The Minor in Film Studies introduces you to film and cinema in general and then allows you to explore some more higher level specific courses such as Video or Animation Production, Gender and Politics in Film, and Acting techniques.


Living and working in London was more than I expected, it’s been amazing since day one. Living in London has been the best experience of my life, and it breaks my heart to leave here, it has truly become home for me. How many people can say they’ve worked in London? Not many, so having this opportunity has been fantastic.

Avery Manders

Programme Structure

Minor requirements – US Credits 18 – UK Credits 72

This course explores film as a medium across cultural and historical contexts. It covers films in its varied form, from the first projections in the late 19th century to online distribution today. Using examples of noteworthy films, it takes an introductory examination of the most important film theories and concepts, in the process examining how ideologies and meanings are imbedded in this vibrant medium.

This course investigates the development of genre films over a historical period. Students examine issues critical to genre studies, which can include iconography, key themes, authorship, and stardom. Specifically, through a study of film criticism and theory, students examine distinct genres from the 1920s to the present. The course also explores the idea that genre films necessarily retain basic similarities to reflect cultural concerns and to keep audience interest. In addition, the course provides an opportunity for students to examine and compare the perspectives of Hollywood and non-Hollywood genre films.

plus any four of the following:

A ‘hands-on’ video course involving most aspects of production from camera work and sound recording to editing and audio dubbing. The theory and practice of video technology are taught through a series of group exercises and out of class assignments. Students also study a range of classic videos and film as a means of understanding the language of the medium. A studio fee is levied on this course.

Intended for students who want to create moving image work within an art and design studio environment. The course provides a foundation in animation practice, its history and theory, enabling progress in the further fields of time-based media, motion graphics and video art. A major focus of the course is practical; students will learn and develop key skills in both digital and hands-on animation production methods.

Students are guided through the creative processes of writing scenes for the stage, TV, and film. The building of character and plot is examined as well as the industry standard formats for writing in these media. Group and team work is encouraged as well as discussions, critique, and analysis of the narrative techniques used in existing stage plays and films.

This course examines the important role that US science fiction (SF) film has played in the development of the genre as well as its wider significance politically, socially and culturally. It also recognises the influence that other cultures have had on the evolution of US SF film as well as the US’s impact globally. The class begins by looking at SF’s origins, defining features and some key theoretical concepts. It then examines SF’s significance in the US and globally by focusing upon the genre’s economic importance as well as a number of important themes, such as: (i) how SF film can be read as a means to analyse the social, cultural and political concerns of the day, including class/gender, Cold War/xenophobic anxieties and environmental threats; (ii) how SF film can be interpreted as a critique (and sometimes a champion) of American imperial hegemony; and (iii) finally the trans-national connections between American SF and other world SF literature and visual culture (including cinema and television). The course concludes by studying the role of the internet in marketing and re-shaping the genre. Where possible the class makes use of museum and archive collections in London as well as relevant film screenings.

This course deals with adaptations from literary texts, in the broad sense – novels, plays and comic books – to cinema and television. It engages with issues around the transition from one medium to another, debating questions of authorship and the relative advantages of different forms. Adaptations are discussed in terms of their historical and cultural contexts, and ‘faithful’ versions contrasted with ‘free’ adaptations which retain the tone and spirit of the original while deviating from the letter of the text.

This course explores key concepts that have shaped the study of gender in film in the past 50 years. It considers different spectators’ viewing positions and analyses how historical and social changes in the construction of masculinities and femininities have shaped specific film genres. A variety of issues related to sexuality, race/ethnicity and non-western representations are also considered as students are encouraged to study film texts closely to make their own readings based on the semiotics of the film and the ideology behind it.

This course explores a variety of the key concepts, debates and theoretical approaches to film studies which problematize the idea of ‘national’ and ‘world’ cinemas. The developing area of transnational film criticism engages with the shifting dynamics of global distribution and reception, and analyses the changes in film language, theme and form. In addition, the impact of how new media technologies have shaped cultural identities are examined within the context of several case studies.

This course introduces students to documentary film theory and gives students hand-on experience in producing their own short documentary. Students will examine some of the major works of the genre and explore how documentaries, like other types of “factual” texts, can present evidence, argue persuasively, shape public opinions, as well as entertain. We will also analyze many theoretical debates posed by the genre, including the blurring of fiction and nonfiction, the shifting definition of “documentary” through the last century and the problematic assumption of objectivity. Students therefore have the opportunity to try the different ‘parts’ of documentary film-making, including researching and developing topics for a documentary production, writing a treatment or proposal for the film, shooting and interviewing in the field, as well as crafting a story during the post-production and editing process.

This course examines global cinema while considering the extent to which cultural, political, and historical contexts have influenced the form and grammar of film during the last century. The overall focus of the course is broad, ranging across more than eight decades and many different countries; it aims to study a variety of approaches to and theories of narrative cinema. During the semester, many international film “movements” are covered, which can include the French New Wave, the Chinese Sixth Generation, and Italian Neo-Realism. In addition, the representations of non-Western cultures from an “insider” and a “Hollywood” perspective are compared.

From Script to Screen will explore the creative and practical aspects of script writing and advanced video production. The course is intended for students who have experience of video production and want to expand their knowledge and skills. Students will create and produce a video, starting from the inception of the idea through to the realization of the idea as a finished film to be screened at the end of the course. Focusing on the journey from having an idea for a film through to writing a high spec script, students will learn how drama is represented in the written form, analyze and explore scripts from existing films and other forms of drama, and learn more about the film and TV industry and the place of screenwriting in it. In doing so, students have the opportunity to try the different ‘parts’ of film-making, from the creative and theoretical – writing, story boarding, workshopping, casting and directing, to the technical – camera operation, sound recording and video editing. A studio fee is levied on this course.

The course aims to introduce students, by way of specific case-studies ranging from the ancient world to the modern day, to innovative methods of studying the past that utilise popular forms of visual culture and propaganda. While recognising the complexity of the propaganda process and the various influences that form and shape images, the course will focus on the historical relationship between propaganda (in architecture, cartoons, film, painting, pamphlets, photography, posters, sculpture, and television) and politics. The focus on the theme of propaganda and its relationship with various forms of media through the ages allows for the opportunity to compare and contrast particular case-studies over time and geographical space and therefore to distinguish elements of continuity and change, which will help students to ‘read’ historic images critically, both as vehicles for understanding the past and in order to identify the relationship between propaganda and power.

This course examines the history of international film, its proactive role in society and its usefulness as a historical resource, with a focus on key moments and themes made important for aesthetic, economic, cultural, political, social and technological reasons. The course considers the ways in which films have been shaped by the societies and eras in which they were produced and how in turn have helped to shape those same societies. It additionally analyses the extent and accuracy with which the medium manages to retain and communicate these aspects to historians. Four main developmental eras are explored: the silent era, ‘talkies’, colour films and the emergent digital age, with examples drawn from different global regions, including Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Popular culture often reflects and shapes the political landscape of a given epoch. This course critically investigates the tensions between actual political conditions and events and their representations in popular culture, particularly in film. In using selected concepts and theories of political science this course seeks to identify and describe explicit and implicit political content in contemporary popular culture. The course will provide students with an opportunity not only to critically examine a variety of contemporary political analyses on key issues but also to independently assess the relevance and coherence of political concepts through the medium of film. Indicative themes studied may include changes in political economy, race and identity politics, contemporary warfare and ecological crises.

This course examines psychological approaches to understanding films. Beginning with classical psychoanalytic interpretations of contemporary films, the course will evaluate the relevance of Freud’s work on the uncanny, voyeurism, repetition compulsion and trauma. Students will also be introduced to Barthes’ influential semiotic work on narrative codes and their use in the film industry, as well as Laura Mulvey’s seminal feminist critique of Hollywood. Of special interest is the cinema’s potential, as an art form, to capture contemporary psychological processes such as individuation, the fear of fragmentation and the search for a narrative identity. There is a special emphasis on Jungian approaches to film, the Symbolic cinema, critical analyses of narrative structures, and the application of existential-phenomenological categories of thought to reading films. The course is run as a seminar, so students are expected to read widely and participate with interest.

Develops acting skills specifically relating to the camera – i.e., for film and television. In a series of practical workshops and lectures, students are introduced to the disciplines of acting for the camera, and discover the basic differences between acting for television and for film (as opposed to the theatre) as well as various styles of performance. Students learn how to develop realistic, sincere, and believable performances. They also become practiced in dealing with the maintenance of performance under adverse technical conditions. Students gain experience in the rehearsal process, the development of a character, and shooting procedures. They are also given exercises in interviewing for screen work and screen testing.

Undergraduate Prospectus 2021