FAMS Courses Fall 2020 

FAMS 101: Introduction to Film & Media Studies
This is a foundational course that introduces students to basic concepts, theories and methods that are central to film and media studies. We will study the histories and genres of cinema and formal techniques such as lighting, editing and sound to develop a critical understanding of film as a dominant mode of representation. We will also study other forms of electronic media to gain a better understanding of the perspectives and practices of emerging technologies and forms of distribution. Through required weekly screenings, readings, writing and regular discussion, we will analyze these various kinds of screen medias as they influence our world. No prerequisites. FAMS F & CCS HUM. Katherine Groo – TR 11:00-12:15 PM class & M 7:00-9:50 PM lab, Landis Cinema.

FAMS 102: Integrated Practice I
This course introduces students to the creative, theoretical, and practical aspects of media production and is designed to provide a foundational understanding of audio-visual storytelling. Students will learn the technical fundamentals of composition, lighting, audio recording, digital video cameras, and non-linear editing. The class will be grounded in deep discussions of ethical media-making and responsible practices that move between past, present, and future. FAMS F & P. Prerequisite FAMS 101 or permission. Drew Swedberg – TR 1:10-4:00 PM, Media 1-248 N. 3rd St.

FAMS 120: Filmmakers-Alfred Hitchcock
This introductory course examines the work of Alfred Hitchcock, one of cinema’s most recognizable and impactful filmmakers. Known as the “Master of Suspense,” Hitchcock was fascinated by sex, deviance, crime, obsession, power, terror, mystery, and the macabre. His career, spanning from the silent era to the 1970s, offers numerous unforgettable films and a fascinating way to study evolutions of film form, film history, and film theory. The titles are legend: Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, North By Northwest, The Birds, Notorious, Strangers on a Train, Shadow of a Doubt, The Lady Vanishes. In addition to studying both famous and lesser-known films, we will examine Hitchcock’s forays onto other platforms, particularly television and radio. We will adopt useful cultural and theoretical frameworks through which to read Hitchcock’s body of work, and we will practice reading film and media closely, as complex, sometimes contradictory, and always supremely manipulative art forms. FAMS H & CCS HUM. No Prerequisite. Andy Smith MW 9:00-11:45 AM, Landis Cinema.

FAMS 202: Integrated Practice II
In this hands-on production course, students create stop motion animations, digital cutout animations, and green-screen composite videos using Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Photoshop, DSLR cameras, the TV studio, the audio booth, and the computer lab. FAMS P. Prerequisite FAMS 102 or permission. Adam MacHose – MW 1:10-4:00 PM, Media 1-248 N. 3rd St.

FAMS 220: Film Theory
What makes film a distinct art form? Often described as the “seventh art”, cinema is unique and interdisciplinary in nature. The study of film theory gives us deeper insight into film as a language and social practice, allowing one to explore cinema’s relationship to historical, aesthetic, social, political and technological influences. We will study some of the debates in classical film theory, auteurism, psychoanalysis, feminist film theory, queer theory, postmodernism and post colonialism as they apply to issues of perception, the spectator, representation, adaptation and realism. FAMS T & CCS W/GM1. Prerequisite: FAMS 101 or permission. Katherine Groo – TR 2:45-4:00 PM, Media 2-248 N. 3rd St.

FAMS/ENG 252: Writing for Television
In this class, we will be exploring the craft of writing for television. We will practice how to develop a premise and populate the world of a TV show with intriguing characters and dramatic conflicts. We will discuss scene design, the structure of both half-hour comedic and hour-long dramatic episodes, series-long story arcs, and how to write compressed but believable dialogue. We will develop a critical vocabulary for analyzing TV shows as writers, and will also examine the shifting landscape of the industry as it relates to cable and internet distribution. Writing assignments will build from short loglines to developed scripts. Particular emphasis will be placed on drafting and revision. CCS W. Mikael Awake – W 1:10-4:00, WCA 128.

FAMS 260: Film Genres
This critical film studies course is a tour through several influential genres and an introduction to approaching media via genre theory. Focusing on four (perhaps five) important film genres—Horror Film, the Western, Film Noir, the Melodrama, Screwball Comedy— we will look closely at the films’ stylistic elements, cultural impact, and role in media history. We will make mini-case studies of each genre, examining archetypal examples, revisionist versions, global variations, and manifestations on television and streaming platforms. Questions considered will include how genres are established, stretched, and subverted, the political or social uses of certain genres, how spectatorship and ideology work within specific subgenres, and how the cultural work of genres changes with the times. FAMS H & CCS HUM. Prerequisites: FAMS 101. Andy Smith – TR 9:00-11:45 AM, Media 2-248 N. 3rd St.

FAMS 270: National & Transnational Cinema—Post-War German Cinema
Film has a unique relationship to trauma, offering critical ways of perceiving, presenting, and giving testimony to painful and unacknowledged experiences. This course explores the histories of trauma and testimony in German cinema from post-war rubble films and New German Cinema to contemporary productions by Fatih Akin and Maren Ade. Through critical analysis, weekly screenings, and creative projects, we examine topics such as Holocaust representation, the Berlin Wall, gender discrimination, and the European migrant crisis. FAMS H & CCS HUM/GM1/GM2. Prerequisite FAMS 101 or permission. Dennis Johannssen MW 11:00-12:15 PM class, Media 2-248 N. 3rd St., & W 7:00-9:50 PM lab, Landis Cinema.

FAMS/PHIL 345: Philosophy of Film
This course is an examination of fundamental questions on the nature, interpretation, experience, and evaluation of film. Special attention will be paid to film’s essential nature, and to how such nature affects how films engage the viewer, hence perhaps how they should be evaluated. Topics will include: the distinctive nature of the moving image compared to other forms of representation; cinema as an art form; film authorship; colorization; the nature of film horror; and the relationship between film and ethics. FAMS T & CCS HUM/ GM2/V/W. Alessandro Giovannelli – TR 1:15-2:30, Pardee 321

FAMS 362: American Cinema of the 1970s
Called a “Decade Under the Influence,” and the “Last Golden Era of American Film,” the 1970s were a wrenching cultural pivot point and an astonishingly rich extended moment in the history of American Cinema. From Vietnam to Watergate, from disco to gas lines to Americans held hostage, from women’s liberation to the beginnings of pay per view and video games, it was a decade of trauma and change. In Hollywood, the long-established order of the studio system collapsed, independent artists were suddenly tolerated and even enabled, and, by decade’s end, corporate-controlled franchises and blockbuster expectations had become the new normal. We will examine memorable American films from the late sixties through the late seventies, and the cultural contexts from which they emerged. Through regular readings, screenings, writings, and discussions, students will learn to treat films as complex texts and interpret cinema as a potent cultural force. FAMS H & CCS HUM/W. Prerequisite: FAMS 101. Andy Smith MW 1:15-4:00 PM, Landis Cinema

FAMS 420: Capstone
This required course for FAMS majors is a chance for students to synthesize their course of study into one major individual project. The capstone is a workshop-based experience where students design and complete either a critical or creative (or some combination of the two) media project that results in a public presentation of their most advanced work as FAMS majors. CCS W. Open to senior FAMS majors only. Nandini Sikand-Two sections offered: (section 1) M 1:10-4:00 PM & (section 2) W 1:10-4:00 PM, Media 2-248 N. 3rd St.