Division of the Arts
Film and Electronic Arts
Critical thinking and creative work go hand in hand in the Film and Electronic Arts Program, which integrates various creative practices with the study of theory and criticism. For example, all filmmaking majors take courses in film history and video production, and a student writing a Senior Project in the history of film and electronic arts will have taken some kind of creative production workshop.
Areas of Study
The program encourages interest in a wide range of expressive modes in film, video, and the expanding field of computer-based art. These include screenwriting, animation, narrative and non-narrative filmmaking, documentary, and interactive video. Regardless of a student's choice of specialization, the program's emphasis leans toward neither fixed professional formulas nor mere technical expertise, but rather toward imaginative engagement and the cultivation of an individual voice that has command over the entire creative process. For example, a student interested in narrative filmmaking would be expected to write an original script, shoot it, and then edit the film into its final form. Students are also expected to take advantage of Bard's liberal arts curriculum by studying subjects that relate to their specialties. A documentarian might take courses in anthropology, an animator in painting, a screenwriter in literature, and a film critic in art history.
A student's first year is devoted primarily to acquiring a historical and critical background. The focus in the sophomore year is on learning the fundamentals of production and working toward Moderation. Before Moderation each prospective major presents to the review board a completed 16mm film and videotape, a full-length script, or a 10-page historical/critical essay. In the Upper College, students choose one of two tracks: production (including screenwriting) or film history and criticism. The junior year is devoted mainly to deepening and broadening the student's creative and critical awareness, and the senior year to a yearlong Senior Project, which can take the form of a creative work in film or video, a full-length screenplay, or an extended, in-depth historical or critical essay.
Students majoring in the program are expected to complete the following courses prior to Moderation: Film 113-114, History of Cinema (or any other introductory-level film history course); two 200-level production courses in film and video; a history course within the program; and one course in the division but outside the program. Upper College students are required to complete a Major Conference; a course outside the program related to proposed Senior Project work; Physics 118, Light and Color (or another related laboratory or social science course); and the Senior Seminar (noncredit).
Recent Senior Projects in Film and Electronic Arts
- "Decoy," a feature-length script about a young American caught between rural tradition and an urbancentric social landscape
- "The Enigmatic Films of Nicholas Roeg"
- "The Inherent Possibility of Achieving a State of Balance with Nature: An Analysis of Terrence Malick's The New World"
- "Persistence of Vision," the untold story of the greatest animated film never made
The Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center houses a 110-seat theater equipped with 16mm and 35mm film and video projection; performance space; shooting studio with control room; analog editing suite; computer lab; two seminar/ screening rooms; darkroom; editing suites for sound and video; studios for seniors; and a film archive. Visiting artist talks, screenings, symposia, and cosponsored events are regularly scheduled in the Film Center theater. For production classes, students take advantage of the resources of maintenance and equipment offices. The program also has a video study collection that consists of hundreds of titles, including features, documentaries, experimental and avant-garde films, and Senior Projects.
In addition to regularly scheduled academic and production courses, the program offers advanced study on a one-to-one basis with a professor. Recent tutorials include Film Sound
, and the Catholic Church
; and The Archive and Its (Dis)contents.