The Film & Media Studies program at F&M explores all aspects of visual communication and expression. Students in our program make movies—narrative, documentary, and experimental. They study movies as cultural and historical artifacts. And they think deeply about how moving images work—as art, entertainment, technology, commerce, and a powerful instrument for discovering and sharing knowledge and ideas.

The Film & Media Studies curriculum deliberately integrates practical skills, historical knowledge, and critical thinking. It also deliberately emphasizes  the ways in which the study of moving images connects to, borrows from, and enriches other disciplines, from every division of the College. So our majors develop an exceptionally well-rounded understanding of moving images. At the same time, our program provides majors with the resources and support they need to pursue particular interests in depth. Resources and support include production equipment, grants for student work, internship opportunities, face-to-face contact with professionals, and lots of individualized attention from the faculty. Majors have carried out advanced projects in areas ranging from narrative filmmaking, to media management, to the psychology of cinema.

Because of their broad knowledge and their specific skills, graduates of the Film & Media Studies program at F&M are well prepared for a wide range of careers, not just in film and the media, but also in communications, business, scientific research, higher education, and many other fields.

Majors & Minor

Film & Media Studies can be a major, a minor, half of a joint major with another program, such as Creative Writing or Psychology, or part of a self-designed Special Studies major, with courses from two other departments. Examples of Special Studies majors with a Film & Media Studies component are "The Nature of Myth," "Media & Marketing," and "Comedy and Laughter." 

A Major in Film & Media Studies 
consists of eleven (11) courses:

These include the following five courses:

  • TDF 162 - Fundamentals of Motion Picture Production
  • TDF 165 - Introduction to Film and Media Studies
  • TDF 267 - Motion Picture History
  • TDF 363 - Film Theory Seminar
  • TDF 470 - Thesis Project in Film and Media Studies

Two of the following production workshops:

  • TDF 362 - Narrative Video Workshop
  • TDF 364 - Documentary Video Workshop
  • TDF 367 - Experimental Workshop

One additional 300-level film history, criticism, or theory course.

Plus three electives in Film & Media Studies and related subjects approved by the program director (see electives listings to the right).

A Minor in Film & Media Studies 
consists of six (6) courses:

These include the following four courses:

  • TDF 162 - Fundamentals of Motion Picture Production
  • TDF 165 - Introduction to Film and Media Studies
  • TDF 267 - Motion Picture History
  • TDF 363 - Film Theory Seminar

Plus two other Film & Media Studies courses or electives (see below).

Electives in Film & Media Studies 

Automatically approved electives include TDF courses in writing, acting and design (186, 225, 228, 229, and 283), Videodance, and film courses in other departments (e.g., Italian Cinema, Cinema and the American Jewish Experience). Film Theory (363) and  300-level video production workshops (362, 364, 367) may be repeated as electives. Students with an interest in interdisciplinary research involving Film & Media Studies (e.g., arts management, visual anthropology, movies for social change, the psychology of cinema) may petition the program director to include courses from other departments as electives within the major. 


Special Offerings - Fall '15

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(A),  (H), and (S) indicate that a course fulfills the Art, Humanities, or Social Science distribution requirement, respectively. 

  • CNX 149
    Terror & Tears

    This course explores two popular film genres that are carefully constructed to provoke strong emotional responses: the horror film and the melodrama. We will examine how these movies are designed to target specific reactions in the viewers' bodies, such as emotional swells, shivers, tears, and tingles. The course considers these films as cultural documents - both historical and present - that can specifically influence viewers' ideas, values, and attitudes about community and identity. Our investigation will enable students to witness popular cinema as both a revealing window into cultural priorities and a mirror that reflects one's own fundamental fears and desires.


  • TDF 275
    Russian Cinema (H)

    This course is an introduction to Russian and Soviet film history. By following its cinematic output from 1915-2014 we will come to understand both Russia’s contribution to the art form and the significance of film in Russia’s political and cultural identity. We will consider the role of films in various aspects of Russian and Soviet society, particularly as propaganda, experiment, entertainment, ideological conformity and ideological dissent. This course will explore films by Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Andrei Tarkovsky, Nikita Mikhailkov, and Aleksandr Sokurov among others. Taught in English with subtitled films.

    Prof. Jonathan Stone, Russian

  • TDF 345 (A)

    An intensive workshop investigating the relatively young art form of videodance. In addition to reading and writing assignments, coursework will entail analysis of existing dance films and creation of original works. Students will collaborate in all aspects of the creative process, which includes directing, choreography, filming, and editing. Prerequisite: TDF 116 or Permission.      

    Pam Vail, Dance


  • TDF 375 (A)
    Writing for the Screen

    Through workshop, lecture, class discussion, and screenings, this course investigates the art and craft of three types of writing for the screen - documentary, experimental, and narrative - working out particular and common traits, strategies, and approaches, in both theory and practice. Prerequisite: TDF162 (Motion Picture Production) or TDF165 (Introduction to Film & Media Studies) or permission of professor. (Students with interest and experience in creative writing need not be daunted by the prereqs. Just contact the professor at deitzen@fandm.edu.)



  • TDF 376 (A)
    The Films of Clint Eastwood

    TDF 376 (A)</br>The Films of Clint Eastwood Image

    Clint Eastwood is an American icon and a Hollywood factotum. This seminar examines his body of work against the backdrop of changing U.S. culture - as art, as entertainment, and as popular myth making. Prerequisite: TDF162 (Motion Picture Production) or TDF165 (Introduction to Film & Media Studies) or permission of professor. (Students with background in American Studies, history, or literary analysis need not be daunted by the prereqs. Just contact the professor at deitzen@fandm.edu.) 


Scholarly Emphasis

  • Modern Times
  • TDF 165 (A)
    Intro to Film & Media Studies
    Every Semester

    An introduction to the way movies are put together, to basic critical terms and concepts used in the study of movies, videos and television and to the complex roles that cinema and television play in society—as art, business, entertainment and a medium of information and ideology. 


  • TDF 245 (A)
    The History of Photography

    An examination of the first 100 years of the medium from its invention to the documentary photography produced under the Farm Security Administration in the late 1930s. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship of photography to the arts of painting and literature, as well as on contextualizing photographs as documents of scientific investigation, ethnographic research, social history and personal expression. Prerequisite: Strongly recommended that students have had at least one art history course. Same as ART 245.

    Rick Kent, Art & Art History 

  • TDF 265 (A)
    Motion Picture History
    Every Fall

    An introduction to doing history with movies. Treats movies from the 1890s to the 1960s. Provides an overview of the evolution of popular movies and of influential artistic and rhetorical counter-currents, including national film movements, experimental cinema and documentary. Same as ART 267. 


  • TDF 318 (S)
    Media & Public Opinion
    Spring 2017

    Examines the interrelationship between the mass media (including print, broadcast and new media), public opinion and American politics, giving particular attention to ways in which the media and public opinion both help influence and are influenced by the political process. Prerequisite: GOV 100. Same as GOV 318.

    Stephen Medvic, Government 

  • TDF 363 (A)
    Film Theory Seminar
    Spring 2016

    Advanced seminar devoted to applying classical and contemporary film theory to particular problems and movies. Topic varies from term to term. Same as ART 363.

    Special Effects will be the topic of the seminar for Spring 2016:
    From the “magic” of early special effects to the wonders of science films, animated films, and CGI spectacles, this course explores how cinematic illusions combine art and science, involve deception and discovery, and evoke both awe at and curiosity about the techniques and technologies behind moving images. 


Production Emphasis 

  • animation
  • TDF 162 (A)
    Motion Picture Production
    Every Semester

    This course teaches video production basics through a series of short creative exercises in videography, location lighting, sound recording, non-linear editing, and video effects. Designed as a prerequisite for upper-level video production workshops (e.g., 362, 364). Same as as ART 162.

    Eitzen, Moss

  • TDF 362 (A)
    Narrative Video Workshop
    Fall 2016

    An intensive workshop in visual storytelling. Students work in teams to develop, shoot and edit short narratives. This course requires an unusual amount of outside-of-class work. Prerequisite: TDF 162, “Fundamentals of Motion Picture Production.” Same as ART 362.   

    Eitzen, Moss

  • TDF 364 (A)
    Documentary Video Workshop
    Spring 2016

    An intensive video production workshop, focusing on documentary as a means of community building and grass-roots activism. Students work in small groups to produce short documentaries, frequently with a community partner. The topic or focus of the course varies from term to term. Prerequisite: TDF 162, “Fundamentals of Motion Picture Production.” Same as ART 364.

    Eitzen, Moss

  • TDF 367 (A)
    Experimental Workshop
    Spring 2017

    An intensive workshop in experimental filmmaking politics and poetics, this course focuses on avant-garde movements from the early 20th century to present-day. Experimental film generally strays from conventional forms and narratives, alternatively emphasizing painterly, expressive, political, and lyrical tendencies in moving images. Student projects will engage specific aesthetics and approaches studied in class through the creation of a series of original works. Prerequisite: TDF/ART162 or permission of the instructor.







Independent Study Courses

  • TDF 399
    Internship for Credit

    Students with an interest in media production or media management are encouraged to do an internship. Multiple internships for credit are permitted but only one may count toward a major or minor. Students typically do Film & Media Studies internships during the summer, but we permit them to postpone completion of the required academic component until the Fall term, to avoid paying extra tuition. 
    Students find internships with the help of the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development, through postings in the department and email announcements sent to majors, and through their own research. Recent internships include The View, jash.com, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Mirimax, the reality TV show Amish Mafia, Steiner Studios, and work with local production companies and TV stations.
    Permission required.
    Eitzen, Moss

  • TDF 476
    Senior Thesis

    A thesis project is required of all Film & Media Studies majors. A thesis project may be a production or a research project. Students may work individually or collaboratively. With rare exceptions, thesis projects are spread over two semesters, in students’ senior year. 

    The purpose of this course is to facilitate and coordinate students’ projects. There will be certain required benchmarks for students each term: a pitch, a project schedule,a grant proposal or research prospectus, and a research portfolio in the first term. Presentations of work in progress and a formal presentation of finished work in the second term. Beyond that, students set their own goals and agendas.

    Permission required.


  • TDF 490
    Independent Study

    Three kinds of independent study project are possible in Film & Media Studies:

    •   Directed reading and research on some scholarly topic, typically culminating in a research paper. Examples include "Law on TV," "Visualizing Data," and "Music in Bollywood."

    •   A creative project or projects, such as an animated short, a screenplay, or a documentary. With rare exceptions, students are expected to have taken three production courses (TDF 162 and two video workshops) before undertaking an independent study involving intensive video production.

    •   Projects involving some combination of scholarship and creative work. Examples include "Scoring a Short Film," "Marketing Design," and "Stan Brakhage's 'Innocent Eye'."

    Collaborative independent studies are permitted.

    Permission of a professor and the department chair are required. Before final approval, students must present a proposal including goals and outcomes; a bibliography and/or filmography; a schedule of work, including meetings and "deliverables"; and specific assessment and grading criteria.

Projected Course Rotation

Please note: this projected course rotation is tentative and may be changed at any time.