Fall 2020 Courses

Now Enrolling for Fall 2020


FMST 1540 & ENGFLM 1683 - Documentary Film

Wednesdays 1:00 - 4:50 with Neepa Majumdar

Fulfills Gen Ed for the Arts

In this course, we will examine the distinction between nonfiction and fiction films and the history of such a division. In the first part of the course, you will watch some landmark documentaries and learn about significant documentary film movements and directors, the technological and cinematic innovations associated with them, and the ethical questions these films raise. In the second part of the course, we will study different styles and forms of international documentary filmmaking, considering the cultural and historical context of each film, its goals, its impact, and its cinematic choices. One of the central concepts we will work with this semester is the concept of “voice” in documentary film and its relation to social and political power.

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FILMST 1682 & ENGWRIT 1133 - Intermediate Screenwriting

Tuesdays 1:00 - 4:00 with Carl Kurlander

Love movies and writing? Have a story for the screen you are burning to tell? Intermediate Screenwriting (FILMST 1682, ENGWRIT 1133) is your chance to learn the craft of screenwriting and take your work to the next level.

This course will explore what it takes to write a feature screenplay with a focus on structure, scene work, and character development..   Through reading screenplays and selected texts, watching clips from films, and workshopping their own scenes, students will hone their screenwriting skills with the ultimate goal of a completed screenplay.    

This class is taught by Pitt Senior Lecturer Carl Kurlander who has written screenplays under contract for Universal, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Paramount and Columbia/Sony studios, including the hit film "St. Elmo's Fire" as well as over one hundred episodes of television for CBS, Fox, and NBC.   Kurlander's students have gone on to write for major television networks and film studios as well as having had success in fiction, non-fiction, and musical theater.

If you have taken any introductory writing class, including elements of screenwriting or classes in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, you can take Intermediate Screenwriting.  Other students can request permission to take the class from the instructor after providing a suitable writing sample.  Please contact Carl Kurlander at ckpa@pitt.edu with any questions or for more information.

FMST 1415 & ENGFLM 1487 - Film Censorship & American Culture


Mondays 6:00PM - 9:50PM

This course considers some of the most important censorship battles in American history. As the first mass medium to pose a serious threat to the cultural hegemony of the genteel middle class, the movies initiated both a debate about the place of media in our society and a series of struggles over the control of commercialized leisure. This course seeks a deeper appreciation of the complexities of contemporary media politics through an engagement with the history of motion picture regulation. This is a Critical Studies course and counts for Category II towards the Film and Media Studies major and minor.