From the extraordinarily fertile period of invention that marked the early development of film, to the rapidly evolving digital landscape of the present, study how the medium has changed over time.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Note: This workshop will be held in a live, online format utilizing the Zoom platform.
Class meets for 8 Wednesdays, May 3-Jun 21 from 7-9pm ET.

From Orsen Welles’ “The Lady from Shanghai”

The story of film is an incredibly rich journey that winds through countries, movements, forces, personalities, visions, theories, and technologies.

From the innovators of the late 19th, the 20th, and now the early 21st century, today’s working filmmakers have inherited an extraordinary wealth of artistic and conceptual tools. In this intensive workshop, we will examine the historical development of those tools in order to understand and articulate our own place in the continuum of film. Through lectures, discussions, screenings of both clips and full-length works, and readings of film theory by working filmmakers and critics, we will explore how key works and artists have enriched the film medium, and in so doing, supplied us with the means to tell new stories to today’s audiences.  

We’ll consider the evolution of film language from the silent era (Lumiere, Méliès, Griffith, Porter, Eisenstein) into sound (Orson Welles, Jean Renoir). A survey of genres will include the musical, Film Noir, and the Western. We’ll see how Jim Jarmusch and Robert Altman experimented with genre in a later time. Our study of stylistic exploration will look at Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave, and how filmmakers like Godard, Resnais, DeSica, Fellini, Tarkovsky, Scorsese, Chris Marker, and Maya Deren blazed new trails.

Prepare for a fascinating journey of discovery, exploring how risk and reinvention have continually revitalized this extraordinary medium.

Note: Students might incur modest expenses (approx. $30) to watch assigned films via streaming platforms.

Header Image: Aidan Bliss

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Instructor: Kenneth James

Kenneth James (M.F.A., Ph.D.) has worked in nonfiction television as a screenwriter, producer, director, and editor.  At Maine Media and elsewhere, James has taught courses in the histories of narrative film, documentary, animation, and film noir, as well as screenwriting, directing, animation, pre-production, and more.