Film Studies

Film and video are ubiquitous in contemporary society, combining image and text to create a powerful medium which increasingly reflects us, defines us, persuades us, markets us, and tells our stories. Students all over the country--and world--are majoring in Film Studies: to teach, to succeed in the business world, to enter graduate study, to work with non-profit arts or charitable organizations, to work in media of all types, or to create their own films.

DePauw offers both a major and a minor in Film Studies. The major requires nine (9) courses in film, which complement the other graduation requirements defined by the university, to fully engage students in the liberal arts model. The minor requires five (5) total courses in film. Specific requirements for the major and minor are listed below and aim to expose students to a variety of approaches to film study-- from history to theory and criticism, cultural to genre exploration, production to the final capstone senior project (for majors only) which enables students to focus on a scholarly or creative project of larger scope.

Course Catalog

Requirements for a major

Film Studies

Total courses required Nine and one-quarter
Core courses FILM 100 (ENG 167), FILM 200 (COMM 237), FILM 429, FILM 430
Other required courses One additional course in each of the following areas:
  • Film theory, criticism, and history courses
  • Production or screenwriting courses
  • Topics courses in film cultures and traditions
Number 300 and 400 level courses 4 (including the Senior Project)
Senior requirement and capstone experience Successful completion of FILM 430.
Recent changes in major FILM 429 (.25 credit) was added to the list of core courses and the number of courses required for the major was increased to 9.25, effective Fall 2014.
Writing in the Major As an interdisciplinary program, Film Studies recognizes that writing skills are applicable across multiple disciplines and methodologies, and most require an understanding of specific vocabulary and terminology as well as the ability to summarize, synthesize, and analyze both primary and secondary sources. Students are expected to write in a style consistent with published scholarly and artistic work in the discipline, and will practice writing in several stylistic modes, which could include research papers, reviews of scholarly literature, statements of research methodology, prospectus and proposals, text analysis, and writing for the screen. The writing in the major course requirement for Film Studies can be satisfied either through FILM 300 (Film Theory & Criticism) or other 300-400-level courses approved by the program director, with a grade of C (2.0) or above. These courses promote improvement in students' writing though a variety of methods including peer reviews, sequenced assignments, and multiple drafts and/or writing conferences. Majors are also required to submit a substantial written project of original research or creative expression as part of their senior capstone experience, to fulfill the remainder of the writing in the major requirement.

Requirements for a minor

Film Studies

Total courses required 5
Core courses One course from either FILM 100 (ENG 167) or FILM 200 (COMM 237)
Other required courses One class from each of the following areas:
  • Film theory, criticism, and history courses
  • Production or screenwriting courses
  • Topics courses in film cultures and traditions
Number 300 and 400 level courses 1

Courses in Film Studies

FILM 100

Introduction to Film

(cross-listed with ENG 167) Designed to develop students' ability to understand and appreciate film as art and to acquaint them with a representative group of significant works and the characteristics of film as a type of literature.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 200

Film and Culture

(cross-listed with COMM 237) This course is a critical examination of motion pictures as a medium of communication. In addition to looking at the films as texts to be 'read,' this course considers the institutional contexts in which films are produced, as well as the various reception contexts in which audiences see films. As a course in communication, we begin from the perspective that motion pictures are an important and meaningful part of the way we produce and re-produce our culture. Importantly, the course is not only concerned with how film texts communicate, but also how we communicate about films, as both fans and critics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 211

Documentary Film

(cross-listed with ARTH 250 or COMM 291) This discussion-based course is structured thematically around such topics as representations of the family, subjectivity and selfhood, crime and justice, sexuality, trauma, and war propaganda. We view a wide variety of documentary styles: poetic, ethnographic, direct cinema, government sponsored, social advocacy, rockumentary, mockumentary, pseudo-documentary, and different hybrid forms. These styles and themes are used as springboards to explore larger questions: What is the source of our fascination with the real? How can documentary evoke discourses of truth, realism and authenticity when the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction have become ever more fluid; when digital technology makes possible the absence of any camera or original referent from the 'real' world; and when documentarians make use of strategies such as staging, re-enactments, discontinuous editing, or various poetic devices? What are the conventions of documentary film practice, that provide the necessary impression is the ethical responsibility of a filmmaker to his/her subjects who are, after all, not actors, but people going about the business of their lives? To understand better the complex nature of representation, we also take into account how context, expectations, institutional supports, viewing communities, cultural frameworks, and historical and social forces (and their interaction) all contribute to the making of meaning in visual images.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 220

Topics in Film History

Introduces students to pivotal eras in cinema history (both U.S. and international) as well as questions of historiography. Courses will engage with historical approaches to film industries, film texts, and/or film audiences. Topics may include courses such as: U.S. Film History 1897-1950; Hollywood Since 1950. May be repeated for credit.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 230

Introduction to Digital Film Production

This course provides an introduction to camerawork, sound recording, lighting and editing in digital filmmaking, with short units on short film screenwriting and working with actors. Prior experience in film production not required. Prerequisite: FILM 100, FILM 200, FILM 241, or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities FILM 100, FILM 200, FILM 220, OR FILM 241. 1 course

FILM 241

Topics in Film Cultures and Traditions

(may be cross-listed with ENG 255 or M L 164) This course offers intensive examination of specific issues in film cultures and traditions, often those at the center of current critical interest. Topics for this course are conceived broadly to encompass studies of national cinemas, specific directors, filmmaking practices, and specific genres. May be repeated for credit with a different topic.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 250

Global Cinema

This introductory film course is a survey of contemporary films from across the globe. Students will be exposed to a diverse array of culturally distinct and unique aesthetic expressions and will be encouraged to engage perspective(s) apart from their own while discussing topics including, but not limited to, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, class, and sexual orientation.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-International Experience 1 course

FILM 260

African American Cinema

Reading African American cinema as a pivotal archive in African American cultural production, this course explores the diverse black aesthetic traditions that African American film has and continues to develop, explore, and shape. Specifically, the course will track how films produced, written, and/or directed by African Americans are situated in larger debates about the politics of race and representation.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Privilege, Power And Diversity 1 course

FILM 310

Film Theory

(may be cross-listed with ENG 395) Provides students who already have a background in introductory film studies with a sense of the most important theoretical issues in cinema. Topics may include the following: early film theory; film and (anti-) narrative; auteur theory; genre theory; semiotics; psychoanalysis; ideology and politics; feminist film theory; theories of documentary; postmodernism; post-colonialism and "third cinema"; new media and the digital era. Prerequisites: FILM 100 (ENG 167) or FILM 200 (COMM 237).

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 311

Topics in Gender, Sexuality and Cinema

(may be cross-listed with ENG 390 or COMM 401) Introduces students to the importance of gender as a category of film scholarship. Issues covered may include: women in film, masculinity and film, feminist filmmaking and film scholarship, women filmmakers. May be repeated for credit with a different topic.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 321

Advanced Topics in Cinema

A course on an advanced topic in film studies.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1

FILM 331

Advanced Topics in Digital Film Production

Advanced topics courses in the area of digital film production. Courses may include Intermediate Digital Filmmaking, Directing for the Camera, or Film Development as well as COMM 319, Writing for the Stage, Screen and TV, and ENG 342, Screenwriting Workshop. Some courses will require a prerequisite; prerequisite for Intermediate Digital Filmmaking: FILM 100, FILM 200, FILM 220, OR FILM 241 AND FILM 231 or its equivalent.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities Depends on topic. 1 course

FILM 420

Independent Study in Film

Independent project under tutorial supervision designed for juniors and seniors wishing to work in depth on a particular aspect of film study.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/2 - 1 course

FILM 429

Film Studies Senior Project Preparation

The Film Studies Senior Capstone Experience is the culmination of the Film Studies major, designed to provide students with a challenging final project of significant length and complexity, spanning fall and spring semester of senior year at DePauw. Whether the final project is a scholarly thesis paper of significant length and scope or a creative/production-oriented venture (such as a feature-length screenplay, short narrative film or documentary), the capstone project requires extensive planning, on-going organization, persistence and dedication, along with the ability to meet deadlines and work closely with a faculty advisor. To this end, the Film Studies Senior Project Prep (FILM 429) is a .25-credit prelude to the Film Studies Senior Project (FILM 430). In consultation with the Director of Film Studies and a faculty project advisor from the program, students prepare and submit proposals and supporting documents to the FS faculty committee. Once proposals are approved, students complete additional preparatory work, including research, extensive outlining, and/or preliminary pre-production, which is submitted to their advisor for evaluation. These phases of the project provide a solid base from which to begin the second, full (1) credit semester, and the more intensive writing/production phases of their capstone projects.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/4 course

FILM 430

Film Studies Senior Project

This course is the culmination of the Film Studies Senior Capstone Experience, building on the work completed in FILM 429. Working closely with their FS faculty project advisor, students immerse themselves in intensive writing and revision, and/or the progressive filmmaking phases of pre-production/production/post-production. Three deadlines must be met over the course of the semester: the first installment; completed first draft or edit; and the final draft or edit. (A failing grade on any project development phase results in course failure; and students must earn a C- or above in the course to graduate.) At the year's end, students present their work to a faculty and student audience. Prerequisite: FILM 429

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
FILM 429 1 course