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Students create films from poetry

The first MSU Filmetry Festival was a collaboration between the Film Studies program in the Department of English and the RCAH Center for Poetry at MSU. Student and faculty filmmakers were paired with Michigan poets to adapt previously written work into new films, or cinepoems.

Professors Win Top Awards for Film About Latino Lynchings

MSU Professors of Practice John J. Valadez and Carleen Ling-an Hsu will receive two top honors from the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) at its annual conference in Las Vegas. There they will be presented with the Faculty Documentary “Best of” award and the first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Creative Award for their WKAR/PBS film The Head of Joaquin Murrieta.

"Dreaming in Color" Exhibit Curated by Professor Joshua Yumibe

Professor Joshua Yumibe has curated the exhibit, Dreaming in Color: The Davide Turconi Collection of Early Cinema at George Eastman Museum in Rochester, N.Y. The exhibit is dedicated to a unique collection of more than 23,000 original nitrate frames of 35mm films from the early years of cinema (1897–1915). One of the world’s leading experts in the history of silent cinema, Davide Turconi…

Dr. Swarnavel Pillai Documents Lives Through Film

BEHIND THE WILL is a video series that gives viewers an inside look into what drives our faculty’s research, teaching, and creativity at Michigan State University's College of Arts & Letters. Dr. Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai is an Associate Professor in the Departments of English, and Media and Information at Michigan State University. He graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India …

Film Studies Major Interns with NFL Films

Senior Film Studies major Colin Williams spent his summer gaining valuable experience as a film intern for NFL Films at the company’s Mount Laurel, New Jersey, headquarters. A pioneer of modern sports coverage and hailed as teaching America how to watch football, NFL Films is devoted to producing commercials, television programs, feature films, and documentaries on the National Football Leagu…

Film Studies Grad Making a Name for Herself in the Film Industry

Before graduating this past spring with a dual degree in Film Studies and Media and Information and a minor in Fiction Filmmaking, Amy Wagenaar made a name for herself among MSU’s Film programs. During her time at MSU, her films were featured at a number of film festivals and her work was recognized by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB). Her short film, The World is Beautiful, …

An interview with our alumnus, Bill Mechanic

Bill Mechanic earned a bachelor's degree in English from the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University in 1973.

Students Hear from Academy Award-Winning Filmmakers

Students in Professor of Practice Carlene Ling-an Hsu’s Producing for Cinema and Television class recently had the opportunity to hear from two Academy Award-winning filmmakers. Visiting the class on April 20 was Susan MacLaury, Executive Producer of the Academy Award-winning short documentary, Inocente; the Academy Award-nominated feature documentary, War Dance; and the film, The Harvest/LaC…

Professor Ellen McCallum wins 2017 Paul Varg Award

Ellen McCallum has won the prestigious Paul Varg award in the College of Arts & Letters for 2017. Named after the College’s first dean, the Paul Varg Award recognizes excellence in teaching that intellectually challenges students and instills in them a desire for continuing inquiry and growth beyond their university experience. “Professor McCallum is a superb and engaged scholar. She teaches …

Ling Hsu Receives Documentary Film Grant from the Knight Center

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism has awarded a $3,500 documentary grant to MSU Professor of Practice Carleen Ling-An Hsu. Her film will look at global food security, using as a jump-off point the 1943 famine in China in which survivors ate locusts to avoid starvation. Students Sophie Li, Film Studies, and Erik Shackelford, Media & Information, will be involved in the project as w…

Jeff Wray receives 2017 Excellence in Diversity Award

Professor Jeff Wray has received an Individual Award for Sustained Effort Toward Excellence in Diversity. The Excellence in Diversity Awards recognize and reward the efforts of MSU faculty, staff, and students to create and support an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued. Through his own film work celebrating people of color, his teaching of both theory courses such as Black Cinema…

Swarnavel Pillai receives 2017 Teacher-Scholar Award

Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai, an associate professor in both the Department of English and the Department of Media and Information, is an accomplished film producer and scholar. With a range of expertise from documentary production and history of film to Hollywood and Hindi genre cinema, Pillai brings his many skills to both his teaching and his scholarship. Having taught more than a dozen differen…

Broad Underground Film Series Featured in the State News

The Broad Underground Film Series will feature another night of films on Jan. 20 starting at 7 p.m. at The Robin Theater in REO Town Lansing, 1105 S. Washington Ave. . . .

College Co-Hosting Screenings for #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party

Women directed only 9 percent of the top 250 domestic grossing films in 2015. However, as an ongoing count managed by #DirectedbyWomencatalyst Barbara Ann O’Leary proves, close to 10,000 women have directed films since the inception of the moving image. The agnès films video team, comprising MSU alumnae Savannah Smith, Sarah Shaw, Lindsey Spitzley, Jenna Ange, and Writing, Rhetoric, and America…

Welcome to Professor Cara Cilano, New Chair of English

Cara Cilano has been named Chair of the Department of English effective July 1, 2016. “Dr. Cilano is a gifted teacher, researcher, and scholar whose teaching interests and experiences have long had a global focus,” said Christopher P. Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters. “I am pleased to welcome her as our new Chair of the Department of English.” Cilano comes to Michigan Sta…

Student short film featured in film festivals nationwide

For student film producers, getting accepted to film festivals can be one of the best ways to get work seen—but getting accepted into them can be rare. So it’s no small feat that Film Studies major Robert Paris has gotten his film These Colors Do Run into six festivals across the country—with more possible on the way. Beginning with the (In)Justice for All Film Festival in Chicago, Robert …

Professor Jeff Wray wins the prestigious Paul Varg Award

Professor Jeff Wray wins the prestigious Paul Varg Award, which is given each year to a faculty member has provided the highest quality education for students at MSU.

Pete Johnston's new film will be premiering at Freep Film Festival

Pete Johnston's film, "Ka-dy Comes Home," will be premiering at Freep Film Festival on April 2 at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The film is a short documentary about a boxer coming back to Detroit to revisit his childhood home and the boxing gym where he trained. For more info, see: https://www.facebook.com/kadycomeshome/ https://vimeo.com/158070357/c5cda4f…

Student Documentary a Top 10 Finalist in State Competition

The documentary "Gay From Gaylord," one of the capstone films from 2014/15...

Joshua Yumibe receives 2016 Teacher-Scholar award

Having arrived at MSU just three years ago, Joshua Yumibe has already reinvigorated
 the university’s longstanding commitment
 to the study of film and media and was instrumental in developing and launching the new B.A. in Film Studies at MSU. Under his guidance, the program focuses on cinema in its industrial and artisanal forms and provides a distinctive, in-depth grounding in a central me…

Professor Jeff Wray on Star Wars and Race

Professor Wray has been interviewed about race and Star Wars for MSU Today

Filmmaker Joseph Bernard on Campus, Nov. 5

We are delighted to be hosting visual artist and filmmaker Joseph Bernard on campus on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at the Film Collective in Wells B122 at 8pm. He'll be showing selections from his recently restored super-8 films, collected on the Bluray disc Prismatic Music, which contains 40 of his more than 100 films produced between 1975 and 1985.

Broad Underground Film Series

Beginning on October 30, the Broad Underground Film Series will be offering a monthly screenings exploring Video Art and experimental and avant-garde film from its earliest developments up to the present day. An ongoing, collaboration between the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and Film Studies and English faculty at Michigan State University, the Broad Underground Film Series is presented along…

Professor Bering-Porter Awarded Lily Fellowship

David Bering-Porter, assistant professor of film studies in the Michigan State University Department of English, has been awarded a 2015-16 Lilly Fellowship.The Lilly Teaching Fellows program is intended to advance the university’s continuing efforts to support excellence in teaching and learning. It provides a cohort of six to seven pre-tenure faculty with an opportunity to engage in a yearlon…

Ryan Cole Wins Prestigious Award

Congratulations to Film Studies major Ryan Cole for winning the 2015 Louis B. Sudler Prize. The prize goes to a graduating senior in the College of Arts and Letters who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the areas of the performing and creative arts, including the fine arts, music, creative writing, theatre, and electronic/photographic arts, and who also shows promise of future achievemen…

New Publication by Professor Pillai

Professor Swarnavel Pillai has just published Madras Studios: Narrative, Genre, and Ideology in Tamil Cinema (Sage Publications, 2015), a crucial new book that documents the history of Tamil cinema, one of the most colossal film industries in the world, and studies the major studios of Madras, the largest outside classical Hollywood in the private sector.   

New Publication by Professor Yumibe

Professor Joshua Yumibe has published, Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema (Amsterdam University Press, 2015), with Giovanna Fossati, Tom Gunning, Jonathon Rosen and a foreword by Martin Scorsese. He also co-organized the conference "The Color Fantastic" in Amsterdam at the EYE Film Institute on March 28–30 where the book was launched. See Yumibe's interview on these projects. A video teaser f…



The Film Studies program is proud to co-sponsor the Taiwan Film Festival with the Asian Studies Center, the College of Arts and Letters, the Department of Linguistics and Languages, and Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities. Comprised of 5 different film screenings and a lecture event, it promises to be an exciting and engaging series of Taiwanese films. 

Click the image to download the flyer.



Professor Jeff Wray will be screening his newest feature film, The Evolution of Bert, at the LA Pan-African Film Festival this month. See the writeup on MSUToday. Congratulations, Jeff!

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Wednesday, October 22, 4:00 - 5:15, Old Hort 255

Prof. Neuberger is a historian of modern Russia. Her talk will examine the film "Ivan the Terrible, commissioned in January 1941 by Stalin from the great Soviet director, Sergei Eisenstein. How do you make a movie about a murderous tyrant in a country ruled by a murderous tyrant? Critics and viewers long believed that Eisenstein suppressed all political critique so that he could experiment with film aesthetics, but his extensive production notebooks show that he decided to confront questions of power -- and its excesses -- head on. The result is one of the most important explorations of modern power and violence to come out of the Soviet Union.

Prof. Neuberger's talk is sponsored by the Jack and Margaret Sweet Professorship in History, the Department of English/Film Studies, and the Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at MSU.

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Professors Swarnavel Pillai and Salah Hassan's documentary Migrations of Islam to screen today in at Falmouth University in Falmouth, England, at the World Documentary Film & TV Conference.


In July 2014, MSU Film students and faculty traveled to Traverse City MI for the Traverse City Film Festival, marking the first official occasion MSU has partnered with the fest. Students in both the Fiction and Documentary Filmmaking Specializations had their films screened before an audience of filmgoers, about which Michael Moore had this to say:

"The work . . . that these guys have done from Michigan State is absolutely incredible. It’s as good as stuff I’ve seen from NYU or Columbia, and we’re really proud to show these things."

—Michale Moore (2014)

Faculty member Jeff Wray also held a successful lecture about Black Cinema and Theatre faculty members Mark Colson and Alison Dobbins held a workshop about green screen compositing in the TCFF Film School, while Film/Digital Media specialist Pete Johnston moderated Q&A sessions after some films. Altogether, the partnership between Film at State and the Traverse City Film Festival is off to a great start!