News and Announcements
Film and Technology: The 2013 Johns Hopkins Undergraduate Film Conference
By Abby Harri, Class of 2014
In its inaugural year, September’s Undergraduate Film Conference made its mark in the array of events for cinema lovers at Hopkins and in Baltimore. The thoughtful programming and quality of presentations were exceptional for any event, especially one in its first year. Considering the forthcoming expansion of the Film and Media Studies Program to the Station North Arts District, and the growth of the program generally, the theme of “Expanded Cinema” seemed appropriate even beyond its intended use.
The brainchild of Nour El Safoury (class of 2013), the conference was organized and run by Nour, Helen Latimer (’14), Annie Rhee (’16), Sarah White (’16), and Emily Yang (’16), with guidance from Baltimore video artist and FMS lecturer Jimmy Roche. The theme took inspiration from Gene Youngblood’s 1970 Expanded Cinema, which organizers described as “a ground-breaking book . . . in which he offered a framework for the ‘aesthetic application of technology’ and the inclusion of new technologies in film and other media.” The conference thus focused on the intersection of film and technology today, sourcing speakers who ranged from students presenting academic papers, to a social media theorist, to interactive cinema pioneer Toni Dove, among others.
Conversation circled around the rise in the digitization of media and what this means for the future of cinema. Interestingly, this focus didn’t center solely on the question of digital vs. film in terms of media-making, although that was a valuable consideration of the last panel. The question of the audience’s role in the digital age was also considered, taking into account forms of interactive cinema and the role of the Internet in sourcing material from the audience (such as the amateur scripts sent in for professional actors to perform through ProjectRANT, for example), and what that might mean for media producers and consumers. Does interactivity mean free labor for media producers in some cases? What might be the implications of consumers who are simultaneously producers?
Not all questions were answered and tied up neatly with a bow, and rightly so. The progressive nature of the conference not only allowed for a wonderful expansion to the slate of Film and Media Studies events, but expanded how we think about media, its production, and its consumption. The conference encouraged us to wonder what the future of media might look like, an interesting but unsure landscape to traverse. We look forward to continuing the conversation with future conferences.
“Basic Training” at Florentine Films:
"One of my favorite courses of all time was Experimental Film Theory, taught by John Mann. After watching the brilliant documentary experimental films "Night and Fog" (Alain Resnais) and "La Jetee" (Chris Marker), I gained an understanding of how film can communicate ideas, emotions, and stories unlike any other medium."
Emily Needell, class of 2012
Production Assistant, Comedy Central
Welcome Film & Media Studies Majors & Minors
Students are strongly encouraged to advance through course levels in rational order: introductory levels, followed by intermediate, followed by advanced. At least one 200-level film studies requirement must be met by the end of sophomore year. Both 200-level requirements must be met by the end of junior year.
Majors are strongly encouraged to complete at least one writing-intensive course emphasizing critical writing in their freshman year, by winter of sophomore year at the latest, regardless of their skill level. Critical writing courses in FMS or in the Expository Writing Program are acceptable.
Production students should take at least one screenwriting course, in either FMS or the Writing Seminars. An acting class in the Theatre Arts & Studies Program is also encouraged for narrative filmmakers.
One 500-level course, either an internship or an independent study, is required for completion of the major.
Internships play an essential role in shaping a professional identity, as well as helping students discover and develop their interests and aptitudes. Resources for identifying and pursuing internship opportunities are available through the Film and Media Studies Program office. Students may undertake multiple internships through their early careers. The internship required for fulfillment of the major should be completed or committed to no later than the end of junior year.
Independent Studies allow students, working with a faculty advisor, to focus closely and at length on individual interests and projects, whether in production, screenwriting, or film studies. Students should have completed or made concrete plans for completion of their required Independent Study no later than the end of junior year.
We encourage students both in and out of the classroom to challenge themselves, broaden their understanding of what film is and can do. All students should extend themselves to silent film, documentary film, experimental film, as well as to films of various national cinemas and reflecting various modes of production. In addition, majors and minors should regularly read and comment on the FMS blog, HopkinsCinemAddicts, and should attend Film Society screenings when possible.
Thinking About Becoming a Film and Media Studies Major?
"The best part of the program is definitely the hands on experience we get but also the people I’ve met and been able to talk to." - Alexandra Byer, Class of 2011
"Being a Film & Media Studies major introduced me to both the more theoretical study of film as well as real world experience though my internships, and it has completely defined what I want to do with my life after Hopkins." - Clare Richardson, Class of 2012
Check out the Academics blog and see personal stories from our Film and Media Studies majors. These blogs are student-written and give you an up-close look at the experiences that real students have had at Johns Hopkins. You’ll read about how students chose their majors and minors and the opportunities they are discovering. Within the blogs, you’ll read about students who have changed or added majors, taken classes completely unrelated to their major, fulfilled multiple majors and minors, and otherwise explored their academic curiosities here.