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Audience in the cinema. Silhouette.

Film Studies Minor

The film industry in the U.S. is a multibillion dollar business. We are increasingly a visual culture, but not necessarily a visually literate culture. The purpose of a film studies minor at ASU is to build essential literacy skills, such as interpretive, visual, verbal, critical, audio-visual and narrative, to survive in today’s competitive marketplace. 

Students will learn:

  • Filmmaking techniques
  • How to read visual and cultural cues
  • How to analyze persuasive and rhetorical messages

This minor in film studies emphasizes how film is both a record of social culture and a force for cultural change.

Requirements for Minor

ASU’s film studies minor requires 18 interdisciplinary hours that include both Communication/Mass Media 1337 and English 4355. These courses will expose students to the basic technological, theoretical and artistic terminology and knowledge necessary to successfully interpret this art form.

Students will take an additional 12 hours from the following selected courses*:

  • Art 1305
  • Communication 3366, 4352, 4365
  • Computer Science 1371, 2324, 2325
  • French 4328
  • German 3339
  • Psychology 3325
  • Russian 3339
  • Spanish 3334
  • Theatre 3345, 3311, 4314, 4351

Occasionally, university studies and special topics courses will be offered in various departments which are appropriate for this minor. Students must receive permission to count such special topics courses in their film minor from the dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.

*Courses taken to fulfill requirements for this minor may not also be counted toward your major.

  • Elisabeth C. Muelsch

    Dr. Elisabeth Muelsch
    Film Studies Chair

    Dr. Muelsch has a special interest in the history of French and German film during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.  She has directed numerous study abroad programs and has taught film courses in France, Germany, Austria and New Zealand.

  • Dr. Timothy Bonenfant

    Dr. Timothy Bonenfant teaches classes in the Music Department that touch on many of the types of music used in contemporary film (classical, jazz, rock ‘n‘roll, etc.). He is intrigued by the way music can support a director’s message, e.g., the symphonic music used in the battle scenes of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, or the big band era recordings used in Woody Allen’s films.

  • Ewa Davis

    Mrs. Ewa Davis

    In Russian 3339 students can discover an important part of Russian and Soviet culture by analyzing avant-garde films produced during the 1920s. Students will study the influential ideas of montage, constructivism, “agitki” and “kino eye,” as well as the impact these movements had on Western cinematography.

  • Jon C. Ellery

    Dr. Jon Ellery

    Dr. Chris Ellery teaches courses in creative writing, American literature, and film studies. He is interested in the relationship between culture and identity and enjoys exploring the “spirituality” of literature and film, particularly through archetypal analysis.

  • Dr. Rob LeGrand III
    Associate Professor

    Dr. Rob LeGrand is an Associate Professor of Computer Science who enjoys teaching courses such as Artificial Intelligence, Web Programming, Handheld Game Development and Theory of Algorithms.  His film preferences tend toward the dark and unusual; favorite directors include Richard Linklater, Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Steven Soderbergh, Alexander Payne, Mike Judge, Paul Thomas Anderson, Stanley Kubrick and Shane Carruth.

  • Ms. Leah Mangrum, M.F.A.
    Associate Professor
    Faculty Advisor, Graduate Faculty

    Professor Mangrum teaches Film & New Media: Video Production, Communication Technology and CONNECT! courses. She is a member of the Film Studies Committee. Professor Mangrum has an interest in documentary production, teaching her students to create compelling visual stories through the process of filmmaking. COMM/MM 4365 and COMM/MM 2362 provide applied learning experiences in film composition. Students demonstrate research, scriptwriting, story development, lighting, audio and editing techniques during the production of their own short films.  

  • Dr. June Smith
    Graduate Advisor, Graduate Faculty

    Dr. Smith teaches the critical analysis of messages in film in COMM 3366. The gestalt principle (the whole is greater than the sum of the parts) is explored in the costuming, sets, lighting, camera techniques, gestures, tone, language choice, color and shape decisions made by film makers.

  • Mr. John Vinklarek

    Many of the elements and methods of film are derived from the processes of visual art.  In order to understand the language of film one must study the evolution of painting and photography.   The Art and Film class will cover the great features of film history as well as experimental and alternative approaches. 

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