The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Academics

Online Courses

SUMMER 2022
SPRING 2022
FALL 2022
ACADEMIC CALENDAR


SUMMER 2022

SESSION 1 (May 19-July 1)

FILM-ST 170 – Intro/FilmAnalysis:TimeTravel

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: N/A

FILM-ST 360 – Music, Culture, Moving Image

Instructor: Kevin Anderson
Credits: 4

This course explores the relationship between music and the moving image across multiple forms of media, including Film and Television, Documentaries, Music Videos, Video Games, Commercials, Broadcasts (e.g. news, sports), and Social Media (e.g. TikTok). The scope of the material studied includes examples from multiple cultures and points in the history of the moving image, paying particular attention to hybrid and cross-cultural blends of image and music, and the ways in which this marriage of image and sound service cultural and emotional meanings.

Students will be exposed to a wide variety of international, cultural, and historic pairings of music with moving images, and will emerge from the course with a thorough foundation in the following: how and why music pairs with the moving image; how and why the relationship between music and images has varied across time and culture; and the ways in which psychological states, cultural-historical markers, and emotional appeal are targeted through the pairing of sonic and visual stimuli. (Gen. Ed. SB, DU)

UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: II, V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: E

FILM-ST 397GW – Grant Writing for Filmmakers

Instructor: Anthony Collins
Credits: 3

Fundamental practices of proposal development and grant writing; applicable to all professions. Hands-on activities as grantee and grantor. Emphasis on post-graduation grant writing. Includes working with a fiscal agent. Successful grant writing entails having a vision you can articulate; strong critical thinking and writing skills; an unwavering attention to details; motivation and perseverance; and an understanding of the philanthropic and proposal process. Students have the opportunity to develop their skills and ideas through experiential activities, in-class workshops, and assignments that mirror professional world activities. Emphasis is on project-based proposals and post-graduation funding needs. Students experience both sides of the requesting and giving process to strengthen one's ability to write competitive proposals.

UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: E

FILM-ST 397J – Film Production

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 STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: E

SESSION 2 (July 11 to August 19)

FILM-ST 284 – The Undead Souths

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 STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: N/A

FILM-ST 353 – African Film

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 CATEGORY: N, E

FILM-ST 387 – The Western in Transnational Cinema

Instructor: Barry Spence
Credits: 4

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. (Gen. Ed. AT, DG)

UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: III, V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: D&G, E

FILM-ST 397WR – Writers Room Workshop

Instructor: Tom Benedek
Credits: 3

Through lectures, script readings and Zoom discussions with visiting TV professionals, class members will acquire understanding of pilot script story structure, character development and future episode/season/series necessities. They will develop and workshop their own original TV/Streaming series project outlines/pilot scripts and participate in group writing process as generally practiced in TV/Streaming series production. Breaking out into Writers Rooms, class members will collaborate in small groups - brainstorming episodes for the ongoing student created series, Tech Show.

UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: E

 


FALL 2022

FILM-ST 397WR – Writers Room Workshop
Instructor: Tom Benedek
Credits: 3

Through lectures, script readings and Zoom discussions with visiting TV professionals, class members will acquire understanding of pilot script story structure, character development and future episode/season/series necessities. They will develop and workshop their own original TV/Streaming series project outlines/pilot scripts and participate in group writing process as generally practiced in TV/Streaming series production. Breaking out into Writers Rooms, class members will collaborate in small groups - brainstorming episodes for the ongoing student created series, Tech Show.

UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: E

MORE FALL CLASSES TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON


SPRING 2022

 

FILM-ST 397Q – Production Sketchbook (ONLINE)

Patricia Montoya
Cap 15, Credits: 3

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.

UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR IN BDIC CATEGORY: E

FILM-ST- 497D Arthouse Cinema (ONLINE)

Barry Spence
Cap 15, Credits: 3

PREREQUISITES: For this advanced film course, students must have taken: an introduction to film course as well as at least two film courses at the 300 level or higher. If you have questions, contact the professor: bspence@umass.edu

UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: II, IV, V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR IN BDIC CATEGORY: H2, E

FILM-ST 497K – Short Documentary Filmmaking(ONLINE)

David Casals Roma
Cap 20, Credits: 3

UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: IV, V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR IN BDIC CATEGORY: D&G, E


Online Course Catalogue

These are courses we regularly offer online but please note that we do not offer all of them every term. Please check above to see their recurrence

 

FILM-ST 284 – The Undead Souths

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 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 STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: N/A

FILM-ST 297C - Introduction to Cinema Studies

Instructor: Barry Spence
Credits: 3

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 297G - TV Screenwriting: The Pilot Episode

Instructor: Tom Benedek
Credits: Credits: 3

 

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 Gen.Ed. AT, DG

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 issubject 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 CATEGORY: N, E

FILM-ST 397 - Making Short Films

Instructor: David Casals-Roma
Credits: 3

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. (Category: V)

FILM-ST 397SW Screenwriting – Short Films, Web Series

Instructor: Tom Benedek
Credits: 3

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

Instructor: Kevin Anderson
Credits: 3

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

Instructor: Daniel Pope
Credits: 3

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. (Category: III, V)

FILM-ST 387 – The Western in Transnational Cinema

Instructor: Barry Spence
Credits: 4

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. (Gen. Ed. AT, DG)

UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: III, V
FILM STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: D&G, E

FILM-ST 497A - Alien Encounters

Credits: 3
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.(Category: III IV V)

FILM-ST 497W - Women's Cinema

Credits: 3
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.) (Category: II, IV, V)

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

Credits: 3
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. (Category: II, V)

FILM- ST 397SW Screenwriting – Short Films, Web Series

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. (Category: V)

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 497L Fellini - The Liar

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

Instructor: David Casals-Roma
Credits: 3

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) (Category: V)

FILM-ST 297S - Screenwriting - Idea to Outline

Instructor: Tom Benedek
Credits: 3

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. (Category: V)

FILM-ST 397J - Film Production: How the craft works

Instructor: Nefeli Forni
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 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)

Instructor: Barry Spence
Credits: 3

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

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. (FILM CERTIFICATE CATEGORY V)

FILM ST 497G– Screenwriting – TV – Writing The Original Pilot - (ONLINE)

Credits: 3
Instructor: Tom Benedek


Screenwriting

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)

 

FILM-ST 470 - Film Theory (MULTIMODAL)

Credits: 4
Instructor: Barry Spence


Filmmaking

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.

MULTIMODAL (students can choose to take this class either ON CAMPUS or ONLINE)

FILM-ST 397PT: Psycho Thrillers (ONLINE)

Credits: 3
Instructor: Daniel Pope

HitchcockThrillers 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 Studies Certificate Category: III, V)

FILM-ST 497M - Advanced Filmmaking (ONLINE)

Credits: 3
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. (Category: IV, V)

FILM-ST 397L - Cinema of David Lynch (ONLINE)

Credits: 3
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. (Category: III, V)

FILM-ST 387: The Western in Transnational Cinema (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. (Category: III, V) (GenEd: DG and AT)

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

Credits: 3
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. (Category: V)

FILM-ST 497W - Women's Cinema

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 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 397Q Production Sketchbook

Instructor: Patricia Montoya
Credits 3

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

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 497J - Interview Practices

Instructor: Patricia Montoya
Credits 3

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

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

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 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