The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Academics

Online Courses

 

FALL 2021

SUMMER 2021 -Session 1

SUMMER 2021 -Session 2

SPRING 2021 


FALL 2021


FILM-ST- 397K ST- Screenwriting: Film & Video
Instructor: Tom Benedek
Credits: 3
In this class students will learn character and plot creation techniques in feature films, TV, short films, online media and develop their own stories and scripts for selected formats. This course is an elective for the film studies major through BDIC. 
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR IN BDIC CATEGORY: E
 
FILM ST – 397X -Experiments in Film
Instructor: Christopher Janke 
Credits: 3
Is Christopher Nolan experimental? Richard Linklater? Marjane Satrapi? Abbas Kiarostami? The language of contemporary cinema is made from the bold experiments of the past. Filmmakers like Chris Marker and Maya Deren turned budgetary problems into films that stand the test of time. Adrian Piper's radical experiments in racial identity: are these films? How would we talk about how they were cast ? or about the set? We will look at the risks filmmakers take and why they take them, and we will wonder how they (or we) can know if their risks have paid off. And then we will use our creative resources to turn our own challenges into artistic constraints ? into visions where our problems and concerns, our inspirations and quirks, spur us to create the unusual, the unique, and the daring. Come risk and play. Requirements include: short weekly experiments, reflections, risks, and films; watching films; and an independent project. In addition to a computer and internet access, you will need access to a camera that shoots video (a cellphone can work) as well as to video editing software and to a way to transfer between the two.
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY:V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR IN BDIC CATEGORY:E
 

Film-St 397Q  Production Sketchbook
Instructor: Patricia Montoya 

Credits 3
Description: 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


SUMMER 2021 -Session 1


FILM-ST 170 – Introduction to film Analysis: Cinematic Time Travel
Instructor: Barry Spence             
Credits: 4
This is an introduction to film studies and to the analysis of film. The course explores the complex nature and cultural function of cinema by focusing on time travel as both a central theme of a wide range of films and as a way of understanding how cinema works as a time-based medium. By studying films from various points in the global history of cinema - including films from nine countries and five continents - this course performs a transcultural introduction to the formal and stylistic aspects of cinematic storytelling. (Gen. Ed. AT)
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: I, V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: E

 

Film-St 497 J Interview Practices
Instructor: Patricia Montoya
Credits 3
Description: 
This intermediate level production course places the interview as the locus of inquiry in order to explore, respond to, express, the ways in which social issues such as racism, economic inequality, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, bullying, hate speech and hate crimes, disability, incarceration, to name a few, affect us. In Interview Practices, Dialogue and Conversation in Studio Video Production, students create, research and analyze the process of producing scripted, story-based, socially engaged, short non-fiction and experimental videos. The course examines elements of performance for the camera, studio and in the field shooting, various interview and editing techniques. The course is ideal for students who have completed other production courses and wish to further expand their skills and create a production portfolio. The first part of the course will be studying components of studio-based production with hands-on in class short production exercises including the use of the green screen and three camera set up. In the process, students will understand the various production roles of a studio shoot. In the remaining weeks, students will produce a short interview based documentary, a conversation or a dialogue scene.
This is a demanding production course that requires intense work outside class, pre-production and organizational skills
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: E


SUMMER 2021 -Session 2


FILM-ST 284: The Undead Souths (also available as French 284)
Instructor: Patrick Mensah
Credits: 4
This course will explore themes of the Southern Gothic in works of Cinema and popular Televisual narratives. We will study the development of the lurid motifs of the Gothic that works affiliated with this genre often deploy to invoke a sense of horror and dread, moral corruption, and psychological abjection, all seemingly meant to assimilate the South and its citizens to the category of a degenerate and menacing otherness. The imagery of dismal landscapes, dark swamps, decaying architecture, fanatical and occult religious practices, and the often grotesque or monstrous figures and cultural tropes that aspire to associate the South with an imaginary medieval past, will be examined mostly as marks of an ambivalent ideological struggle surrounding the self-identity of America. Thanks to this regime of gothic tropes and insignia, America, on the one hand, heralds its own self-identity as culturally rich and historically continuous, and yet, it is, at least partly thanks to this same regimen of gothic tropes (understood as figures of otherness), on the other hand, that America also typically (or stereotypically) deals with anxieties arising from its attempts to define its own modern identity, and its identity as modern and exceptional. Such anxieties give rise to instances of negative stereotyping, and practices of cultural exclusion that the course critically interrogates. We also study several important ways in which the Gothic serves as an important voice for the marginalized, while enabling critical reflections on the social and cultural practices of exclusion we have alluded to. The history of slavery, the civil war, and its aftermath, as well as literature produced by certain Southern writers (such as William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Katherine Anne Porter, and others) since the late 19th century, will be identified as important defining contexts of emergence for the Southern gothic, and as the indispensable conditions that have made its deployment into 20th century film and television possible. Due attention will also be paid to the influence of French colonial adventures and interventions in shaping cultures and "gothic" mythologies of the American South, and the Caribbean, as well as the role played by America's own efforts to secure and maintain hegemonic influences on the region. The course is conducted in English, and requires no prior knowledge of the field. All films are streamed to your computer from the UMass library on demand. Required readings are provided online, and no book purchases are necessary. (Gen. Ed. AT, DU)
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: III, V
 
FILM-ST 353: African Cinema (Also available as French 353) 
Instructor: Patrick Mensah

Credits: 4
This course offers an introduction to African film as an aesthetic and cultural practice. Students should expect to be familiarized with the key ideas and objectives that have inspired and driven that practice since the early 1960s, and be furnished with the technical tools and methodological skills that would permit them to understand, analyze, and think critically about the artistic and thematic aspects of the films that are screened. They should also expect the course to provide them with a critical peek into several cardinal issues of social and cultural relevance in contemporary Africa and its history. Issues of interest typically include, the nationstate and its declining status, imperatives of decolonization, economic dependency and structural adjustment programs, orality and changing traditional cultures, diasporic migrations, urbanization and its problems, gender relations, civil wars, child soldiers, gangs, and related themes. Filmmakers studied include, but are not limited to, Abderrahmane Sissako, Gillo Pontecorvo, Ousmane Sembene, Raoul Peck, Jean-Marie Teno, Dani Kouyate, Mweze Ngangura, Gavin Hood, Neill Blomkamp, Moufida Tlatli, Djibril Diop Mambety (please note that this list is subject to change, and shall be updated as future changes are made). The course is conducted in English, and requires no prior knowledge of the field. All films are streamed to your computer from the UMass library on demand. Required readings are provided online, and no book purchases are necessary. (Gen.Ed. AT, DG)
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: III, V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR IN BDIC CATEGORY: N
 
FILM-ST 397J: Film Production: How the craft works 
Instructor: Nefeli Forni Zervoudaki
Credits: 3
This course will focus on a diversity of challenges in the art of film production. It will cover the phases of project development, financing, pre-production, production design, and executive production, together with post-production and distribution/commercialization. You will have the chance to interact with each other, making the course both practical and dynamic. You will also have the opportunity to assess and exchange the issues you encountered - or may encounter! - on your own work and the projects you have worked on or will work on in the future, receiving personalized feedback.
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: V
 
FILM-ST 397TV: Special Topics- TV Writing: Pilot Script, Episode, Series Development
Instructor: Tom Benedek
Credits: 3
This course provides the foundational principles of writing for cable, streaming, network programming. Write the first ten to fifteen pages of your script of your TV/small screen idea for a detailed outline of the pilot episode. Optional collaboration in class member "Writers Room" to work on group project. Learn to create a family of characters with long-term and short term story arcs for season and series bibles. Write the first ten to fifteen pages of your script. Using written lectures, script readings, streamed/recorded video lectures, writing assignments and online class discussion, learn foundation principles of home screen series development. Workshop your idea or story concept into a structured original TV pilot script. Using sets of questions/writing prompts, class members will brainstorm characters, plot, images, back stories to build their TV show idea.
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR IN BDIC CATEGORY: E

SPRING 2021 


FILM-ST 353: African Cinema (Also available as French 353) 
Instructor: Patrick Mensah

Credits: 4
This course offers an introduction to African film as an aesthetic and cultural practice. Students should expect to be familiarized with the key ideas and objectives that have inspired and driven that practice since the early 1960s, and be furnished with the technical tools and methodological skills that would permit them to understand, analyze, and think critically about the artistic and thematic aspects of the films that are screened. They should also expect the course to provide them with a critical peek into several cardinal issues of social and cultural relevance in contemporary Africa and its history. Issues of interest typically include, the nationstate and its declining status, imperatives of decolonization, economic dependency and structural adjustment programs, orality and changing traditional cultures, diasporic migrations, urbanization and its problems, gender relations, civil wars, child soldiers, gangs, and related themes. Filmmakers studied include, but are not limited to, Abderrahmane Sissako, Gillo Pontecorvo, Ousmane Sembene, Raoul Peck, Jean-Marie Teno, Dani Kouyate, Mweze Ngangura, Gavin Hood, Neill Blomkamp, Moufida Tlatli, Djibril Diop Mambety (please note that this list is subject to change, and shall be updated as future changes are made). The course is conducted in English, and requires no prior knowledge of the field. All films are streamed to your computer from the UMass library on demand. Required readings are provided online, and no book purchases are necessary. (Gen.Ed. AT, DG)
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: III, V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR IN BDIC CATEGORY: N
 
FILM-ST 497L /697FL  Fellini- The Liar (Also available as ITALIAN 497FL/ ITALIAN 697FL)
Instructor: Andrea Malaguti
Credits: 3
The course examines how Fellini's irony constantly debunks the imagery of the so-called "western culture" and highlights the need for new cultural narratives.
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: III, IV, V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR IN BDIC CATEGORY: N
 
FILM-ST 497K
Instructor: David Casals Roma
Credits: 3
In the same way that fiction films are the mirror of our imagination, documentaries are the mirror of our surrounding reality. But making a documentary requires a creative point of view by the director and the knowledge of some filmmaking techniques. In this course you will learn how to develop your ideas for documentary, how to write a script, how to plan de production, how to shoot interviews and how to structure your movie in the editing room. Moreover, you will write, shoot and edit a 5-minute documentary during the course. It is important that you can have access to a camera, a computer and an editing software to edit your documentary.
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: IV,V
 
 


 

Online Course Catalogue

Courses we regularly offer online.

FILM-ST 297C  - INTRODUCTION TO CINEMA STUDIES (Category: I)                                                                                                                                                                                            Instructor: Barry Spence, 3 credits

This is an introduction to cinema studies and to the analysis of film. The course explores the complex nature and cultural function of cinema by focusing on the interrelationship between film form and the full range of stylistic elements (mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, sound). Each week we will watch a groundbreaking movie from the diverse cultural history of global cinema and use it as a basis for analyzing the various component parts of the filmmaking process as manifested in the finished film. Among these concerns, we will consider film as both a storytelling act (with unique time-based resources) and as a technological medium that forms cultural meaning. For it is within the interplay of these dimensions that film finds its unique and culturally preeminent voice.

FILM-ST 284 The Undead Souths (ONLINE)  Gen Eds. AT DU. 
Instructor: Patrick Mensah, 4 credits

The Southern Gothic and Francophone  Mythologies on Film and TV
Through the medium of Film and contemporary televisual programming, this course offers a broad critical examination of the tropes, iconology, and practices of representation, involving the undead and other paranormal figures, drawn from the gothic lore of the American South. Paying due attention to their filiation with elements of French, French Creole, and Francophone Caribbean cultures, we will explore tales of zombies, vampires, witches, ghosts, and other grotesque creatures, as well as landscapes, of the gothic imaginary, as fictional sites through which such pressing social issues of contemporary culture, as the history of slavery and colonialism, gender relations, themes of sexuality, religiosity, class relations, ecological politics, and related anxieties are articulated, contested, and negotiated. The course will be conducted in English

FILM-ST 297G - TV Screenwriting: The Pilot Episode (Category: V) 
Instructor: Tom Benedek, 3 credits

tv
TV-Screenwriting

This course provides the foundational principles of television writing. Write the first ten to fifteen pages of your script of your TV/small screen idea for a detailed outline of the pilot episode. Learn to create a family of characters with long-term and short term story arcs for season and series bibles. Write the first ten to fifteen pages of your script. Using written lectures, script readings, streamed/recorded video lectures, writing assignments and online class discussion, learn foundation principles of TV series development. Instructor Tom Benedek will provide individual feedback on all writing project assignments.  Workshop your idea or story concept into a structured original TV pilot script. Using sets of questions/writing prompts, class members will brainstorm characters, plot, images, back stories to build their TV show idea. (FILM CERTIFICATE CATEGORY V)

FILM-ST 353 AFRICAN FILM (ONLINE)  Gen Eds. AT, DG.                                                                                                                                                          Instructor: Patrick Mensah, 4 credits

Course taught in English. Histories and development of African film and its aesthetic forms, from its inception to the present day. The sociocultural, economic, and political forces and imperatives defining its forms and shaping its agendas. Questions this work raises in film aesthetics and theory as a whole. All screenings available online. Line up of screenings: The Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo) Lumumba, Sometimes in April (Raoul Peck) Sometimes in April (Raoul Peck) Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako) Afrique, Je te plumerai (Jean-Marie Teno) Keita, Heritage of the Griot (Dany Kouyaté) Pièces d’Identités (Mweze Ngangura) Tsotsi (Gavin Hood) District 9 (Neill Blomkamp) Silences of the Palace (Moufida Tlatli) Hyenas (Djibril Diop Mambety)
FILM CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: III
FILM MAJOR THROUGH BDIC REQUIREMENT: N

FILM-ST 497DF- Short Documentary Filmmaking (ONLINE)
Instructor: David Casals Roma
Credits: 3
In the same way that fiction films are the mirror of our imagination, documentaries are the mirror of our surrounding reality. But making a documentary requires a creative point of view by the director and the knowledge of some filmmaking techniques. In this course you will learn how to develop your ideas for documentary, how to write a script, how to plan de production, how to shoot interviews and how to structure your movie in the editing room. Moreover, you will write, shoot and edit a 5-minute documentary during the course. It is important that you can have access to a camera, a computer and an editing software to edit your documentary.

Certificate Category: V


FILM-ST 353 African Cinema (Also available as French 353) (ONLINE and MULTIMODAL)
Instructor: Patrick Mensah
4 credits
Gen Ed course (AT and D)
Tues 4 pm-6:45 pm
Histories and development of African film and its aesthetic forms, from its inception to the present day. The sociocultural, economic, and political forces and imperatives defining its forms and shaping its agendas. Questions this work raises in film aesthetics and theory as a whole. All screenings available online. Line up of screenings: The Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo) Lumumba, Sometimes in April (Raoul Peck) Xala, Borom Sarret, Moolaade, Black Girl (Ousmane Sembene) Sometimes in April (Raoul Peck) Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako) Afrique, Je te plumerai (Jean-Marie Teno) Keita, Heritage of the Griot (Dany Kouyaté) Pièces d’Identités (Mweze Ngangura) Tsotsi (Gavin Hood) District 9 (Neill Blomkamp) Silences of the Palace (Moufida Tlatli) Hyenas (Djibril Diop Mambety) Course taught in English.
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: III, V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR IN BDIC CATEGORY: N


FILM-ST 497L Fellini- The Liar (Also available as ITALIAN 497FL) (ONLINE and MULTIMODAL)
Instructor: Andrea Malaguti
Credits: 3
Tue 4:00-6:30
The course examines the most important films by Federico Fellini (whose "La dolce vita" and "8 1/2" both entered the 100 greatest movies list of the British Film Institute) to understand how his work both contends with his contemporaries (especially Hollywood) and still has a strong grip on our film imagery today. Lectures and discussions in English.
UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: III, IV,  V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR IN BDIC CATEGORY: N

FILM-ST 397M - MAKING SHORT FILMS (Category: V)                                                                                                                                                                                                     Instructor: David Casals-Roma, 3 credits

Making short films is a step by step course that goes through the basic aspects you need to know in order to make a film. We will start with the preproduction process and how to find engaging stories. You will learn how to break-down scripts, cast actors, find crew, scout locations, prepare budgets, shooting plans, call sheets and other important paperwork. For the production process the course will focus on shooting, blocking, lighting, directing actors, cinematography, sound and other important aspects to be aware of when you are on set. In the postproduction process you will learn the basics of editing images, sound design, music, effects and color correction. Finally, we will analyze the film market and the possibilities that new filmmakers have in the industry. (Important: There will be some practical exercises appointed by the professor. As film equipment is not provided for the class, you will need to have access to a camera)

FILM-ST 297S - SCREENWRITING - Idea to Outline (Category: V)                                                                                                                                                                                                   Instructor: Tom Benedek, 3 credits

Develop your film idea into a well-structured outline and write the first ten pages of your script. Using written lectures, script readings, streamed/recorded video lectures, writing assignments and online class discussion, learn the art, craft and creative fundamentals of screenwriting. Instructor Tom Benedek will provide individual feedback on all writing project assignments. Weeks 1 and 2: Total immersion in the foundational principles of screenwriting: Dramatic structure, script form, character, story/plot, subplot, theme, genre, scene structures, dialogue and creative brainstorming methods for developing ideas into finished scripts. Weeks 3 and 4: Workshop your idea or story concept into a structured script outline and write the first ten pages of your script. Using a series of structured sets of questions/writing prompts, class members will brainstorm characters, plot, images, back stories to build their film idea.

FILM-ST 397J - Film Production: How the craft works  (Category: V)
Instructor: Nefeli Forni, 3 credits

This course will focus on a diversity of challenges in the art of film production. It will cover the phases of project development, financing, pre-production, production design, and executive production, together with post-production and distribution/commercialization. You will have the chance to interact with each other, making the course both practical and dynamic. You will also have the opportunity to assess and exchange the issues you encountered -or may encounter!- on your your own work and the projects you have worked on or will work on in the future, receiving personalized feedback. (FILM CERTIFICATE CATEGORY V)

FILM-ST 497Z - The Horror Film (ONLINE) (Category: III, IV and V)                                                                                                                                                                                                   Instructor: Barry Spence, 3 credits

Do you like spine-tingling cinema? Sitting in the dark terrified before the luminous screen? This course is for you. We will examine the horror film, both in terms of the history of the genre and in terms of what defines the form. The primary work for this course will consist of studying horror films and discussing them.
FILM CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: III, IV and V
FILM MAJOR through BDIC requirement: G

 

FILM-ST 497D - Short Documentary Filmmaking (Category: V)
Instructor: David Casals-Roma, 3 credits

In the same way that fiction films are the mirror of our imagination, documentaries are the mirror of our surrounding reality. But making a documentary requires a creative point of view by the director and the knowledge of some filmmaking techniques. In this course you will learn how to develop your ideas for documentary, how to write a script, how to plan de production, how to shoot interviews and how to structure your movie in the editing room. Moreover, you will write, shoot and edit a 5-minute documentary during the course. It is important that you can have access to a camera, a computer and an editing software to edit your documentary. (FILM CERTIFICATE CATEGORY V)

 

FILM ST 497G– SCREENWRITING – TV – WRITING THE ORIGINAL PILOT - (Certificate Category: V)


Screenwriting

(3 credits)

ONLINE
Instructor: Tom Benedek

Develop your TV/small screen idea into a detailed outline of the pilot episode. Learn to create a family of characters with long-term and short term story arcs for season and series bibles. Write the first ten to fifteen pages of your script. Using written lectures, script readings, streamed/recorded video lectures, writing assignments and online class discussion, learn foundation principles of TV series development. Instructor Tom Benedek will provide individual feedback on all writing project assignments. This course provides the foundational principles of television writing. Workshop your idea or story concept into a structured original TV pilot script. Using sets of questions/writing prompts, class members will brainstorm characters, plot, images, back stories to build their TV show idea. (Certificate Category: V)

 


Filmmaking

FILM-ST  470 Film Theory (Certificate Category: II, IV)
(4 credits)

MULTIMODAL (students can choose to take this class either  ON CAMPUS  or ONLINE)
Instructor: Barry Spence

This course provides an in-depth overview of key theoretical approaches to the study of cinema by examining historically significant ways of analyzing film form and its social and cultural functions and effects. The course seeks to equip students with a command of the diverse history of theoretical frameworks for understanding the medium and experience of cinema, from early concerns over film’s relation to other arts to the way the movie as a cultural form has been reconceptualized within the contemporary explosion of new media. The pressing relevance of film theory becomes clear once we stop to consider—taking just one small example—the many implications of a society-wide movement away from the collective experience of movies in a public theater to private viewing with earbuds on the tiny screen of a cell phone or tablet. We will explore a wide range of questions (concerning the nature of the cinematic medium and its apparatus, aspects of the spectator’s experience of film, and the aesthetic and ideological dimensions of film genre, to name just a few) as a way of putting ourselves in dialogue with various film theoreticians. And we will ground our examination by looking at cinematic practice in relation to theory. This will be done through regular film screenings throughout the semester.

FILM-ST 397SW SCREENWRITING – Short Films, Web Series 
(3 credits)

ONLINE
Instructor: Tom Benedek

Learn screenwriting by writing short films scripts. Develop your short film script using written lectures, script readings,streamed/recorded video lectures, strategic writing assignments and online class discussion. Learn the art, craft and creative fundamentals of short script and web series development. Using structured sets of questions/writing prompts, class members will brainstorm characters, plot, images, back stories to build their film idea. Instructor Tom Benedek will provide individual feedback on all writing project assignments. This course provides a thorough grounding in short film and webisode development and structure. Study character creation, scene structure, thematic impact. Workshop your film idea and web series concept into a structured script outline.

FILM-ST 397L  - CINEMA OF DAVID LYNCH (Category: III, V)

(3 credits)

Instructor: Kevin Anderson

Cinema has no boundaries. There are no prescribed formulas for telling stories or for entertaining, nor for how films can challenge viewer expectations as to what defines motion pictures. The films and television work of director David Lynch, while influenced and inspired by predecessors, have boldly and artfully pushed the boundaries of these media, and in doing so, have challenged and delighted audiences and forged new conceptions of the potential and style of cinema. In this course we examine several of Lynch's films, with a focus on consistencies in themes - such as parallel realities, metaphysics, dreams, and unfixed identities - and craft. We also examine Lynch's influence on other filmmakers. The course also offers up several documentaries on Lynch and his art work in order to better appreciate his truly unique approach to cinema and television.

FILM-ST 397PT: -Psycho Thrillers (Category: III, V)

(3 credits)

Instructor: Daniel Pope

Thrillers compel audiences even as they repel with their narratives of dark secrets and cryptic menace. How can we understand the appeal of thriller movies? Is it their suspense, which lures us with its promise of mysteries that might be revealed? Is it their tales of transgression and violence, which horrify, tantalize, or spur catharsis? This class explores the psychological thriller in international cinema, the roots and characteristics of the genre as well as the ways these films offer critical portraits of hidden truths of the mind, of history, and of the inner workings of the social worlds around us. We will examine intersections between the psychological thriller and other thriller subgenres (political, erotic, action, supernatural, social, legal) as well as with such genres as horror and film noir. Films by Alfred Hitchcock, Mary Harron, Michael Haneke, David Lynch, Sally Potter, Christian Petzold, Asghar Farhadi, Lynne Ramsay, Akira Kurosawa, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jordon Peele, Alejandro Amenábar, Michelangelo Antonioni, and others.

FILM-ST 397W: The Western in Transnational Cinema (Category: III, V)

Instructor: Barry Spence

The Western is one of the oldest of film genres. Usually considered the first Western movie, The Great Train Robbery, released in 1903, is arguably the film that established cinema as a commercial industry of formidable potential. From its earliest instances the Western has been a key cultural expression of the American mythos and has played an integral role in the formation of American identity. We can look at the Western as a cultural form rich in themes concerning: the construction of gender identity; racial politics; the establishment of social order in conflict with the lure of frontier self-determination; the romance of the outlaw; narratives of redemption; vigilante retribution versus the rule of law; human resiliency in and conquest of the natural world; the subjugation (or extermination) of indigenous peoples—and this is to name only an obvious few. But the Western has also been a pivotal form in the history of storytelling media in a very diverse range of nations and cultural contexts, from Japan to India to Italy to Germany to Australia to South Africa to Brazil to Mexico. This course will, on the one hand, examine the cultural history and legacy of the Western genre in the cinema of the United States. We will study iconic and revisionist examples, looking at both formal and thematic aspects of this cinema as well as its historical relationship to American identity and its social policies and politics. On the other hand, a large part of this course will focus on the Western in relation to a highly diverse range of cinema cultures throughout the world. In particular, we will study the genre’s impact on, but also its inheritance from, the cinema traditions of Italy, Japan, China, India, South Korea, and nations of the Global South. This course is designed to challenge conventional understanding of the Western genre by exposing students to interdisciplinary theories oriented toward comprehending the diverse cultural, social, and political perspectives embodied by the transnational engagement with the Western.

FILM-ST 497A - ALIEN ENCOUNTERS (Category: III IV V)

(3 credits)

Instructor: Daniel Pope

Could there be extraterrestrial life in the cosmos? Scientists say yes, possibly on billions of planets in our galaxy alone, according to recent discoveries. What would happen in an encounter between humans and alien beings? In this class, we will examine cinematic engagements with themes of alien encounters and ask how the cinema envisions and constructs the alien other, as well as how it both reflects and shapes our experience of the alien. Since the beginning of cinema, the figure of the alien has visited the big screen with its promise of otherworldly wonders and its threat of unthinkable perils. Why do we find alien movies so alluring? How do we understand themes of alien encounters in relation to the realities of our human world? This course will also explore how alien encounters reflect the haunting of historical realities (such as European voyages of discovery, conquest, and colonization) as well as contemporary issues, such as international conflict (war or global migration), questions of identity (race, gender, sexuality), and the power and perils of emerging technologies (nuclear weapons, artificial intelligence, space travel). Imagining encounters with intelligent beings beyond our own cultural and ideological sphere provides powerful new perspectives on what we think we know about the world, about ourselves, and about others.

FILM-ST 297M  - MAKING SHORT FILMS (Category: V)

(3 credits)

ONLINE
Instructor: David Casals-Roma

Making short films is a step by step introductory course that goes through the basic aspects you need to know in order to make a film. We will start with the preproduction process and how to find engaging stories. You will learn how to break-down scripts, cast actors, find crew, scout locations, prepare budgets, shooting plans, call sheets and other important paperwork. For the production process the course will focus on shooting, blocking, lighting, directing actors, cinematography, sound and other important aspects to be aware of when you are on set. In the postproduction process you will learn the basics of editing images, sound design, music, effects and color correction. Finally, we will analyze the film market and the possibilities that new filmmakers have in the industry. (Important: There will be some practical exercises appointed by the professor. As film equipment is not provided for the class, you will need to have access to a camera.

FILM-ST 497W  - WOMEN'S CINEMA (Category: II, IV, V)

(3 credits)

Instructor: Barbara Zecchi

A close examination of films directed by women from around the globe through the viewpoint of gender and film theories. This class will engage several of the most recurrent topics that shape women’s films in comparison with how these same themes surface, if they do, in mainstream Hollywood and in national male-authored productions. By tackling the so-called gender-genre debate, it will address how women use (or subvert) different male-dominated cinematic forms (i.e. if there is a female version of the comedy, a women’s road movie, film noir, etc.). Finally, it will address whether and how these films reflect a female idiosyncrasy, a woman’s language, a female gaze. Class will include recent films by women filmmakers such as Chantal Akerman (Belgium), Isabel Coixet (Catalonia), Lucia Puenzo (Argentina), Claire Denis (France), Alankrita Shrivastava (India), Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Turkey), Nadine Labaki (Lebanon), among others.)

FILM-ST 397MW : Short-Form Media: Film Shorts, Music Videos, Webisodes, and Experimental Films (Category: II, V)
ONLINE

(3 credits)

Instructor: Kevin Anderson

In this course students will apply a critical analysis to a variety of short-form media: ranging from narrative shorts, instructional videos, music videos, webisodes, and experimental media projects. This class not only examines digital filmmaking shorts but also presents strategies for distribution and exhibition of such projects -- a key step in reaching audiences. Students will write critical responses to the short films shown in class as well as have the opportunity to create their own short-form videos as demonstration of their understanding of the key concepts related to the creation and communicative power of non-feature length films.

FILM-ST 497AW  Women of African Descent and the Moving Image (Category: III, IV, V)
ONLINE

(3 credits)

Instructor: Demetria Shabazz

This course subverts the hierarchical canons of screen studies by centering women of African descent in the motion picture industry. Movie-making since the early part of the 20th century, black women are currently producing film, video, web and television programs like never before. In examining the creative work on screen of African women around the globe, you will sharpen your film and cultural criticism skills using postcolonial, feminist/womanist, and Africana Studies approaches.

FILM- ST 397SW SCREENWRITING – Short Films, Web Series (Category: V)
ONLINE

Instructor: Tom Benedek

Learn screenwriting by writing short films scripts. Develop your short film script using written lectures, script readings,streamed/recorded video lectures, strategic writing assignments and online class discussion. Learn the art, craft and creative fundamentals of short script and web series development. Using structured sets of questions/writing prompts, class members will brainstorm characters, plot, images, back stories to build their film idea. Instructor Tom Benedek will provide individual feedback on all writing project assignments. This course provides a thorough grounding in short film and webisode development and structure. Study character creation, scene structure, thematic impact. Workshop your film idea and web series concept into a structured script outline..

FILM-ST 397PT: PSYCHO THRILLERS (Film Studies Certificate Category: III, V)
ONLINE

(3 credits)

Instructor: Daniel Pope

HitchockThrillers compel audiences even as they repel with their narratives of dark secrets and cryptic menace. How can we understand the appeal of thriller movies? Is it their suspense, which lures us with its promise of mysteries that might be revealed? Is it their tales of transgression and violence, which horrify, tantalize, or spur catharsis? This class explores the psychological thriller in international cinema, the roots and characteristics of the genre as well as the ways these films offer critical portraits of hidden truths of the mind, of history, and of the inner workings of the social worlds around us. We will examine intersections between the psychological thriller and other thriller subgenres (political, erotic, action, supernatural, social, legal) as well as with such genres as horror and film noir. Films by Alfred Hitchcock, Mary Harron, Michael Haneke, David Lynch, Sally Potter, Christian Petzold, Asghar Farhadi, Lynne Ramsay, Akira Kurosawa, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jordon Peele, Alejandro Amenábar, Michelangelo Antonioni, and others. FILM-ST

497M : ADVANCED FILMMAKING (Category: IV, V)

ONLINE

(3 credits)

Instructor: David Casals-Roma

clapperboard
Advanced Filmmaking

In this advanced course we will be looking at different filmmaking techniques and putting them into practice with a set of creative exercises. We will analyze how the cinematographic language works and how you can create an emotion just by using moving images and sound. During this course you will write a short film and plan its production using the tips and recommendations of the professor and other fellow students. We will also be looking at advanced directing techniques and how to make the most of your resources to get professional-looking footage. For this course you will be required to have a basic knowledge on filmmaking and screenwriting. As the course is mostly practical, you will need a camera, a computer and basic editing software to edit footage.

FILM-ST 397L CINEMA OF DAVID LYNCH (Category: III, V)

(3 credits)

ONLINE
Instructor: Kevin Anderson

David Lynch
David Lynch

Cinema has no boundaries. There are no prescribed formulas for telling stories or for entertaining, nor for how films can challenge viewer expectations as to what defines motion pictures. The films and television work of director David Lynch, while influenced and inspired by predecessors, have boldly and artfully pushed the boundaries of these media, and in doing so, have challenged and delighted audiences and forged new conceptions of the potential and style of cinema. In this course we examine several of Lynch's films, with a focus on consistencies in themes - such as parallel realities, metaphysics, dreams, and unfixed identities - and craft. We also examine Lynch's influence on other filmmakers. The course also offers up several documentaries on Lynch and his art work in order to better appreciate his truly unique approach to cinema and television.

FILM-ST 387: The Western in Transnational Cinema (Category: III, V)

GenEd: DG and AT
ONLINE
Instructor: Barry Spence

WesternsThe Western is one of the oldest of film genres. Usually considered the first Western movie, The Great Train Robbery, released in 1903, is arguably the film that established cinema as a commercial industry of formidable potential. From its earliest instances the Western has been a key cultural expression of the American mythos and has played an integral role in the formation of American identity. We can look at the Western as a cultural form rich in themes concerning: the construction of gender identity; racial politics; the establishment of social order in conflict with the lure of frontier self-determination; the romance of the outlaw; narratives of redemption; vigilante retribution versus the rule of law; human resiliency in and conquest of the natural world; the subjugation (or extermination) of indigenous peoples—and this is to name only an obvious few. But the Western has also been a pivotal form in the history of storytelling media in a very diverse range of nations and cultural contexts, from Japan to India to Italy to Germany to Australia to South Africa to Brazil to Mexico. This course will, on the one hand, examine the cultural history and legacy of the Western genre in the cinema of the United States. We will study iconic and revisionist examples, looking at both formal and thematic aspects of this cinema as well as its historical relationship to American identity and its social policies and politics. On the other hand, a large part of this course will focus on the Western in relation to a highly diverse range of cinema cultures throughout the world. In particular, we will study the genre’s impact on, but also its inheritance from, the cinema traditions of Italy, Japan, China, India, South Korea, and nations of the Global South. This course is designed to challenge conventional understanding of the Western genre by exposing students to interdisciplinary theories oriented toward comprehending the diverse cultural, social, and political perspectives embodied by the transnational engagement with the Western.

FILM-ST 297S : SCREENWRITING - Idea to Outline (Category: V)

(3 credits)

ONLINE
Instructor: Tom Benedek

ScreenwritingDevelop your film idea into a well-structured outline and write the first ten pages of your script. Using written lectures, script readings, streamed/recorded video lectures, writing assignments and online class discussion, learn the art, craft and creative fundamentals of screenwriting. Instructor Tom Benedek will provide individual feedback
on all writing project assignments. Weeks 1 and 2: Total immersion in the foundational principles of screenwriting: Dramatic structure, script form, character, story/plot, subplot, theme, genre, scene structures, dialogue and creative brainstorming methods for developing ideas into finished scripts. Weeks 3 and 4: Workshop your idea or story concept into a structured script outline and write the first ten pages of your script. Using a series of structured sets of questions/writing prompts, class members will brainstorm characters, plot, images, back stories to build their film idea.

FILM-ST 497W Women's Cinema (Category: II, IV, V)

ONLINE
Instructor: Barbara Zecchi

A close examination of films directed by women from around the globe through the viewpoint of gender and film theories. This class will engage several of the most recurrent topics that shape women’s films in comparison with how these same themes surface, if they do, in mainstream Hollywood and in national male-authored productions. By tackling the so-called gender-genre debate, it will address how women use (or subvert) different male-dominated cinematic forms (i.e. if there is a female version of the comedy, a women’s road movie, film noir, etc.). Finally, it will address whether and how these films reflect a female idiosyncrasy, a woman’s language, a female gaze. Class will include recent films by women filmmakers such as Chantal Akerman (Belgium), Isabel Coixet (Catalonia), Lucia Puenzo (Argentina), Claire Denis (France), Alankrita Shrivastava (India), Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Turkey), Nadine Labaki (Lebanon), among others.

FILM-ST 397AA Analyzing Almodóvar: Queering the Binary  - (Category: III, V)

(3 credits)

ONLINE
Instructor: Christina Beaubien

Analyzing Almodóvar is a course dedicated to an in-depth analysis of the films of Pedro Almodóvar from both a national and global perspective. Pedro Almodóvar is often lauded as the filmic icon of a "new" Spain that was praised for being more open and inclusive during the Spanish Transition from dictatorship to democracy. His body of work spans decades of political and social change and has been both vehemently praised and critiqued for his controversial material and unique point of view. This course will analyze a selection of his work paired with readings that thematize trends within Almodóvar's corpus. Although this course is content-based, the ultimate goal is to gain a better understanding of theoretical film analysis as seen through the context of both contemporary Spain as well as the intersectional realities of gender and community. By analyzing Almodóvar's films within its temporal context, students will gain valuable references in contemporary Peninsular Studies. Conversely, an out of context analysis will permit more interdisciplinary approaches to the subject matter; helping students to think critically about philosophical and theoretical debates they face in their daily lives. Students will learn to critically analyze film as a medium of cultural production and/or replication as well. Special focus will be given to the following themes: violence, gender, and the male gaze.

FILM-ST 297C: Film Studies: Core Concepts (Category I, V)

(3 credits)

ONLINE
Instructor: Barry Spence

This course is an intensive introduction to film and cinema studies. It includes a primary focus on film style (mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, and sound) and form (both narrative and non-narrative), but will also look at the importance of the interplay between style, form, and the conventions of genre, and will examine such processes as conceptualization and composition, distribution, and exhibition. This course intends to both deepen and broaden student appreciation for and understanding of the medium of film and to consider the power of cinema as art, entertainment, cultural expression, and economic commodity within the global context. We will stream a wide range of movies in order to illustrate the concepts, principles, and theories studied and to practice and hone our analytical and interpretative skills. This course is the principal online introduction to film studies in the Program in Film Studies.