Upcoming Courses

Coming this Spring 2019:


ENGFLM 0540 - World Film History

This course both introduces students to techniques of film analysis and acquaints them with major works and movements in international cinema.  The course pays particular attention to the evolution of film narrative and visual style and landmarks in film development--European avant-garde films, the British documentary, the classic Hollywood film, etc.
We 1:00PM - 4:50PM plus recitiation, with Mark Best
Required Core Course for Film and Media Studies

ENGFLM 0570 - Introduction to New Media

New Media as a concept has undergone changes in its scope and definition at a breathless speed in the last twenty years.  Cellphones are the latest frontier in the study of new media.  Today, smartphones have become a part of every major aspect of our lives.  This course will study the impact of cellphones in the realm of popular culture.  How has Netflix changed film and TV watching?  How has the music industry adapted itself for cellphones?  What does it mean to take photos just for Instagram?  How new is selfie-culture?  How do we make sense of celebrity Twitter wars?  These are some of the questions and concepts this course will deal with in an attempt to understand our relationship with the technologies we use in our very own lives.
Mo 1:00PM - 4:50PM with Kuhu Tanvir
Category II, Themes, Genres, and Theory

ENGFLM 0590 - Filmmaking: Production and Criticism

This course introduces to filmmaking as related to cinematic expression, aesthetics, criticism, and ethics. Working in groups, students will produce short film projects. These projects are designed to foster a reflexive stance toward filmmaking practices and support students in the effort of developing a cinematic voice that is critically and historically informed. All aspects of production are viewed as a creative extension and continuation of the film writing, directing, and producing process. Through lectures and a range of readings, the class will explore craft, aesthetic, production and storytelling issues.
Mo 1:00PM - 4:50PM with Idrissou Mora-kpai
Category III, Film/Photo/Video Production

ENGFLM 1226 - Eastern European Communism at the Movies

After World War II East European communist leaders wanted to use the arts, including film, to support their political, economic, and social campaigns. Writers, artists, and filmmakers became privileged allies of the communist regimes that came to power in the 1940s. Yet not all filmmakers and actors in the new Soviet satellite states toed the Communist Party line fully. Some of them crafted complex films with subtle messages portraying controversial historical episodes, or aspects of daily life as experienced by ordinary people under the new regimes. Movies that we will watch and analyze, released in Hungary, Romania, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Poland, and Czechoslovakia in the decades before the fall of communism in 1989 managed to depict and criticize “really existing communism.” This course will trace the history of East European communism and of East European film-making from 1944 to 1990, acquainting students with examples from an exceptional body of cinematographic work together with the broad outlines of East European history. Students will learn to “read” these films in their cultural, political, and historical context.
Mo 12:00PM - 3:50PM with Irina Livezeanu
Category I, National Cinemas and Filmmakers

ENGFLM 1420 - Transnational East Asian Cinemas

This survey course comparatively studies the forms and histories of East Asian cinemas in the context of transnationalism and globalization. As the notion of nation-state has increasingly been problematized, the concept of "national cinema," which frames cinematic works according to their countries of origin, has come into question. This course, therefore, will revisit this theoretical debate by exploring the transnational connections among different film cultures in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea. The course will emphasize as much the local diversities and specificities as the stylistic, generic, thematic, and industrial conjunctions across national/cultural boundaries. While surveying major films, genres, and auteurs in East Asian cinemas through the theoretical frameworks of nationalism, transnationalism, post-colonialism, and globalism, the course will particularly focus on the shifting representation of identities in the rapidly changing social, political, and cultural environments in the region.
We 1:00 - 4:50pm with Jinying Li
Category I, National Cinemas and Filmmakers

ENGFLM 1470 - Film Directors

This course looks at the mode of production of films and works to understand the interweaving contributions to that mode of directors, producers and screenwriters. It will also consider less personal forces--social climate, studio style, genre and audience taste. It will, finally, examine the films of particular directors for signs of personal style, theme, or personal preoccupation.
Tu 9:00am - 12:50pm with Jedd Hakimi
Category I, National Cinemas and Fimmakers

ENGFLM 1480 - Topics in Film: Iranian Cinema

Called “one of the most extraordinary artistic and social adventures of our time” by Edward Said, the Iranian cinema continues to be a prolific and multifaceted phenomenon, producing about 100 (fiction) features a year. With their own particular industrial/financial structure and unique thematic and aesthetic characteristics, Iranian films have found their place within the global distribution circuits (festivals and beyond). This course will explore the rather tumultuous history of filmmaking in this important Middle Eastern country from its inception more than a hundred years ago to the present. The focus, however, will be on the influential directors who have emerged in the last five decades, during the Iranian New Wave of the 1960s and 70s and after the 1979 revolution. Works of such accomplished filmmakers as Darius Mehrjui, Abbas Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, and Asghar Farhadi will be screened and analyzed. Iranian women play a significant role both behind and in front of the camera (not to mention in the theaters of the country). Three weeks of the course will be devoted to women filmmakers (directors, writers, stars) and the question of gender. Never sealed off from the world, Iranian cinema and film culture grew in creative negotiation with the cultural currents coming from beyond the nation’s borders. We will examine economic, social, and aesthetic factors, transnational as well as local, which have informed the shape and attributes of contemporary Iranian cinema(s).
Tu 6:00 - 9:50pm with Farbod Honarpisheh
Category II, Themes/Genre/Theory

ENGFLM 1483 - Film Sound

In this course, we will learn to listen to films and to use the language and tools of audio analysis to analyze the aural environment produced by films. Topics include the history of film sound, the relation of sound and image, aural and visual pleasures, sound and narrative meaning, soundscapes and theories of shock and modernity, the aesthetics of analog and digital sound in cinema, the 'realism' of recorded sound, film sound and space, sound in documentary cinema, and culturally specific theories of sound.
Mo 6:00 - 9:50pm with Neepa Majumdar
Category II, Themes/Genre/Theory

ENGFLM 1489 - Cult Film

This course considers the different industrial stages of cult film, from classical exploitation to Midnight Movies to mainstream cult. We will consider subcultures and why cult is gendered masculine.
We 6:00 - 9:50 pm with Dana Och
Category II, Themes/Genre/Theory

ENGFLM 1585 - Cinema and Revolution

Cinema and revolution investigates the relationship between Black power era, Black American cinema, and the third cinema movement, which are traditionally understood to be distinct movement/moments only loosely related through overlapping politics. Looking at these sets of filmmakers and their works as interconnected, among other things, begs the question of the status of Black America as an oppressed minority - how and when the models of colonialism and anticolonial struggle taken up by third cinema practitioners and scholars might apply to these U.S.-based filmmakers. In the course, our primary focus will be third world and Black American film making from the 605-805, and the postcolonial, pan-national and militant theoretical texts and movements that Influenced the directors.
Tu 1:00 - 4:50pm with Elizabeth Reich
Category II, Themes/Genre/Theory

ENGFLM 1671 - Making the Documentary

This is a projects-oriented seminar course in which students will research, define, schedule their own projects. The class covers all stages of producing a documentary from the idea through development, preproduction, production and postproduction and will examine the fundamentals of the art of documentary making: artistic identity, point of view and storyteller, form and style, and light and sound etc. Students will develop and produce original documentary short film in a collaborative learning environment, working in small groups (of two or three students). They will write, develop, and shoot their own short documentary project (8 to 10 minutes). While those interested in writing or filmmaking will find practical uses for their skills in this course, students from all disciplines - writing, science, film studies, or general liberal arts - are welcomed, and will find benefit in the acquisition of skills for presenting, representing, and persuading via sound and image. No filmmaking experience is necessary.
Tu 1:00 - 4:50pm with Idrissou Morra-kpai
Category III, Production

ENGFLM 1680 Animation Studies

Animation is a course designed to survey the history of animation, both American and international. Providing an understanding of animation's history, technologies, and stylistic possibilities across national and international boundaries, the course will consider early animators through to contemporary uses of digital technologies with their fully realized characters inhabiting three-dimensional space. It will also have a thematic organization, focusing at times on specific techniques (e.g., Cell animation) and styles (e.g., Abstract)
Th 6:00 - 9:50pm with Jinying Li
Category II, Themes/Genre/Theory


ENGFLM 1684 - Mockumentary: Production and Criticism

The mockumentary- a fictional film made to "look like" a documentary - became popularized as a term to describe a distinct genre in coverage of Rob Reiner's 1984 film This is Spinal Tap, a fictionalized, behind-the-scenes account of a heavy metal band's concert tour. Since then, the genre has evolved to treat a variety of subjects through a range of styles - including straightforward hoaxes (The Blair Witch Project), social parodies (Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman), and sharp criticisms of nonfictional form (The Falls, The Daily Show with John Stewart). In addition to readings, lectures and discussions, students in this class will produce short mockumentary projects. Previous production experience is not required.
We 1:00 - 4:50pm with Robert Clift
Category III, Production

ENGFLM 1703 - Gender and Film

This course examines and questions aspects of women's role in the international cinema. The class considers both women as filmmakers, and the portrayal of women in film. Attention will also be paid to the social and historical context in which these films were made, in an attempt to understand the relationship between art and ideology.
Th 6:00 - 9:50pm with Julie Nakama
Category II, Themes/Genre/Theory

ENGFLM 1750 - Creative Production Workshop

Creative Production Workshop is a projects-based course in which students will research, define, schedule, budget, and workshop their own independent projects. In a collaborative learning environment, students develop and produce original digital projects while conducting critical investigations into their role as participants in and products of digitally mediated culture. The primary goal of the course is to design and execute a self-directed, self-designed, 14-week creative project. This process can be broken down into a series of smaller goals: Students will gather and create materials for the preliminary (treatment) stage of a project; conduct creative research to develop a project design; define the goals of a project and the areas of study; identify and address technical/logistical issues of the project; organize project materials; schedule and plan use of time; create a written description of a project; and make an oral/visual presentation of their project at different stages of its development. The methods of instruction will include discussion of assigned readings, in- and out-of-class viewings of assigned films, production instruction in the film editing lab, and workshop-style peer review and feedback at all stages.
Th 6:00 - 9:50pm with Katherine Bird
Category III, Production

ENGFLM 1920 - Advanced Seminar in Film Studies

This course is designed for film majors and can be taken only when all other major requirements are satisfied.  It will focus on issues of film history (either as an historical survey or through an examination of particular themes and/or problems that have arisen in the critical literature).  The class will be organized as a seminar, and will involve considerable writing and/or class presentation on the part of students.
Th 1pm-4:50pm with Adam Lowenstein
Capstone course; Satisfies Writing Gen-Ed

FILMST 0001 - Filmmaking 1: Fundamentals

Filmmaking is a creative process that combines art, science, craft, and collaboration. This course is a hands-on introduction to the process, starting with the building blocks of motion pictures: light and cameras, composition, editing, and visual storytelling. You will complete two short videos over the course of the semester, shooting video with DSLR cameras and editing using Adobe Premiere Pro. In-class exercises will provide a deeper understanding of making moving images.  All enrolled students will be responsible for paying a course fee for the use of equipment.
Multiple times offered
Category III, Film/Photo/Video Production

FILMST 0601 - Filmmaking 2: Sight and Sound

In this hands-on course, you will continue to acquire the skills required to design, shoot and edit HD video. Demonstrations and in-class exercises introduce more professional camera operation, lighting, sound, special effects, and editing workflows. You will apply this new knowledge and facility to several out-of-class assignments of increasing sophistication over the course of the semester. All enrolled students will be responsible for paying a course fee for the use of equipment.
Tu 9:00AM - 12:00PM with John Cantine
Category III, Film/Photo/Video Production

FILMST 1001 - Broadcasting

FILMST 1001 Broadcasting introduces students to television production through academic and hands-on experience, utilizing the University of Pittsburgh's new state-of-the-art television studios and equipment. In addition to students learning how to produce a live broadcast event for collegiate teams and a news broadcast, guest lecturers will talk about the industrial realities of the profession. Students will understand how to format and make a show rundown, apply graphics, utilize replay, work a television camera, comprehend audio application and mixing, produce and direct live events and news broadcast, as well as gain experience in front of the camera as news anchors, reporters and on-air talent for live events.
MoWe 9:00AM - 10:40AM with Kevin Smith
Category III, Film/Photo/Video Production

FILMST 1130 - Directing Motion Pictures

This course addresses some of the basic problems of designing and directing scenes for motion pictures.  Some of the problems discussed are the relationship of film to reality, the meaning of cinematic techniques, continuity, shot selection, cut selection and visualization techniques. The format is a combination of lecture, screening and interactive group exercises.  Extensive outside work is necessary.  All enrolled students will be responsible for paying a course fee for the use of equipment.
Tu 6:00PM - 9:00PM 
Category III, Film/Photo/Video Production

FILMST 1132 - Elements of Screenwriting

In this hands-on course, you will continue to acquire the skills required to design, shoot and edit HD video. Demonstrations and in-class exercises introduce more professional camera operation, lighting, sound, special effects, and editing workflows. You will apply this new knowledge and facility to several out-of-class assignments of increasing sophistication over the course of the semester. All enrolled students will be responsible for paying a course fee for the use of equipment.
Mo 6:00PM - 9:00PM with Kevin Smith
Category III, Film/Photo/Video Production

FILMST 1133 - Intermediate Screenwriting

This advanced course will help you develop your feature film idea into a full treatment. Weekly discussions and writing assignments focus on creating the plot, scene, sequences, setting, and subplots. By the end of the semester, you will have completed a scene-by-scene treatment of your original work. Considerable outside work is required. Grading is based on weekly assignments, the quality of the written treatment and class participation.
Mo 6:00PM - 9:00PM with Carl Kurlander
Category III, Film/Photo/Video Production

FILMST 1600 - Filmmaking 3: Story to Screen

Building on your experiences in Filmmaking 1 and 2, you will continue to develop your style as a filmmaker while creating more ambitious work and improving your technical skills. Demonstrations cover HD video cameras and lenses, advanced lighting and sound techniques, creating a pre-production binder, and advanced post-production workflows using Adobe Creative Cloud software. In addition to creating short projects in class, significant outside work is required, as you will take a short film from concept to a polished final version.  All enrolled students will be responsible for paying a course fee for the use of equipment.
We 6:00PM - 9:00PM with John Cantine
Category III, Film/Photo/Video Production

FILMST 1921 - Filmmaking 4: Capstone

This is a capstone course in motion picture production. You should arrive with a script for a short film which you will work on throughout the semester. The film can be any genre, and should represent the culmination of your studies in filmmaking, meeting high standards of technical and aesthetic quality. Through script workshops, pre-production reviews, and critique of rough cuts, your instructor will mentor you through the filmmaking process.  All enrolled students will be responsible for paying a course fee for the use of equipment.
Th 6:00PM - 9:00PM with John Cantine
Category III, Film/Photo/Video Production

GER 1545 - Nazi Culture

In an era of Alt-Right and growing neo-Nazi movements, this course takes us to the past to understand our present. We will rely on the films and other primary sources of the Third Reich to understand the conditions in Germany and what motivated the Germans to make the choices they did. We will examine anti-Semitism, racism, gender and sexuality, mass culture, the cult of the leader, propaganda, and more.
MoWe 11:00AM - 11:50AM plus recitation, with Randall Halle
Category I, National Cinemas and Filmmakers

HAA 1820 - Documentary Film

This course provides an introduction to the genre of documentary film, reviewing its historical development from late nineteenth century beginnings to present times. The course includes classic documentaries from the 1920s (e.g. Nanook of the North, Man With A Movie Camera), government-supported films from the United States, Great Britain, and Germany in the 1930s (e.g. The River, Night Mail, Triumph of the Will), World War II documentaries (e.g. The Battle of San Pietro), films termed "Cinema Verité" and "Direct Cinema" from the 1960s and 1970s by Frederick Wiseman and others, as well as more recent films.  The course examines evolving stylistic techniques and thematic strategies in the documentary tradition, and encourages recognition and analysis of documentary's persuasive means of communication to achieve personal, social, and political goals. A central premise of the course is that a documentary film is not "objective."  Rather, a documentary reflects cultural forces within which the film was made, as well as the stance of the film-maker within that culture.
Mo 6:00PM - 9:20PM with Bill Judson
Category II, Themes, Genres, and Theory


MoWe 1:30PM - 2:45PM
Dan Wang
Sometime between Ernst Lubitsch's The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail (1998), romance changed in the United States. Where class and wealth used to be deciding factors, there now emerged the concept of the soulmate, who could be anyone. In this course, we will watch American romantic comedies of the last 100 years, paying particular attention to how the development of the soundtrack has changed what love sounds and feels like. We will analyze both Hollywood blockbusters and representations of queer and otherwise non-mainstream forms of romance. Students will develop skills in closely analyzing sound and image in film, critically interpreting popular culture in relation to broader events in society, and thinking about the relation between music, identity, and politics. In particular, we will together develop answers to the following questions: how did capitalism, social justice movements, the changing nature of work, and other cultural transformations affect what people expected from intimate union? What used to be love, and what is it now? And, looking to the future, what could it still be?
Category II, Themes, Genres, and Theory


MoWe 10:30AM - 11:45AM
Dan Wang
This course explores the small but growing art form of the visual album, from The Beatles’s groundbreaking A Hard Day’s Night (1964) to more recent productions by artists like Beyoncé, Janelle Monáe, and Frank Ocean. We will look at each album in its historical and cultural context, asking: what was the significance of the album for each artist at this point in their career? How did the album comment on and/or transform social issues in its time? And what can a visual album accomplish that music videos and audio records alone cannot?  In this class, we will closely analyze both the musical and visual aspects of each album. In addition, we will read essays that provide insight into the artistic and cultural issues at stake in each artist’s work, covering topics such as gender performance, sexual politics, Afrofuturism, and animation. By the end of the course, students will become practiced in interpreting audiovisual media, describing the links between music and politics, and have a better sense of why and how musical artists have turned to the visual album in the last half century. Screenings include Pink Floyd’s The Wall, The Beatles’s Yellow Submarine, R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet, Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Prince’s Purple Rain, Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer.
Category II, Themes, Genres, and Theory