Film Studies at Michigan State University offers an innovative Bachelors of Arts in Film Studies, as well as a Minor in Film Studies, and two filmmaking Minors in Fiction Filmmaking and in Documentary Production. We also coordinate a Graduate Certificate in Film Studies open to graduate students from around the university. Our curriculum engages students in the history, theory, and production of world cinema. Classes examine the moving image globally across a range of industrial and artisanal contexts, and encourage students to understand cinema as an art, business, and technology. Learning the craft of filmmaking as well as criticism, students develop the creative and critical skills necessary today in all areas of media art. With this training, our graduates have gone on to a wide range careers that utilize and depend on the moving image: from film production, digital distribution, and film criticism, to arts management, educational programming, and public affairs work.
Our courses offer a holistic grounding in the cinematic arts, and overall, our program has overlapping strengths in three focus areas:
- Global Cinemas: Our faculty and students carry out extensive work on diversity and inclusion in film and media in terms of race, ethnicity, and class as well as gender and sexuality. Stretching globally, we have unique strengths in these areas around issues of social justice that encompass the Global South as well as North America. In particular, we have established expertise in African and African-American cinema, Indian and Tamil cinema, Middle Eastern and Iranian cinema, queer film and media, and we are exploring the ways in which these areas intersect globally through cinema and with new media aesthetics.
- Aesthetics and Technology: Encompassing color technologies in silent cinema, modernist design and sound aesthetics at midcentury, and emergent digital media in the Global North and South, our research and teaching in this area is both historically focused and theoretically engaged, particularly around questions of the sensory, cultural, and racialized, gendered, and classed experience of the new technologies of modernity.
- Independent Filmmaking: Within our BA in Film Studies as well as in our two collaborative filmmaking minors, we have cultivated a boutique approach to independent production both in faculty work and amongst our students. We strongly emphasize the integration of critical analysis with critical practice in filmmaking, and train our students to be culturally engaged scholars as well as writers, editors, and directors. In a time when the continued and unacceptable bias against women and people of color in mainstream production work is becoming increasingly contentious, though unchanged, we place issues of diversity and inclusion at the radical core of our filmmaking practice and pedagogy.