Film and Media Studies

Sarah Friedland's documentary class works on their films in the Main Hall lab.

The Film and Media Studies Major introduces students to the artistic and academic approach to films and new forms of media, while exposing them to the film and related industries in New York City. Courses provide students with the opportunity to make their own films, to analyze films from aesthetic, political, social and historical perspectives, and to use their media skills in the context of civic engagement and community work. Designed to be interdisciplinary in nature, the major emphasizes the following:

  1. intellectual engagement with a variety of disciplines as they intersect with film and media studies
  2. the nature of film as a process and product of professionals that are dedicated to global and ethical concerns of today’s communities
  3. training of graduates who are ready to pursue film and media oriented careers
  4. educating students to critically understand and actively engage with the ethical concerns and obligations of filmmakers in contemporary global contexts

Program Requirements

Core & Senior Learning Community Requirements (7 units)

Core Requirements (5 units) — introduction to the craft, criticism, history, and business of film and media studies.

  • FM 201 Intro to Film Studies or EN 230 Introduction to Film
  • AA 460 The Film Business or Special Topics class in Film Business if offered
  • FM 210 Introduction to Video Production and Filmmaking
  • FM 222 Documentary Filmmaking (D)
  • FM 2XX Introduction Media Studies

Senior Learning Community Requirements (2 units) — the culmination of the major, including an advanced course on film and media theory and an internship in the film industry, a creative project, or a substantial research project.

  • FM400: Reflective Tutorial: Senior Project in Film, Media or Related Industry
  • FM490: Capstone Course: Advanced Film and Media Criticism and Theory
Civically Engaged Media Concentration (5 units)

This track is for students focused on the production and creation of films, as well as other media (TV, radio, internet, etc) in the context of civic engagement, social justice and activism. Students will learn hands on skills, as well as media theory and ethics.

Choose 5 courses with the following distribution.

3 units as follows:

  • FM 221 Video Editing
  • FM2XX Cinematography
  • JR 261 Introduction to Journalism

2 units of the following:

  • FM2XX Radio Production
  • AR 130 Digital Photography or AR 114 Photography 1
  • AR 203 Advertising Art: Computer Design
  • AR 221/AH221/HI240 Museum and Gallery Studies
  • AR240 TC Multimedia Production and Storytelling
  • JR 373 Ethics in Journalism (or any other single 300-level Journalism course)
  • CS 132 Object Oriented Software Development for the World Wide Web
  • GO 236 Politics in Literature and Film
  • AN 325 Culture, Power and Place
  • AN 201 Comparative Cultures (I)
  • PS 249 Psychology of Media
  • SO 257 The Sociology of Television
  • SO 101 Principles of Sociology
  • SO 103 American Society
  • any upper level modern language class not taught in translation
Film Making/Digital Arts Concentration (5 units)

This track is for students focused on the production and creation of film and television.

3 units as follows:

  • FM 221 Video Editing
  • FM 2XX Cinematography
  • FM 3XX Screenplay writing

2 units of the following:

  • AR 291 Basic Animation
  • AR 130 Digital Photography or AR 114 Photography 1
  • AR 203 Advertising Art I: Computer Design
  • AR 303 Advertising Art II: Computer Design
  • AR 224 Graphic Illustration
  • AH 491 Contemporary Art
  • TH 103 Script Analysis
  • TH 106 Introduction to Acting
  • TH 228 History of Costume and Fashion
  • TH 255 Acting for the Camera
  • TH 240 Stage Makeup
  • AA 475 Entertainment Business Law
Film Studies and Media Criticism Concentration (5 units)

This track is humanities-based, and focuses on the theory and criticism of film.

Choose 5 courses with the following distribution.

2 units of the following:

  • TH 218 History of American Film
  • HI 322 History of Minorities in the Media
  • EN 3XX Topics in World Cultures and Cinemas

3 units of the following; at least one must be a foreign language film class:

  • EN 356/FR 356 French Cinema: Retrogrades, Rebels, and Realists (I) (W) (In translation)
  • EN 323 Aliens, Cyborgs, and Time Travel in Literature and Film (W)
  • EN 357/IT 367 Italian Cinema (I) (W)
  • EN 226 American Cultures and Literatures (W)(D)
  • SP 314 Topics in Hispanic Cinema (I) (In Spanish)
  • SP 230 Intimate Stories: The Short Film Genre (I)
  • FM 291:  Screening Films of Spain and Latin America
  • IT 357 Italian Cinema (I)
  • FR 356 (I) French Cinema: Retrogrades, Rebels, and Realists
  • HI 286 On the Screen: Gender, Class, and Culture in Film (I)
  • GO 236 Politics in Literature and Film
  • GO 2XX Feminist Film
  • PS 249 Psychology of Media
  • MU 1XX Music in Film

Please Note- Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this major, new classes housed in other departments are added frequently in all concentrations. If you think something should be included on the list and is not we may be able to sub it in.

Film and Media Studies Minor (5 units)

The interdisciplinary minor in film and media studies will encourage students to become media literate and will foster creative engagement with the world. It will accomplish this goal by advancing awareness of media’s effect on perceptions of critical social issues and by fostering both creative and practical skills of production and management. Courses in the minor address: film form and aesthetics; the history and politics of cinema, television, radio, and the internet; the business of film and media; multimedia production; and graphic computer arts.

Core Requirements – 2 units

  • FM201 Introduction to Film Studies or FM2XX Intro to Media Studies or EN230 Intro to Film
  • FM 210 Introduction to Video Production and Filmmaking or FM 222 Documentary Film Making (D)

Elective Requirements – 3 units

Choose three of the following courses. The director of the film major and minor will approve courses (such as special topics 291 courses) that are not listed below on a semester-by-semester basis.

  • FM201 Introduction to Film Studies or EN230 Intro to Film
  • FM 210 Introduction to Video Production and Filmmaking
  • FM 221 Video Editing
  • FM 222 Documentary Filmmaking
  • FM 2XX Cinematography
  • FM 2XX Radio Production
  • AR 130 Digital Photography or AR 114 Photography 1
  • AR 203 Advertising Art I: Computer Design or AR 303 Advertising Art II: Computer Design
  • AR 240 Multimedia Production and Storytelling
  • AA 460 The Film Business
  • EN 3XX (I) Topics in World Cultures and Cinemas
  • EN 323 Aliens, Cyborgs, and Time Travel in Literature and Film (W)
  • FM 2XX Introduction to Media Studies
  • FM 3XX Screenwriting
  • IT 357 Italian Cinema (I)
  • FR 356 (I) French Cinema: Retrogrades, Rebels, and Realists
  • SP 230 (I) Intimate Stories: the Short Film Genre
  • SP 314 (I) Topics in Hispanic Cinema
  • FM 291: Screening Films of Spain and Latin America.
  • GO 236 Politics in Literature and Film
  • GO 2XX Feminist Film
  • HI 286 On the Screen: Gender, Class, and Culture in Film
  • HI 322 The History of Minorities in the Media
  • JR 3XX – any one 300-level journalism course (but only one can be applied to the minor)
  • MU 1XX Music in Film
  • PS 249 Psychology of Media
  • SO 257 The Sociology of Television
  • TH 218 History of American Film
  • TH 255 Acting for the Camera

Course Descriptions

FM201 Introduction to Film Studies

This course instructs students in the terminology of film analysis, including a breakdown of film style– genre, mise-en-scène cinematography, sound, and editing. Students will analyze films from a variety of periods and countries, and will apply this understanding through creative projects, analytical essays and journalistic writing. This course will focus on the artistry and history of the medium, as well as the social and political concepts that are illuminated by a thorough analysis of a film.

FM210 Introduction to Video Production and Filmmaking

This class will introduce students to the fundamentals of filmmaking– pre-production, script writing, directing, cinematography, sound recording, editing and distribution. Through the creation of their own films and through the careful analysis of the work of experienced filmmakers, students will explore a variety of stylistic approaches including documentary, experimental, and narrative filmmaking, with an emphasis on low budget, independent digital video production. Written and creative assignments will emphasize presentation and execution of ideas, professionalism, and collaboration.  

FM 221 Video Editing

The great film editor Robert Murch says, “Every film is a puzzle really, from an editorial point of view.” Students will walk away from this class with a hands on under- standing of the great cerebral, organizational, and creative work that go into editing a film. We will also study the technological history of moving image editing– from Moviola, to tape to tape, to digital video editing and everything in between. Students will work with found footage and their own media to edit in varying styles, including documentary, narrative, and experimental.  

FM 222 Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of documentary production. Through the frameworks of documentary history and ethics, students will learn about style and process in non-fiction film and apply this knowledge to their own documentary production work. Central to this course is a close observation and under- standing of the world around us– from the microcosm of Wagner College to the Metropolis of New York City. Students will learn how to be respectful and acute observers in order to focus their lenses on the immediate and personal stories surrounding them.

FM 490 Capstone Course: Film Theory

This course provides a critical, historical, and global survey of the major questions, concepts, and trends in film theory. We will examine how the study of film has been influenced by various social, cultural, political, ethical, and economic theories and how our identities help to shape and are shaped by the moving image. Possible areas of exploration include: authorship, class, gender, psychoanalysis, race, realism and spectatorship. This course will also look ahead towards future trends of media making, interaction, and analysis. Senior standing is required. Co-requisite FM400

FM400 Senior Reflective Tutorial

This course offers the senior major the opportunity to embark on a field-based project aligned with their particular concentration. The project will be decided upon in conjunction with their advisor, and might take the form of an internship with a film or media-based firm, an independent production project, and/or an in-depth research project. In addition to spending a minimum of 100 hours on independent work for the project, the student will be responsible for meeting with their advisor on a weekly basis, completing a series of multimedia journal entries documenting their work, and composing a final paper linking their project experience with the theoretical/academic background gained over the course of their studies within their particular concentration and capstone courses. Senior standing is required. Co-requisite FM490.

Special Topics: Film and Media Studies Radio Production (Spring 2016)

This course will provide students with an introduction to radio production. It will cover various forms of radio including radio documentaries, PSAs, stingers, bumpers, imagers, drops, & vox pops, etc. Students will advance their skills in interviewing, audio storytelling strategies, microphones, audio editing, radio business, and funding strategies. Through the creation of their own radio material, students will gain practical and analytical skills and will be evaluated on participation, written work and creative projects.

Special Topics: Media Studies (Spring 2016)

This course introduces students to the history and analysis of different forms of media including, radio, television, video games and the Internet. Students will gain an understanding of why media is so pervasive in society and how to properly read and decode it. They will also analyze the artistry and technique of media production –– from radio plays of the 1920s to present day interactive media art.

Special Topics: Screenplay Writing (Spring 2016)

This course will introduce students to film and television screenplay structure. Students will analyze the work of accomplished screenwriters in different genres (comedy, drama, horror, adaptation etc) and will learn to apply this analysis to their own screenplay writing. They will learn about character construction, narrative arch, story telling strategies, and proper screenwriting form.

Special Topics: Cinematography (Fall 2016)

“Making a film requires a lot more than just following a certain storyline, the words on the page and how the actors say their lines. A lot of it has to do with the visual nuances and the environment that’s created in the film.” Ellen Kuras, (Cinematographer). In this class students will learn how to use cinematography to further their skills as storytellers. They will be introduced to advanced concepts in video lighting, lenses, multiple camera shoots and camera movement. Through the creation of their own cinemagraphic projects, students will better understand the role of the cinematographer on Fiction and Non-Fiction sets.