Study how the medium has evolved through experimentation and risk.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

NOTE: This course will be held in an online format, utilizing the Zoom platform.

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 genre 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.

As this is an online class, participants will watch films via widely available streaming platforms, and will join an intimate virtual classroom (via Zoom) for real-time lecture and discussion.

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

NOTE: Depending on the streaming services currently used by participants (Netflix, Amazon, etc.), students may incur additional costs ($20-30) to stream assigned films at home.

Header Image:  Aidan Bliss

In addition to being offered on an individual basis, this course is part of the Spring Semester of the Certificate in Collaborative Filmmaking.

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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.