“Film studies” is a type of academic course of study. This discipline is concerned with the history of moving images/cinema and looks at political, artistic and economic spheres of the art form. In modern times, studies in film take a critical and theoretical approach. Early studies in film usually focused on production of moving images. In some institutions, majors in ‘film studies’ may be just referred to as ‘film’ or media arts’.
Courses found in film programs
In undergraduate film studies programs, some common classes include courses in the history of film, film basics (using both digital and analogue technologies), animation, lighting, sound, camera use, editing, screenwriting, acting, directing and post-production techniques. Some institutions may offer special courses that cover the history of notable film makers and types of films, including Walt Disney and the James Bond series. Graduate program courses can include specialty topics such as Japanese cinema and more in-depth history courses.
Notable film schools
The University of Southern California is considered one of the top film schools in the United States. The famous Ron Howard attended this institution and it receives generous financial support from George Lucas, well known for the ‘Star Wars’ series. Columbia University is another top film school in the United States. It produced one of the directors behind the movie ‘Frozen,’ Jennifer Lee. It is also where Kimberly Peirce, the director of the popular movie ‘Carrie,’ studied film.
A degree in film studies can lead to a number of promising, rewarding careers. Depending on the concentration of your degree, you can write about films for journals and magazines, or find employment in the more technical side of the industry – working in TV and video production as an editor, director or production assistant. Some graduates manage to find work in marketing and communications as well. Of course, another great choice is academia. This option usually requires at least a Master’s degree in film studies.
Film studies appeal to those who are fascinated by movies and cinema and the processes behind the magic of moving images. It is a good choice for someone who wishes to get into directing for the screen, or for those who wish to create films from scratch at an independent level. The industry is fiercely competitive but there is a growing market for independent film makers of all genres – documentaries, short films and other on screen works.