Film and Media Studies

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

The Film and Media (FAM) Studies program introduces students to artistic and academic approaches to films and new media, while exposing them to filmmaking and related industries in New York City and further afield. Courses provide students with the opportunity to make their own films, analyze films from aesthetic, political, social and historical perspectives, and employ their media skills in the contexts of industry,  creative production and civic engagement. Designed to be interdisciplinary in nature, the FAM program emphasizes the following:

  1. intellectual engagement with film and media studies in intersection with a variety of other disciplines
  2. the nature of film as an artistic and creative process pursued by trained professionals
  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 diverse concerns and obligations of filmmakers in contemporary local and global contexts

Location, Facilities and Equipment

The Film and Media Studies program is housed on the top floor of the college’s historic centerpiece Main Hall in two recently-renovated classrooms, a separate editing suite, and equipment room. Students edit their films on 17 dedicated iMac workstations using professional grade software (Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and DaVinci Resolve). They also have access to professional high definition (HD) and 4K digital video cameras, an array of sound recorders and microphones, production equipment including gimbals, shoulder mounts, follow focus, dollies, lighting kits, and more specialized gear such as GoPro and drone cameras. Equipment is regularly updated, and students have access to both the equipment room and editing suites on a daily basis during the week, and, in the case of the editing stations, over the weekend during the semester.

Screenings and Events

The FAM program supports three annual screening events in addition to an irregular screening series, which recently featured renowned film theorist and critic Annette Insdorf. In the fall, the FAM program co-sponsors the Wagner International Film Festival (WIFF) with the Department of Modern Languages. The WIFF’s most recent edition featured acclaimed recent films from France, Argentina, Thailand and Brazil, with filmmakers Matías Piñeiro (“Viola”) and Anocha Suwichakornpong (“By the Time it Gets Dark”) appearing in person to discuss their work with students and Fellipe Barbosa (“Gabriel and the Mountain”) participating via Skype. In the spring, the Wagner College Film Society sponsors a student-run film festival, and the FAM program hosts the annual Senior Showcase, where graduating majors screen their work (or present written theses) and participate in Q&As in front of friends, colleagues, family and community members. Additionally, introductory level classes in fiction and documentary filmmaking regularly culminate in joint end-of-semester screenings that are open to the Wagner community.

Program Requirements

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

  • FM 201 Introduction to Film Studies (or EN 230 Introduction to Film)
  • FM 291 Navigating the Film Industry (or AA 460 The Film Business)
  • FM 210 Introduction to Narrative Filmmaking
  • FM 222 Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking
  • FM 223 Introduction to Media Studies

Senior Learning Community Requirements (2 units) — the culmination of the major, including an advanced course on film and media criticism theory, history and criticism; 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

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 documentary filmmaking and civic engagement (including 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
  • FM224 Cinematography
  • JR 261 Introduction to Journalism

2 units of the following:

  • FM291 New Modes in Documentary Film (including travel component to film festival)
  • FM291 History, Ethics and Aesthetics of Non-fiction Film
  • FM291 Cuban Cinema and Literature (including abroad component in Cuba)
  • FM291 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

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

3 units as follows:

  • FM 221 Video Editing
  • FM 224 Cinematography
  • FM 322 Screenwriting I

2 units of the following:

  • FM 291 Screenwriting 2
  • FM 291 Narrative Filmmaking Workshop
  • 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

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 331 Topics in World Cultures and Cinemas

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

  • FM 291 Hollywood and US Film
  • 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.

The interdisciplinary minor in film and media studies will encourage students to become media literate and will foster creative engagement with the world via moving images. It will accomplish this goal by advancing awareness of media’s effect on perceptions of critical social, political and historical 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

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.

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, with an emphasis on low budget, independent digital video production. Written and creative assignments will emphasize presentation and execution of ideas, professionalism, and collaboration.  

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of documentary production. 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 understanding 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 world around them.

The great film editor Walter 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 understanding 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. Students will work with found footage and their own media to edit in varying styles, including documentary, narrative, and experimental.  

“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 projects, students will better understand the role of the cinematographer.

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

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.

This intermediate course introduces students to the wide panorama of contemporary documentary film theory and practice, with a specific emphasis on new technologies and the way films are programmed or curated in festivals and other contexts. Students will receive hands-on experience in cutting-edge documentary production practices including the use of GoPro cameras, drone/webcam technology and the making of web-based documentaries at the same time as they are exposed to relevant films, filmmakers, artists and thinkers. Courses at Wagner are complemented by a trip to the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, MO, during the first weekend of spring break and a session with a programmer from The Film Society of Lincoln Center. Prerequisite: FM 222 (Intro to Documentary Filmmaking) or the instructor’s permission

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.

Contact

For further information regarding the FAM program, please contact one of its co-directors, Prof. Philip Cartelli (philip.cartelli@wagner.edu) or Prof. Nelson Kim (nelson.kim@wagner.edu)