfield within videographic film and moving image studies. The course will combine intensive hands-on practice with theoretical studies and written assignments, aiming to creatively integrate videographic creation with theoretical and analytical thought. Students will focus on works of television of their own choosing, experimenting with various aspects of videographic TV studies. Students should have rudimentary proficiency in the use of a digital editing platform, or a willingness to independently learn basic editing as they go along.
COURSE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: Students will learn and practice basic videographic skills; become familiar with notable existing works of videographic television studies; apply videographic practices as a means of studying serialized television texts; and create videographic works that express their critical and analytical insights.

Chloé Galibert-Laîné

Chloé Galibert-Laîné is a French researcher and filmmaker. Her films have shown at festivals such as the IFFRotterdam (NL), FIDMarseille (FR), Ji.hlava DFF (CZ), True/False Festival (US), EMAF (DE), transmediale (DE), Images Festival (CA), Kasseler Dokfest (DE), Ars Electronica Festival (AT), WRO Media Art Biennale (PL) and FIPADOC (FR). Recent awards, grants and residencies include a residency at m-cult (FI) through the European Media Art Platform (EMAP), an ‘Art of Nonfiction’ Grant from the Sundance Institute (US), a Research Grant from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (DE), and the Eurimages Lab Project Award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival (CZ).

The Practices of Desktop Filmmaking 
As more and more aspects of our everyday lives are mediated by screen-based technologies, a number of filmmakers have recently started to produce films entirely made of images and sounds that they found online, recording the screen of their devices (computer, smartphone...) and using image appropriation, remix and montage as techniques to tell the stories of our online lives. This innovative and financially attractive film practice is now developed enough that different approaches and styles have emerged among practitioners, working at the intersection of fiction, documentary, experimental and essay filmmaking. The objective of this class is to introduce the participants to the practices of desktop filmmaking, to familiarize them with the specific challenges of this fast-growing filmmaking trend, and to offer each of them an opportunity to develop an original desktop film project. The class will be divided between moments of screenings and discussions, explorations of the growing critical literature about desktop cinema, and practical exercises designed to help the participants find their own unique way to explore screenrecording technologies creatively. At the end of the semester, the participants will have developed a critical as well as practical understanding of the practices of desktop cinema, and its place within the contemporary landscape of film and media. The format of the class is hybrid. It will be taught online on Sept. 6, and on Sept. 13 - In person on Sept. 20 and Sept. 27 - and again online until the end of the semester. 

Johannes Binotto, researcher and senior lecturer in cultural and media studies at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and at the English Department of the University of Zurich, will be at UMass during the Fall 2022. He is a regular contributor to the film magazine Filmbulletin, curator, experimental filmmaker and video essayist.   Johannes Binotto obtained his PhD with a book on the Freudian uncanny and its spatial representation in art, literature and cinema which has been awarded 2011 with the annual prize of the University of Zurich and in 2018 he received the Karsten-Witte-Preis for best German film studies paper. He has published an edited volume on Film and Architecture in the legendary book series “Bauwelt Fundamente”. In the “Best Video Essays of 2021” poll, hosted by Sight and Sound Magazine and the British Film Institute his video essay series “Practices of Viewing” received the most nominations. He is currently working on a large study on Classical Hollywood film technology and its relations to the psychoanalytical unconscious. And since 2021 he is leading the research project “VideoEssay. Futures of Audiovisual Research and Teaching” funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) with Dr. Chloé Galibert-Laîné, M.A. Jialu Zhu and M.A. Oswald Iten as research team:


At UMass Johannes Binotto will offer two intensive 2-credit workshops in videographic criticism: they can be taken separately or combined. If taken combined they will count for a 4-credit class
FILM-ST 497EE – Minority, Minor Use, and Video Essay Practice  (2 credits)  
Tuesday Sept. 6, 13, 20 from 7:00 to 9:00. 
Picking up on the concept of a "minor use of a major language" as developed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari this class wants to explore how to rework and reframe film history by making minor use of its major film texts (e.g. focusing on supposedly minor detail in a famous film in order to deconstruct, and/or decolonize it etc.) There are absolutely no prerequisites for participants.
FILM-ST 497MM – Performativity and Embodiment in Video Essay Practice  (2 credits)
Wednesdays Sept. 7, 14, 21, from 7:00 to 9:00
Instead of the traditional use of found footage in video essays this class will explore bodily engagement with film and media that is at the same time performative but also reflexive. Together we will examine the many critical potentials of such an embodied research. There are absolutely no prerequisites for participants.



Natalia Cabral
Natalia Cabral

Natalia Cabral is a Dominican award-winning filmmaker whose work lives on the borderlines of fiction and nonfiction. Graduate of the distinguished EICTV Film School in Cuba, she founded her own production company Faula Films in 2012. Since then, she has directed, written, edited and produced, with partner Oriol Estrada, the feature films “You and Me”, “Site of Sites” and “Miriam Lies”. Natalia believes in the craft of filmmaking as a way of living. For her, creativity, passion and some audiovisual technical skills are all that is needed for creating and realizing minimalistic but powerful cinematic experiences. Her work has been presented at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and at the Anthology Film Archives in New York; it has also been selected and awarded at prestigious film festivals such as Visions du Réel, IDFA, Karlovy Vary, Chicago, Guadalajara, Havana, Toulouse, Huelva, among others.

Inspired by the mythical exercise "One to One " from The International School of Film and Television (EICTV) of San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba, Natala Cabral's class will teach students to research, think, plan, shoot and edit a 10 minute documentary work. The very name of the exercise refers to a strategy of collaboration. Two students work together by sharing authorial control – the director of the documentary film is also the director of photography, and her/his documentary colleague works as the boom operator and sound person. The pair switches roles to create multiple creative experiences. Before beginning shooting and postproduction of the documentary shorts, students will learn about minimalistic documentary approaches in cinema and will receive technical advice in camera, sound and editing. Through shooting and postproduction, students will receive mentorship as authors of their projects. The goal of the class is to
expand the experience of the practical work of cinema by teaching a collaborative and minimalistic way of working that challenges the agility and creativity of those involved, in addition to sharpening their technical skills in camera, sound and editing. 



David Bendiksen

David Bendiksen is an accomplished filmmaker, photographer, and teacher. He believes in what has been called the expressive use of equipment, ideas, materials, and processes. In an era of ever-increasing digital dominance, his creative work re-emphasizes the rich chemical, optical, and mechanical aspects of 16mm filmmaking and has been showcased by the Northampton Historical Society. As an interdisciplinary scholar and instructor, David believes in bridging the analog and digital divide in order to equip a new generation of students with the fullest possible set of creative tools to achieve their vision.
His dissertation, Technological Truths: Media and Materiality in French New Wave Cinema and International Pictorialism, bridges cinematography and photography in its study of avant-garde image-making technologies. As a Banff International Literary Translation Centre fellow his writing projects include translations of Cahiers du Cinéma, and his scholarly work on camera, lens, and photographic media developments across the 20th century sheds new light on film history through a unique attention to the tactility and materiality of cinematographic craft.
David is dedicated to building communities of current scholars and practitioners across the globe and has been remarkably active in curating photographic exhibitions, editing photographic publications, and in mounting exhibitions of his own photography, as well as making his own 16mm films. He has an extensive record of exhibitions, including “Yankee Yarns: The Photographs of Alton Hall Blackington, 1920-1939,” “Envisioning the America of Carl Sandburg, 1893-1934” and was director of the Tournées French Film Festival held at UMass Amherst in 2016.

16MM FILMMAKING AND TECHNOLOGY is an introductory workshop in 16mm single-camera filmmaking, non-linear editing, and film projection intended for students interested in pursuing further creative production and coursework in film, especially toward completion of the Certificate in Film Studies. Creative work is complemented by a rigorous selection of readings and screenings. Exploration of technological possibilities to broaden student creativity will be emphasized, and the development of personal vision and style will be stressed.


Patricia Montoya


Patricia Montoya draws on her Colombian American bi-national identity, queer, US/Mexico border, and East-West North American experience to tackle the existential conditions and cultural contradictions experienced by immigrants from Latin America who are living in the United States.  Her videos address issues of migration, memory, and identity through lyrical explorations of text, dialogue, and theatrical adaptations.  

Video, still images and sound are used in this course to explore the fundamental character of storytelling, filmmaking and time-based art practices. Students perform all aspects of production with particular attention to developing ideas and building analytical, critical and production skills. We will read seminal written work and interviews with practicing artists in order to expand our knowledge, understanding and love for the medium. Through exercises that include weekly projects students will produce sketches aimed at exploring video as an experimentation tool. There will be special emphasis paid to sound design that includes original music, and ambient sound gathered with separate sound recorder. The class will review students the basic theoretical tools to critique their own productions and develop an understanding of the possibilities that medium offers. Final project presentations due in class during Finals Week

Elliot Montague


Elliot Montague's films explore the nuances of trans and queer narratives through engagement with familial relationships, spirits, and rural landscapes. His work has contributed significantly to the current wave of "New Trans Cinema." Over the past two decades, Montague's films have received international recognition at dozens of festivals and museums, including the Media Arts Festival in Osnabruck, Germany, the Tribeca Film Festival, the Anthology Film Archives in New York, and the Dashanzi Arts Festival in Beijing, among others. Montague is a twice recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Award from the Princess Grace Foundation and his films are partially distributed through Women Make Movies and Video Data Bank.
Montague's recent film, Light on a Path, Follow, (executive producer Patresse Cullors) tells the story of a Latinx transmasculine pregnant person who is guided by a birthworker spirit in 1990s rural Massachusetts (Pucumtuck and Nipmuck territories). This work was presented as part of the Trans*Revolutions Virtual Symposium, hosted by Barnard Center for Research on Women. This virtural symposium featured artist-activists whose work is inspired by and engaged in imagining trans* and genderqueer histories, performances, identities, and aesthetics.