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College of Arts and Letters

Program Description

The Film Program offers interdisciplinary coursework in the areas of film production, history, theory, criticism, and writing. The Film major aims at developing a deeper understanding of the art and practice of film, its complex components, and the artists whose vision have inspired generations of filmmakers. All students are required to take a common core that provides a foundation for film criticism and production. After completing the core, students select either the film studies or film production track. Students are supervised by the Film Coordinator.

Career Possibilities

Videographer · Cinematographer · Production Coordinator · Production Assistant · Lighting Designer · Gaffer · Grip · Film/Video Director · Production Sound Mixer · Sound Editor · Screenwriter · Script Supervisor · Video Editor · Effects Editor · Independent Filmmaker · Film Critic

Contact Information

Jenny Stark, Film Coordinator
Mendocino Hall 5027
(916) 278-6285











BA in Film

Total units required for Major: 39-45 units
Total units required for BA: 120

Lower Division Core Courses (6 Units)
FILM/COMS 27ADigital Film/Video Production2
FILM/COMS 27BDigital Film/Video Production Lab1
FILM/ENGL 97Introduction to Film Studies3
Upper Division Core Courses (15 Units)
FILM/ENGL 105Film Theory and Criticism3
FILM/COMS 121Media Aesthetics3
FILM/INTD 124FAvant-Garde Film3
FILM/THEA 155Contemporary World Cinema3
HRS/HIST 169Hollywood and America3
Option Requirements (18-24 Units)
Select one of the options below:18 - 24
Option A: Digital Film/Video Production
Option B: Film Studies
Total Units39-45

Option A: Digital Film/Video Production (24 units)

Area Requirements (15 Units)
FILM/COMS 20AAudio Production2
FILM/COMS 20BAudio Production Lab1
FILM/COMS 124Writing Scripts for Film/Video3
FILM/COMS 128Non-Studio Video Production3
Select two of the following:6
Film and Video Production Management
Staging and Lighting Digital Video
Theory of Film/Video Editing
Video Art
Capstone Courses (3 Units) 1
FILM/COMS 185Senior Practicum in Video Production 23
Electives (3-6 Units)
Select 3-6 units in consultation with your major advisor3 - 6
Total Units21-24

During the first semester of the capstone experience students will be required to serve as crew members of a production team. Students taking the class twice will be given the option of directing a video.


This course may be repeated once for credit.

Option B: Film Studies (18 units)

Area Requirements (3 Units)
Select one of the following:3
Video Art
Film and Video Production Management
Staging and Lighting Digital Video
Theory of Film/Video Editing
Capstone Course (3 Units)
FILM/COMS 192Senior Seminar in Film3
Electives (12 Units)
Select 12 units in consultation with your major advisor12
Total Units18

Minor - Film Studies

The Film Studies minor emphasizes coursework and independent study in the areas of film appreciation, history, theory, and criticism and writing within the context of a liberal arts tradition. The Film Studies curriculum includes upper division classes offered by the Departments of Art, Communication Studies, English, Foreign Languages, History, Humanities and Religious Studies, and Theatre and Dance. The Film Studies minor is supervised by the Film Studies Coordinator.

Units required for Minor: 18

Lower Division Courses (3 Units)
THEA 5Aesthetics of Theatre and Film3
Upper Division Courses (15-18 Units)
FILM/ENGL 105Film Theory and Criticism3
HRS 180The Film3
Select 9-12 units from the following electives:9 - 12
Film as an Art Form
Modern East Asian Cinema
Media Aesthetics
Film and Video Production Management
Film As Communication
Writing For Television
Masterpieces of the Cinema
Films of Great Directors
Fiction Into Film
Recent American Films
Hollywood and America
Contemporary Issues in Film
World Religions and Cultures in Cinema
Women in Film and American Culture
Latin American Film
Multicultural Perspectives in American Film
Total Units18-21

How to Read Course Descriptions

FILM 20A.     Audio Production. 2 Units

Corequisite(s): FILM 20B.

Introduction to the theory and practice of audio production in radio, television, film and recording applications.

Cross-listed: COMS 20A.

FILM 20B.     Audio Production Lab. 1 Unit

Corequisite(s): FILM 20A.

Experience in audio console operation, microphone selection and use, and audio recording in radio, television, film and recording applications.

Cross-listed: COMS 20B.

FILM 27A.     Digital Film/Video Production. 2 Units

Corequisite(s): FILM 27B.

Introduction to the techniques and aesthetics of digital film making. The course covers camera technique and cinematography.

Cross-listed: COMS 27A.

FILM 27B.     Digital Film/Video Production Lab. 1 Unit

Corequisite(s): FILM 27A.

Introduction to the techniques and aesthetics of digital film making. The course covers camera angles, basic lighting, framing, and non-linear editing techniques.

Cross-listed: COMS 27B.

FILM 97.     Introduction to Film Studies. 3 Units

Examines cinematic techniques, styles, vocabulary, and discourses. Introduces different ways for writing about films and for working with a variety of cinematic terms. Film form and style will be studied by examining specific scenes in films from different genres, nations, and directors. Film used throughout the course will be selected from different historical periods.

Cross-listed: ENGL 97.

FILM 105.     Film Theory and Criticism. 3 Units

Survey of film theory focusing on Auteurism, Class, Expressionism, Formalism, Genre, Gender, Narratology, Neorealism, Phenomonology, Post-Structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Realism, Semiology, Structuralism, and Third Cinema.

Cross-listed: ENGL 105.

FILM 121.     Media Aesthetics. 3 Units

Overview and analysis of the primary aesthetic tools used to create messages in video and film. The basic properties of light, color, area, space, shape, sound, time and motion are defined and discussed as they relate to media production. Introduces students to the concepts and vocabulary necessary for effectively conceiving, producing or criticizing mediated messages. Designed primarily for students with interest in digital media. Provides a foundation for students working in media criticism.

Cross-listed: COMS 121.

FILM 124.     Writing Scripts for Film/Video. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): ENGL 1A and ENGL 20.

Developing narratives, documentaries, educational, promotional, and experimental short screenplays. Students are expected to develop a writing style and master screenwriting and audio/visual scripting formats. Scripts will be developed to be produced in advanced production courses: COMS/FILM 128 and COMS/FILM 185.

Cross-listed: COMS 124.

FILM 124F.     Avant-Garde Film. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): ENGL 97 or PHOT 102.

A survey of experimental films from the beginning of the cinema in the 1890s through today's avant garde. The course will emphasise film making as a means of personal, artistic expression and will pay particular attention to those aspects of cinema that are typically ignored or marginalized in mainstream Hollywood movies. Films we will study include those by: Melies, Porter, Richter, Leger, Cornell, Deren, Brackhage and Gehr.

Cross-Listed: INTD 124F.

FILM 128.     Non-Studio Video Production. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): FILM 20A, FILM 20B, FILM 27A and FILM 27B each with a grade of "B-" or better.

Production of video materials using portable cameras and recorders. Application of electronic field production and post-production techniques.

Cross-listed: COMS 128.

FILM 129.     Film and Video Production Management. 3 Units

Management and administration of the preproduction and production process. Course to include script breakdown, budgeting, scheduling, and other preproduction and production management skills needed for film and video production. Special attention on the history, development and current practices of the Production Manager.

Cross-listed: COMS 129.

FILM 130.     Staging and Lighting Digital Video. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): FILM 20A, FILM 20B, FILM 27A and FILM 27B each with a grade of "B-" or better.

Introduction to the aesthetics, concepts and techniques used to control lighting in digital video productions. Aspects of staging, blocking and composition in the context of studio and location lighting.

Cross-listed: COMS 130.

FILM 141.     Theory of Film/Video Editing. 3 Units

Study of history and theory of film and video editing. Many films are viewed and discussed, examining how editing theory is put into practice.

Cross-listed: COMS 141.

FILM 155.     Contemporary World Cinema. 3 Units

A historical review of the development of major international film styles and themes. Theoretical and critical concepts derived from this study of international film and then used as the basis to analyze contemporary films of South America, Europe, India, East Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Emphasis is on both the development of formal film techniques and a comparison of the unique cultural values that shape the film narrative style.

Crosslisted: FILM 155

FILM 185.     Senior Practicum in Video Production. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): FILM 128 with a minimum grade of "C-" or better; and instructor permission.

Assignments in various phases of video production including creative use of camera, sound and lighting, editing, production design, production planning/management, and directing.

Cross-listed: COMS 185.

FILM 192.     Senior Seminar in Film. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Completion of the Film Studies core, and (GWAR Certification before Fall 09, or WPJ score of 70+, or at least a C- in ENGL 109M or ENGL 109W).

Research seminar that provides an in-depth investigation of film as an art form, a medium of mass communication and a means of personal expression. Subject will vary according to instructor.

Cross-listed: COMS 192.