Film and Media Courses

Students and professor editing a video together.

Fall Courses

FMST-100: Gateway to Film and Media Studies (Benson-Allott)

In our Gateway to the program, students encounter film theory and media history. You will learn the basics of what it means to be a Film and Media scholar and how Film and Media has shaped our society across history. Readings and screenings will complement creative assignments in ARTS 181 (Intro to Filmmaking) while written work will given students a chance to reflect on their experience as readers and spectators.

FMST-181: Introduction to Filmmaking (Bruno)

Intro to Filmmaking is designed to develop both technical and artistic skills using Mac computers as a creative tool to create short movies. In every class you will be introduced to new ideas and technical issues. These ideas will be developed in assignments and class critiques.

FMST-400: Capstone in Film and Media Studies (Sitney)

In the Capstone course, senior FMST students will engage with key ideas and texts in Film and Media Studies through close critical reading and creative theorizing.  Together, we will revisit aspects of your learning in the Gateway course and Introduction to Filmmaking, retracing your intellectual genealogies, identifying and returning to questions and approaches that have been important to you.  You will develop signature, culminating projects in workshop formats, regularly pitching ideas, providing and receiving feedback, and refining and developing your ideas.  By the end of the fall term, you will have engaged important critical questions in Film and Media Studies, connected questions and learning from your FMST curriculum, developed proposals for final projects, and planned effectively to carry out your capstone work in the spring 2016 semester.  Your learning in FMST-400 will continue in FMST-401 in the spring and will conclude with your final presentation of and reflection on your capstone work.


Spring Courses

FMST-205: Keywords in Media Studies (Perlow)

This course introduces students to media studies by exploring the debates that have developed around a few keywords in the field. Starting with the word “media” itself, the major terms in media studies inform the structure of the discipline and the shape of inquiries within it. What assumptions about the nature and functions of electronic media are encoded within the terms we use to discuss them? What do the keywords in media studies teach us about the core methods and guiding concerns in this area of study? Each unit of this course examines a particular keyword in media studies—asking, for example, what we mean when we call something “virtual,” how an “interface” constrains our actions, and why we call computers “digital.” We will look at examples ranging from the gramophone to the MP3, from the earliest moving-image technologies to the latest virtual-reality platforms, from papyrus to smartphones. Alongside these, we will read foundational texts in media theory and explore a range of methods to discuss the political, historical, and philosophical dimensions of media technologies.

FMST-231: Intro to Global Cinema (Sitney)

This course will examine the history and theory of global cinema since the Second World War, through the rise of the European art cinema movement of the 1960s and ’70s. It will encompass the growth of Asian cinemas, the consequences of digital filmmaking, and conclude with the more recent transnational blockbusters of today. It will survey major cinematic movements, and their responses to the social, political, economic, technological, and cultural conditions and values that precipitated them. All of the major genres will be represented: comedy, drama, documentary, and experimental film.

FMST-281: Intermediate Filmmaking (Bruno)

In this course, students will continue to work on the fundamentals of filmmaking with an emphasis on directing and screenwriting in the short, fiction format. Some of the goals of the course will be to further develop general production skills and hone students’ critical eye towards film narrative. Classes include workshops and lectures along with screenings and discussions of seminal film works. Students will create short film projects from idea to end product through individual and collaborative exercises and critique of their works-in-progress.

FMST-398: Gaming & Justice (Phillips)

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the fundamentals of game design through the lens of control systems and strategies of resistance to the often problematic content and practices of the video game industry. The course is part seminar, part workshop that will give students an introduction to the rhetorical devices of video games and virtual spaces and experience in manipulating those devices to create a prototype for a digital game or other interactive experience. Approximately half of the class meetings will engage students in traditional seminar-style lecture and discussion format, with the other half dedicated to guiding student groups in building theoretically-informed projects that will make a persuasive argument about or intervention on a social justice issue of their choice. This will give students experience in connecting theory with praxis, creating collaborative scholarship, working in new modes of literacy, and extending the uses of technology beyond those for which they were originally intended.

FMST-399: Social Justice Documentary (Cook)

Students in Social Justice Documentary will work in small teams to produce short documentary videos about social justice issues as related to the work of Washington, DC-based Community Organizations.  At the end of the course students should be able to define, summarize, and interpret documentary theories; have a working knowledge of pre-production, production, and post-production processes that are part of making a documentary video; and be able to formulate and demonstrate ways through which documentary video can be used to meet social justice ends. In addition, students will have gained experience in working as members of video production team—as successful video production heavily depends on cooperation, collaboration, and respect among team members.  This is a 4-credit course and will require substantial time outside of scheduled class meetings. This course will include hands-on workshops on camera, lighting, sound, and editing scheduled in additional to regular course meetings. 

FMST-401: Film and Media Studies Capstone II (Sitney)

The Capstone is an opportunity for students to explore their own interests in the field of Film and Media Studies. In FMST 401: Film and Media Studies Capstone, students work individually or on groups to actualize their research. The topic and format of the capstone is chosen by the student in FMST 400: Capstone Preparation. Projects may take a number of forms (a scholarly essay, a documentary short, an experimental short, a screenplay, audio documentary, or short narrative film, e.t.c.). All projects must be critically engaging and clearly contextualized in the field of Film and Media Studies. Students who undertake a time-based media project must work in a group (of their choosing) no smaller than 2 and no bigger than 4 members. Students who chose to produce written capstones may work individually. Students may choose any topic and form within the field of Film and Media Studies provided that the student has previous experience with the research area and methodology, for example, someone who has not taken any documentary classes may not make a documentary.


Summer Courses

FMST-246: Experimental Filmmaking (Bruno)

Experimental film is a mode of filmmaking that re-evaluates cinematic conventions and explores non-narrative forms and alternatives to traditional narratives. Through screenings of seminal films, discussions and hands-on production, students will create projects that utilize the formal qualities of the medium and invent new and unusual methods of expression. No previous film experience necessary.