Ioana Uricaru
Office
Axinn Center 204
Tel
(802) 443-5425
Email
iuricaru@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Spring 2024: Monday and Wednesday 11am-12pm and by appointment

Ioana Uricaru, Assistant Professor of Film and Media Culture at Middlebury College, was born in Romania and grew up during the country’s communist dictatorship, experiencing the violent anti-government uprising in 1989 and the equally traumatic transition that followed. She initially studied Biology, graduating with a Master of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Bucharest before she decided to become a filmmaker.

She relocated to Los Angeles in 2001 to study at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, where she received a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production and a Doctorate in Critical Studies.  Her doctoral research focused on the relationship between discourse and experience in cinema, analyzing it through the perspective of the neuroscience of emotion. Her scholarly work on contemporary Romanian cinema has been published in The Velvet Light Trap, Film Quarterly and The Blackwell Companion to Eastern European Cinemas (edited by Aniko Imre), and her film criticism and reviews have been published in several Romanian and international newspapers and journals.

Professor Uricaru is a director and screenwriter whose films have been included in the Official Selections at festivals such as Cannes (2009), Sundance (2011) and AFI (2007). She co-directed the omnibus Tales From the Golden Age (Mobra Films, 2009), distributed commercially in over 30 countries, including the US.

Her first feature as a writer-director, Lemonade (2018), has been developed through the Cinefondation Residency of the Cannes Film Festival and at the Sundance Directors’ lab program. Lemonade premiered in the Official Selection of the Berlinale and went on to be showcased in dozens of international festivals, winning several Best Film awards, the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Director and an Independent Spirit Award nomination.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Screenwriting
In this course we will examine the fundamental elements of dramatic narrative as they relate to visual storytelling. We will emphasize the process of generating original story material and learning the craft of screenwriting, including topics such as story, outline, scene structure, subtext, character objectives, formatting standards, and narrative strategies. Weekly writing assignments will emphasize visual storytelling techniques, tone and atmosphere, character relationships, and dialogue. Students will be required to complete one short screenplay. Required readings will inform and accompany close study of selected screenplays and short films. This class will require some streaming of video material. (FMMC 0101 OR CRWR 0170 or approval of instructor) (Formerly FMMC/ENAM 0106) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2023

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Filmmaking
In this course students will gain a theoretical understanding of the ways moving images and sounds communicate, as well as practical experience creating time-based work. We will study examples of moving images as we use cameras, sound recorders, and non-linear editing software to produce our own series of short works. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the possibilities of the medium through experimentation, analysis, and detailed feedback while exploring different facets of cinematic communication. (FMMC 0101, or FMMC 0102, or approval of instructor) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab

Terms Taught

Fall 2024

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Media Curation and Exhibition
While digital technology has increased accessibility and affordability of media creation, bringing media to the audience is an increasingly difficult challenge. In this course we will survey the current landscape of American independent and international media exhibition and curation, focusing on institutions and practices relevant to students interested in the media industries. Topics of the course include festivals as launching venues; development programs and their importance as curators; competitions, awards and grants that support independent filmmaking; film series and other curated modes of exhibition. About half of the work in the course will consist of hands-on work on the Hirschfield Screening Series, including research, screener viewing, title selection, liaising with distribution companies, organizing screenings and guest visits.

Terms Taught

Fall 2024

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Course Description

Directing Strategies: From Paper to Screen
In this course we will examine the creative processes involved in directing dramatic material for the screen, with emphasis on the specificity of our medium. Through rigorous analysis of existing media, we will understand the dramatic and interpretative choices made by film writers, directors, and editors. Through hands-on exercises, we will develop scene analysis techniques, rehearsal methodologies, and pre-visualization strategies. Students will apply these skills to the directing of dramatic scenes. (Not open to students who have taken FMMC 0320) (FMMC 0101, or FMMC 0105, or FMMC 0106 or approval) 3 hrs. Lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

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Course Description

Aesthetics, Theories and Practice of Film Editing*
The editing of film and television content is often compared to screenwriting – and referred to as a “third writing”. In this 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: The Conversation, Do the right thing, Stories we tell, 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)

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Advanced Filmmaking
In this course students will work in teams to produce several short films, having the opportunity to take turns at fulfilling all the essential crew positions: director, producer, cinematographer, production sound mixer, editor, and sound designer. We will emphasize thorough pre-production planning, scene design, cinematography, working with actors, and post production —including color correction and sound mixing. The critical dialogue established in FMMC 0105 Sight and Sound I will be extended and augmented with readings and screenings of outstanding independently produced work. (FMMC 0105) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Advanced Screenwriting
Building on the skills acquired in Writing for the Screen I, students 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) 3 hrs. sem/3 hrs. screen.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Spring 2024

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Acting and Directing for the Camera
In this advanced workshop we will focus on the relationship between actors and directors in the context of live action media production (film, television, advertising, web series). Students will gain practical knowledge of actor-director engagement and insight into both facets of this process. Students will also analyze produced screenplays, practice actor-director communication, and direct and perform for the camera. All students will take turns fulfilling the roles of director and performer, culminating in recording and editing workshopped scenes. (FMMC 0105 or THEA 0102)

Terms Taught

Spring 2024

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Advanced Independent work in Film and Media Culture
Consult with a Film and Media Culture faculty member for guidelines.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Winter 2025, Spring 2025

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Course Description

Senior Tutorial
All FMMC majors must complete this course in their senior year, during which they undertake the process of devising, researching, and developing the early drafts and materials for an independent project in Film and Media in their choice of medium and format. Students will be poised to produce and complete these projects during Winter Term, via an optional but recommended independent study. Prerequisites for projects in specific formats are outlined on the departmental website.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2023

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Course Description

Senior Projects
Students may enroll in this project-based independent credit to complete the thesis work started in the fall. Requires faculty approval based on satisfactory progress in the Senior Tutorial. Projects will include a public presentation at the end of Winter or beginning of Spring term.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

Senior Independent Work
After completing FMMC 0700, seniors may be approved to complete the project they developed during the previous Fall semester by registering for this independent course during the Winter Term, typically supervised by their faculty member from FMMC 0700. Students will complete an independent project in a choice of medium and format, as outlined on the departmental website. This course does not count toward the required number of credits for majors, but is required to be considered for departmental honors. In exceptional cases, students may petition to complete their projects during Spring semester.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021, Winter 2022, Winter 2023, Winter 2024, Winter 2025

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Course Description

Collaborative Video Projects
In this course students will learn to work collaboratively either as crew members on the senior thesis films produced for FMMC 0701 or on original projects, depending on availability of resources. Students will receive credit for performing in key creative positions, including Producer, Assistant Director, Cinematographer, Art director, Sound Designer, and Editor. In this class students will learn advanced set operations, while workshopping projects from pre-production to main photography to editorial, post-production and the final screening. Students must do significant pre-production before January. (Honors Pass/Fail; Approval required)

Terms Taught

Winter 2024

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

Script Development Workshop
This course is organized in conjunction with the Middlebury Script Lab, a screenwriting residential workshop that brings together emerging screenwriters and established industry professionals. The students will attend screenwriting workshops, masterclasses and informal meetings with visiting writers and producers. Students will explore ideation techniques, finding a story that is appropriate for a feature length script, outlining and pitching. We will discuss dramatic structure in depth and explore the high-concept potential of your screenplay ideas, examining their aesthetic as well as their business possibilities. We will assemble a pitching packet for your projects, including synopsis, logline, mood board and fantasy casting. At the conclusion of this class, you will have a solid outline supported by pitching materials and a clear overview of your material. The class makes an excellent preparation for students who want to take FMMC 0341 Writing for the Screen II or who plan to write a screenplay for their senior tutorial. (FMMC 0106 or instructor approval) 

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

ART, WTR

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