COVID-19: Essential Information

Courses for Spring 2021

Below are the courses being offered for Spring 2021, along with video introductions from the faculty for select courses. For incoming first-year students, spaces are reserved in FMMC 101, 102, 104, and 208; additionally, there are also open spots in FMMC 201 and 255. Contact faculty members for more information.

FMMC 101: Aesthetics of the Moving Image (Prof. Stein)

This fully remote introductory course focuses on the critical analysis of film & media form. Students will become familiar with basic film terminology, and learn to appreciate film and media as art forms considered through formal, cultural, and theoretical perspectives. Asynchronous readings, viewings, lectures, and other assignments will be followed by synchronous small Zoom discussion sessions on Wednesday, with a scheduled group screening on Tuesday evenings. Students will need sufficient internet access to stream films and other assigned media. No prior knowledge of film/media criticism or experience with video production is required.

FMMC 102: Film History (Prof. Keathley)

This in-person course will survey the development of the cinema from 1895 to the mid-1970s. Our study will emphasize film as an evolving art, while bearing in mind the influence of technology, economic institutions, and the political and social contexts in which the films were produced and received. Screenings will include celebrated works from Hollywood and international cinema. All meetings will be synchronous and in-person in Dana Auditorium.

FMMC 104: Television & American Culture (Prof. Mittell)

This introductory course, covering many facets of American television, will be offered either remotely or with one weekly in-person discussion section. Most of the work will be asynchronous: doing readings, watching television programs and recorded lectures, participating in online discussions, and doing some individual and small group exercises. Once per week we’ll meet in synchronous small discussion sections, spread out across time zones on Thursday and Friday - students can either choose remote or in-person sections. The assessed work will be three short essay exams and one optional final essay. Students will need sufficient internet access to stream television programs.

FMMC 105: Sight & Sound 1 (Prof. Ngaiza)

This fully remote introduction to video making is the gateway to the production component at Middlebury. In this course, students will master the basic grammar of cinematic language and the basic techniques of video production, applying them to their own audiovisual projects. Students will develop their own creative voice through a combination of shooting, editing and post-production in a collaborative, online process. The class will be a combination of twice a week synchronous sessions over Zoom where will discuss and brainstorm creative projects, and asynchronous material that students can access through Canvas. All students residing on campus will be provided with the audiovisual equipment needed to complete their projects; students who are studying remotely will be given alternative assignments to adapt to the equipment that they have personally available (such as smartphones).

FMMC 201: Autobiographical Film (Prof. Miranda Hardy)

In this remote course we will study a range of autobiographical practices in audiovisual media to examine how filmmakers have used the self as a starting point to explore universal issues like the search for identity, the representation of trauma, the essence of family bonds, or finding love. The study of film and video journals, experimental self-inscription, domestic ethnographies, vlogging and film essays will inform our own creative processes as we engage critically with these films’ social and political relevance. Through close readings, critical papers, and our own self-inscriptive explorations, we will attempt to better understand the world through the lens of autobiographical film. Note to students: this course involves substantial streaming of films for assigned viewing.

FMMC 208: Contemporary East Asian Cinema (Prof. Dobreva)

In this course we will study the contemporary cinema cultures of East Asia, focusing predominantly on the production of China, Japan, and South Korea in the 21st century. We will examine production, distribution, and (global) consumption in order to understand how these industries fit into or transcend national, regional, and global cinema paradigms. We will consider issues of superstardom and authorship, especially the ways in which prominent auteurs adapt, develop, and (re)invent genres and aesthetic techniques. We will also examine some of the more complex cinematic representations of tradition and modernity, nationalism, race and ethnicity, and gender and sexuality. The broader goal of the course is to think how the region’s film production can be conceptualized in terms of national/regional/global cinema, so we will use a comparative approach by analyzing similarities and unique differences within the main national industries studied. Most material will be read and watched asynchronously, and students will enroll either in an in-person or remote section for Thursday morning.

INTD/FMMC 215: 3D Computer Animation (Prof. Houghton)

3D computer animation has revolutionized animation, graphics, and special effects. In this fully remote course students will explore basic 3D modeling techniques, virtual material and texture creation, digital lighting, rendering, and animation. Every workshop will be hands-on and fully immersed in this rapidly evolving technology. Students will leave with a strong conceptual understanding of the 3D graphics pipeline, a fundamental 3D skill set, options for further study, and an independent final animation project.

FMMC 227: African-American Cinema (Prof. Ngaiza)

In this remote course, we will examine various representations of Blackness in American Cinema, from Oscar Micheaux’s early silent films to Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. While we will primarily focus on films written and/or directed by African-Americans, we will also study the social, cultural, and political impact of Hollywood ideas and images of Black people and how they changed over time. Through a framework of both film theory and critical race theory, students will analyze how Black creative expression has manifested itself through film, influencing both form and content.

FMMC 255: French New Wave (Prof. Keathley)

Beginning in 1959 and continuing through the 1960s, dozens of young French cinephiles, thrilled by Hollywood genre movies and European art films, but disgusted with their own national cinema’s stodgy productions, took up cameras and began making films. This movement, known as La Nouvelle Vague, remains one of the most exciting, inventive periods in cinema history. This in-person course focuses on the major films and directors (Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Alain Resnais) of the period and also gives consideration to the cultural, technological, and economic factors that shaped this movement.

FMMC 301: Editing the Moving Image: Aesthetics, Theories and Practice of Film Editing (Prof. Uricaru)

The editing of film and television content is often compared to screenwriting – and referred to as a “third writing”. In this remote class we will examine the history, aesthetic and theory of film editing, discuss editing techniques and apply them in several take-home exercises. The class focuses on editing’s importance in storytelling and on the strategies that editors use to create tension, relationships, emotion and meaning. We will also explore filmmaking techniques that conceptually relate to editing such as long takes, staging, lighting design, camera movement. Some of the films we will study incude The Conversation, Do the Right Thing, Stories We Tell, and The Nile Hilton Incident. While the class is only marginally touching on technology, access to a computer with certain technical capabilities and to editing software is necessary; if you are on campus, they are provided to you by the department (software also provided remotely). For class screenings, you also need access to an internet connection with video streaming capability. Familiarity with Adobe Premiere editing software recommended. (FMMC 0101 or FMMC 0105 or instructor approval.)

FMMC 332: Filmmaking for Change (Prof. Uricaru)

The art of cinema has the potential to reach audiences not only aesthetically but also at the level of ideas and moral principles. Filmmakers have the power to raise questions, challenge the status quo, mobilize dissent; they can bear witness, hold up a revealing mirror to reality and sometimes catalyze real change in the world. How can cinema perform these tasks while upholding its artistic value and not sliding into propaganda, didacticism or ideological advocacy? In this remote class we will watch and discuss films such as Z (Costa Gavras, 1968), All the Presidents’ Men (Alan J Pakula, 1976), and Dekalog (K. Kieslowski 1989). Each student will write a short screenplay with a theme about which they want to raise consciousness and stir debate. Note to students: this course involves substantial streaming of films for assigned viewing. (FMMC 101, or FMMC 0106, or instructor approval)

FMMC 334: Videographic Film and Media Studies (Prof. Mittell)

Digital video technologies—such as DVDs, digital editing software, and online streaming—now enable film and media scholars to “write” with the same materials that constitute their object of study: moving images and sounds. But such a change means rethinking the rhetorical modes traditionally used in scholarly writing, and incorporating more aesthetic and poetic elements alongside explanation and analysis. In this hands-on in-person course, we will both study and produce new videographic forms of criticism often known as “video essays,” exploring how such work can both produce knowledge and create an aesthetic impact. (FMMC 0101 or FMMC 0105 or by approval)

FMMC 341: Writing for the Screen 2 (Prof. Miranda Hardy)

Building on the skills acquired in Writing for the Screen I, students in this remote course will complete the first drafts of their feature-length screenplay, or TV pilot and Bible. Class discussion will focus on feature screenplay structure and theme development using feature films and screenplays. Each participant in the class will practice pitching, writing coverage, and outlining, culminating in a draft of a feature length script or TV pilot and Bible. (FMMC 0106)

FMMC 358: Theories of Spectatorship (Prof. Stein)

In this fully remote course we will explore the dynamics of spectatorship, audience engagement, and fan communities, from Hitchcock to anime, from The Beatles to BLACKPINK, from Star Trek to The Untamed. How do we engage with media texts? Is our experience of media today radically different from the early years of cinema? What does it mean to be a fan? Have our notions of fandom changed over time? How do race, gender, class, and cultural context inform media engagement? We will consider key theoretical approaches and interrogate our own position as spectators, consumers, and fans in media culture.  The class will combine weekly synchronous zoom sessions, periodic small-group online collaboration, and asynchronous engagement with readings and screenings. Assessed work for this class includes ongoing participation in weekly asynchronous video conversations, two short (1 page) papers, and one longer (12 page) concluding essay based on primary research. Students will participate in evaluation of their own work through self-assessment. Students will need to regularly stream video for this course. 

FMMC 507: Independent Project

All Film & Media Culture faculty are willing to supervise independent projects that work well with the remote format and build on work, skills, or interests previously explored in courses. Contact individual faculty members for more guidance, or chair Jason Mittell for general parameters.

Department of Film and Media Culture

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
Fax: 802.443.2805