Newsletter 2012

2012 Film Studies Program Annual Update


We offered seventeen film courses in the current year, 2011-12: History of Film, Westerns, Greater Middle East Cinema, Fellini, Script Analysis, Political Cinema, German Cinema, Writing About Film, Art of Film, film Noir, Screenwriting, Chinese Film, Surrealism, Festival, Filmmaking I and Filmmaking II, and a x-listed Film and Philosophy course.  We will offer several new courses next year, 2012-13, including courses in Musicals, Films of India, Hitchcock, Vampire films, French Cinema, Spielberg, Films of the 70’s, and Russian/Soviet Cinema, and two 400-level filmmaking courses in Documentary and in Narrative.

New Course Development

Dr Weihe is developing two course proposals for the New Core, both for Module One, in the Humanities Inquiry and Creative Expression categories, and is scheduled to pilot the Inquiry course (in Film & Lit) next spring. We are also developing a proposal for a short-term social documentary filmmaking abroad course that would be offered spring/summer 2013.

Filmmaking Courses

The key to Film Studies’ future is the expansion of its filmmaking curriculum and faculty. The University has approved five revised and new filmmaking courses that will constitute the core of the program’s filmmaking curriculum: FILM 341, 342, 342, 441 in Documentary and 442 in Narrative. All five filmmaking courses are now in the University catalogue. Both 341 and 342 have already been offered. Film 441 and 442 will be offered for the first time next year.  The University has approved our adding a $150 equipment fee to each of the filmmaking classes, beginning 2013-14.

With support from the Dean’s office, Film Studies purchased this year nearly $10,000 in new cameras and other filmmaking equipment which will be housed in the Media Center until another digital media space is secured.  In addition, the University has tentatively committed $8000-$10,000 for additional equipment purchases in 2012-13. 


This year Bill Taylor, Sean Mc Dowell, and Edwin Weihe, and seven PT colleagues (Justine Barda, Mike Attie, Cordula Brown, Robert Horton, Robert Cumbow, Lyall Bush, Richard Meyer)  taught Film Studies courses. Jason Wirth taught a cross-listed course on Film & Philosophy. In 2012-13, Dr. Gairola will join the program to teach Intl Cinema: India, and Andrea McDowell will teach Intl Cinema: Russian/Soviet. 

Dean Powers has approved our request to hire a TT faculty in Film Studies, to begin Fall 2013. The new TT faculty will be a filmmaker who will teach filmmaking courses for the major and the Core, and who will assume leadership for further developing our filmmaking curriculum, faculty, and space-equipment-technology capabilities. 


We end this academic year with 67-68 majors and 11 minors in Film Studies.  Nine seniors are “graduating”, though at least two of these students have additional courses to complete. At this point, 18 new Seattle University students (13 freshmen and 5 transfers) plan to begin their major in Film Studies in the fall.  

Course enrollments in FILM-designated courses in 2011-12 jumped 23%, from 254 to 312, but total film course enrollments, which include students in cross-listed courses, declined from 399 to 346, due entirely to a reduction in cross-listed courses.

Internships, Production Gigs and Festivals, and Portfolios

The number of film majors undertaking internships and independent study projects,  ten this academic year, should grow next year as more opportunities are developed.  We have a binder of internship opportunities and application forms.

All of the students in this spring’s Festival course, taught by Justine Barda, volunteered (ten hours each) at Seattle International Film Festival. Stefan Wanigatunga continues to direct his funded film studies program at a neighborhood elementary school, and is assisted by a “faculty” of Film Studies majors. Student films were screened at this spring’s NFFTY festival, and Film Studies majors took 1st and 2nd prizes at Seattle University’s film festival (SUFF).  A number of students assisted on film productions in the city, including one at Children’s Hospital that went viral on U-tube.

Sophomores and Juniors in particular have been alerted to attend to their portfolio-building. The current Sophomore class, in fact, is expected to have its portfolios ready for evaluation and revision in a new Film Studies “Senior Synthesis” course, which will be inaugurated in 2013-14.  In that year too, Film Studies students will have their opportunity to apply for Departmental Honors in Film Studies.

More than seventy Film Studies majors, faculty, and guests from the film community attended the annual Film Studies social and dinner at Dr Edwin Weihe’s house in May.