Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Film & New Media Studies


Film and New Media Studies 298. Experimental Courses

Spring 2015

Contemporary Filmmaking in the Middle East

This course examines narrative and documentary feature films by groundbreaking contemporary filmmakers in the Middle East. Giving particular attention to work by women filmmakers, our objectives will be: (1) to understand the social and political context that shapes filmmaking practices in the region and (2) to investigate how film has been used to craft cinematic representations of everyday life in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Palestine/Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Over the course of the semester, we will engage critically with a selection of films in Arabic (with English subtitles) by filmmakers that convey humanistic storytelling through a strong point of view. We will consider how narrative, cinematography, editing, and sound come together in a range of approaches to critique, contradict, and comment on historical events and political realities. An exploration of themes of humor, romantic love, family history, gendered roles, and political violence will be weaved throughout the course. Required weekly film viewing.


Digital Editing

A study of film and video editing from both technical and aesthetic perspectives. Students will utilize Adobe Premiere, AfterEffects, and Photoshop to engage in multiple editing projects spanning a variety of modes; Narrative, Documentary, Experimental, Remix, and Video Essay. Students will examine how a story/idea is most effectively assembled and enhanced through the editing process. In addition to the technical aspects of digital editing, we will discuss concepts such as sound/picture relationship, juxtaposition of images, shot duration, pacing and rhythm, and continuity.


Experimental Filmmaking

An intensive hands-on film/video class that is focused on the production of experimental films. Students will produce three short experimental films, utilizing a variety of shooting media and sound design tools. Furthermore, students will debate the definition of “experimental film” as we explore works by early practitioners such as Maya Deren, Josephy Cornell, Stan Brakhage, and Kenneth Anger and contemporary artists including David Lynch, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, and Reynold Reynolds.

Advanced Writing: Digital Controversies

In an electronic era, message and medium alike spark debate. Brownsville Brooklyn police used Omnipresence, a video surveillance technology, leading one journalist to ask, “Sound policing, or stop and frisk by another name?” When Europe’s top court ruled that Google could be compelled to erase news articles about individuals, scholars wondered, “Should people have the right to be forgotten?” This course explores the different ways that writers discover, frame and deliberate digital controversies. Students will read and write about these controversies, honing their writing skills by composing and revising print essays, blogs, and electronic portfolios in our workshop-centered course.

Prerequisite: English 101 or AP English credit.


The World on a Screen: Globalization and the Sociology of National Cinema

This course will explore what selected national cinemas reveal about how their societies are coming to terms with their social, economic, political and cultural development. We will view representative films from India, Ireland, Iran, Israel/Palestine and Romania in conjunction with other documents to evaluate how filmmakers treat issues in their fellow citizens lives: including poverty and inequality; gender and family relationships; violence and political conflict; social and cultural change and other problems of living. Attention will also be paid to understanding the evolution of these various industries, their relationship to international cinema, what kinds of impact they may be having on both domestic and international audiences and how feature films can best be utilized as documents in social and cultural analysis.


Summer 2013

Visualizing Cultural Data

Effective data visualization is equal parts computational thinking, critical inquiry and creative design. This course introduces students to these various dimensions of visualizing cultural data (i.e., the data generated by and about people and their interactions with one another, technology and their surroundings). It is designed with beginners in mind, so there is no prior programming experience is required. Students will use entry-level tools to design an information dashboard, a narrative infographic, a customized map, and an interactive web-based visualization. The course emphasizes the value of hands-on, project-based learning with respect to computational thinking, information fluency, digital literacy and design skills – skills that are increasingly important to academic success and professional pursuits alike. Offered in summer only.