Tag Archive for Film Studies

NEH Supports Cinema Archives

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has offered Wesleyan’s Center for Film Studies Cinema Archives a $425,000 challenge grant. Support from NEH, which requires a three to one match with private gifts, will ensure that the Archives continue to grow and flourish.

The four-year NEH grant will help endow a full-time curatorial position for the Cinema Archives, a collection which includes the person papers and other materials of such seminal film icons as Frank Capra, Elia Kazan, Federico Fellini, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and Ingrid Bergman, among others.

The NEH grant will only partially endow the position and, because it is a matching grant, Wesleyan will be responsible for raising an additional $1.275 million to ensure the position is completely endowed.

Film Studies Presents “Women and Film” Speaker Series

The Center for Film Studies will present “An Evening with Isabella Rossellini” on Nov. 10. She’ll answer questions about her illustrious career and discuss her current projects. (Photo by F. Ferri)

This fall, Wesleyan University’s Center for Film Studies will sponsor a special film and speaker series titled WOMEN AND FILM. This series is dedicated to work made by women. Each installment of the series will feature a movie helmed by a female filmmaker, to be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker herself.

Made possible by special support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, WOMEN AND FILM will comprise a wide variety of cinematic experiences, including short films, documentaries and a romantic feature film.

“I am thrilled that the Academy is sponsoring WOMEN AND FILM because I’ve wanted to do this for ages—to showcase women in charge of films and doing all kinds of wonderful things, from directing to producing to writing,”  sayd Jeanine Basinger, chair of the film studies. “These women are finding their way in a business notorious for being difficult for women to succeed in.”

The series is free to the public and will run for three Thursdays in November—skipping Thanksgiving—and the first Thursday in December. The program is as follows:

Nov. 3: THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB; Special guest speaker Robin Swicord was already

Academy Foundation Supports Film’s Speaker Series

The Department of Film Studies received a $7,500 grant from the Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to support the AMPAS Speaker Series in 2011-12. The grant was awarded on May 1. Lea Carlson, associate director of film studies, is the grant’s P.I.

This is the third year Wesleyan received support from the Academy to fund the speaker series. Film Studies will welcome about four speakers to campus in the second half of the fall semester.

Writer, Filmmaker Keret Speaks at Israeli Film Festival

Internationally acclaimed Israeli writer and filmmaker Etgar Keret (right) was the guest speaker for the screening of Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006), the final screening of the Spring Ring Family Israeli Film Festival on April 7. This dark comedy, directed by Goran Dukic, is an adaptation of Keret’s novella, “Kneller's Happy Campers,” a search for a lost love, newfound friends, and the continued quest for happiness in life and after life. Pictured at left is Jeremy Zwelling, associate professor of religion, emeritus.

Planned Parenthood Awards Students for “I Have Sex” Video

Planned Parenthood presented Wesleyan Uncut, a student group that promotes sexual dialogue on campus, with this year’s prestigious “Walk the Talk” award at their annual gala in Washington D.C. April 7. The students created a video titled “I Have Sex,” to speak out against an ideological attack against Planned Parenthood.

Uncut members Jacob Eichengreen ’13, Su Park ’12, Melanie Hsu ’13, Katya Botwinick ’13 and Laura Lupton ’12 attended the ceremony. Planned Parenthood funded their travel expenses to D.C.

Wesleyan Uncut conceptualized the film with filmmakers Eric Byler ’94 and Annabel Park.

The video has more than 286,000 views on YouTube and more than 825 followers on Facebook. The video is featured below:

YouTube Preview Image.

Valenti ’12 Documents Cancer Survivor Stories for Middlesex Hospital


Film studies major Zachary Valenti '12 is creating a documentary featuring eight female breast cancer survivors for the Middlesex Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center and the Center for Survivorship’s "Project Pink" event on April 14.


Film studies major Zachary Valenti ’12 understands how cancer can devastate a family. The disease claimed two grandparents – his father’s mother and mother’s father – as well as a stepfather. As an adolescent, Valenti was already aware of the risks of male breast cancer. He suffered from gynocomastia, the abnormal development of breast tissue in men.

For the past three months, Valenti has combined his life experiences and film studies skills for a project that raises breast cancer awareness in the local community.

Valenti is creating a documentary featuring eight female breast cancer survivors for the Middlesex Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center and the Center for Survivorship’s “Project Pink” event on April 14. Project Pink is a makeover and fashion show event to help breast cancer survivors feel “as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside.”

The volunteer project required Valenti to interview, film and edit the women’s stories.

“I’ve never been so conscious of my gender as I have talking to these women

Dombrowski Edits Book on Filmmaker Elia Kazan

Book edited by Lisa Dombrowski.

Lisa Dombrowski, associate professor of film studies, is the editor of the book, Kazan Revisited, published by Wesleyan University Press in March 2011.

According to WUP: A groundbreaking filmmaker dogged by controversy in both his personal life and career, Elia Kazan was one of the most important directors of postwar American cinema. In landmark motion pictures such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, and Splendor in the Grass, Kazan crafted an emotionally raw form of psychological realism.

Arriving in the wake of his centenary, Kazan Revisited engages and moves beyond existing debates regarding Kazan’s contributions to film, tackling the social, political, industrial, and aesthetic significance of his work from a range of critical perspectives.

In addition to editing the book, Dombrowski wrote the book’s introduction and a chapter on “Choreographing Emotions: Kazan’s CinemaScope Staging.” Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, chair of Film Studies and curator of the Cinema Archives, contributed a chapter on “On Kazan the Man.”

5 Questions With . . . Steve Collins on Filmmaking, Teaching

Steve Collins, assistant professor of film studies, in the Goldsmith Family Cinema. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

This issue we ask “5 Questions” of Steve Collins ’91. Collins is an assistant professor of film studies. He recently completed a new feature film, You Hurt My Feelings. His first feature, Gretchen, won the $50,000 Target Filmmaker Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival and has been shown on the Sundance Channel.

Q: What courses do you teach at Wesleyan, and what have you learned from working on films that you share with your students?

A: I teach an intro to 16mm film production class called “Sight and Sound” where we focus on how to tell a story without dialogue. For seniors I teach a year-long thesis film class, where the students develop, shoot and edit a 12-minute narrative. I also teach a course in screenwriting, where we focus on the short film form.

Films are dynamic living organisms. I try to pass on the rigor, passion and care that goes into their construction. As someone who makes films in addition to watching them, I can offer the firsthand proof to them that yes, directors do think very carefully about what they’re doing, where to place the camera, how to use sound, light, composition, editing, etcetera, to evoke the desired response from the audience.

Higgins Edits Book on Film Scholar Rudolf Arnheim

Book by Scott Higgins.

Scott Higgins, associate professor of film studies, edited the book, Arnheim for Film and Media Studies, published by Taylor & Francis, 2010.

Rudolf Arnheim (1904-2007) was a pioneering figure in film studies, best known for his landmark book on silent cinema Film as Art. He ultimately became more famous as a scholar in the fields of art and art history, largely abandoning his theoretical work on cinema. However, his later aesthetic theories on form, perception and emotion should play an important role in contemporary film and media studies.

In this new volume, edited by Higgins, an international group of leading scholars revisits Arnheim’s legacy for film and media studies. In 14 essays, the contributors bring Arnheim’s later work on the visual arts to bear on film and media, while also reassessing the implications of his film theory to help refine our grasp of Film as Art and related texts. The contributors discuss a broad range topics including Arnheim’s film writings in relation to modernism, his antipathy to sound as well as color in film, the formation of his early ideas on film against the social and political backdrop of the day, the wider uses of his methodology, and the implications of his work for digital media.

Hingorani, Bricca Explain Science Documentary Filmmaking Class in ASBMB Today

Stephen Devoto, associate professor of biology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, is featured in a video created by a student enrolled in the course, Making the Science Documentary.

Manju Hingorani, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and Jacob Bricca, adjunct assistant professor of film studies, explained their experimental cross-disciplinary course on science documentary filmmaking at Wesleyan in a December 2010 article published in American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Today.

In the article, Hingorani and Bricca wrote about their course, “Making the Science Documentary,” which they co-taught together, starting in 2007. The course was designed to introduce undergraduate students to the life sciences and to documentary filmmaking

Basinger on American Film Institute’s “Top 10” Jury

Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies and chair of the Film Studies Department, was a member of the American Film Institute motion picture jury for 2010. Basinger and the other 11 jury members released their annual list of the 10 best movies of the year on Dec. 12. The 10 films are: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours, The Social Network, The Town, Toy Story 3, True Grit and Winter’s Bone.

The AFI will honor the creative ensembles for each of the films and TV shows at a luncheon sponsored by Hewlett-Packard on Jan. 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif.

Basinger Awarded Grant to Support Film Speaker Series

Jeanine Basinger, chair and the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, curator of the Cinema Archives, received a $7,500 grant from the Academy Foundation to support the AMPAS 2010-2011 Speaker Series. The grant will be awarded Nov. 4 through Jan. 31, 2011.