Film studies now a major in College of Arts and Letters

By AJ Moser

MSU has seen successful filmmakers start their careers on campus, and a new program is looking to create even more.

The new bachelor’s degree in film studies program within the College of Arts and Letters looks to train students in the production, theory and criticism of cinema. A minor in film studies is currently offered in the College of Arts and Letters, while the College of Communication Arts and Sciences offers minors in fiction filmmaking and documentary production.

“The technical and critical knowledge, analytical and organizational skills, and aesthetic and narrative sensitivity required of film studies students transfer well to a variety of occupations in the creative industries of today’s international, media-driven cultures,” said assistant professor Josh Yumibe, director of film studies.

The curriculum in film studies at MSU has had a rich tradition since its inception in the 1980s, with former students including Sam Raimi, director of the Spider-Man and Evil Dead films.

The faculty is composed of award-winning filmmakers with experience in the industry.

“The Evolution of Bert,” a film by Jeff Wray, associate professor of film studies, was screened in The Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles earlier this month.

Professors who have created their own films will work with students in areas such as film production and management.

Film has become an economic driver in the state of Michigan, Yumibe said. This comes with the changing trends in filmmaking including an explosion of affordable digital filmmaking tools and a surge in film production outside Hollywood.

The program has a global focus as well, with a focus on studying the direction and screenwriting of filmmakers in India, Africa, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

“Our curriculum investigates cinema as a global art, a business and a technology — all of which are shaped by the social dynamics of race, gender and sexuality,” Yumibe said.

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