Film and Electronic Arts
Critical thinking and creative work go hand in hand in the Film and Electronic Arts Program, which integrates a wide variety of creative practices with the study of history and criticism of the medium. All production majors take required courses in film history while pursuing filmmaking. A student writing a Senior Project in the history of film or video will have taken one or two production workshops.
Areas of Study
The program encourages interest in a wide range of expressive modes in film and electronic arts. These include animation, narrative and non-narrative filmmaking, documentary, performance, and installation practices. 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 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. For Moderation, each prospective major presents a selection of work in film/electronic arts or a historical/critical essay of 10 pages. In the Upper College, students choose one of two tracks: production or film history and criticism. The junior year is devoted mainly to deepening and broadening the student’s creative and critical awareness; the senior year to a yearlong Senior Project, which can take the form of a creative work in film/electronic arts or an extended, in-depth historical or critical essay. Students majoring in the program are expected to complete the following courses prior to Moderation: two film history courses and two 200-level film or electronic media production workshops. Upper College students must complete Film 208, Introduction to 16mm Film; a 300-level film or electronic media production workshop; a 300-level film history course; Film 405, Senior Seminar (no credit); and the Senior Project.
Students on the film history and criticism track are expected to complete the following courses prior to Moderation: three film courses and one 200-level film or electronic media production workshop. Upper College students must complete two 300-level film history courses; a course outside of the program related to proposed Senior Project work; the Senior Project; and additional coursework charted in consultation with the student’s adviser.
Recent Senior Projects in Film and Electronic Arts
- “An Acquaintance of Interest”
- “Find the Double Entendre in Things (and Like to Sip from a Straw),” a movie about eye surgery
- “Fly Not Hence,” a short film about bees
- “Remnants,” a documentary showing a glimpse into the past and present life of cattle ranchers in Gila County, Arizona
The Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center houses a 110-seat theater equipped with 16mm, 35mm, and 4K digital projection; performance space with digital projection capabilities; shooting studio with a control room; computer lab with current Adobe editing software; darkroom; two seminar/screening rooms; editing suites for sound and video; studios for seniors; and a film archive. Visiting artist talks, screenings, symposia, and other public events are regularly scheduled in the theater. For production classes, students take advantage of the resources of the equipment office and have access to the various workrooms. The program also has an in-house media collection that consists of features, documentaries, experimental films, and past 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; Buñuel, Almodóvar, and the Catholic Church; and LGBTQ Archiving.
Program Director: Ben Coonley
Jacqueline Susan Goss
A. Sayeeda Moreno