Film and Media

University of California, Berkeley


The Department of Film and Media offers an interdisciplinary program leading to a BA in Film, a PhD in Film and Media, and a Designated Emphasis in Film Studies for doctoral students located in other departments. The department teaches students to think historically, theoretically, and analytically about film and media within the broad context of humanistic studies. Students and faculty engage with all forms of moving-image culture, including film, still photography, television, and digital media. The department also offers courses in screenwriting, curating, and digital video production.

Undergraduate Program

Film: BA

Graduate Programs

Film and Media: PhD, Designated Emphasis (DE)

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Film and Media

FILM R1A The Craft of Writing - Film Focus 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017
Rhetorical approach to reading and writing argumentative discourse with a film focus. Close reading of selected texts; written themes developed from class discussion and analysis of rhetorical strategies. Satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement.

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FILM R1B The Craft of Writing - Film Focus 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Summer 2018 First 6 Week Session, Spring 2018
Intensive argumentative writing stimulated through selected readings, films, and class discussion. Satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement.

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FILM 20 Film and Media Cultures 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017
This course is intended to introduce undergraduates to the study of a range of media, including photography, film, television, video, and print and digital media. The course will focus on questions of medium "specificity" or the key technological/material, formal and aesthetic features of different media and modes of address and representation that define them. Also considered is the relationship of individual media to time and space
, how individual media construct their audiences or spectators, and the kinds of looking or viewing they enable or encourage. The course will discuss the ideological effects of various media, particularly around questions of racial and sexual difference, national identity, capitalism, and power.
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FILM 25A The History of Film 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017
From the beginnings through the conversion to sound up until World War II era. In addition to the development of the silent film, the course will conclude with an examination of the technology of sound conversion and examples of early sound experiments.

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FILM 25B The History of Film 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017
The sound era from World War II to present time.

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FILM 26 Introduction to Digital Video Production 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2015
The objective of this class is to provide a basic technical foundation for digital video film production while emphasizing the techniques and languages of creative moving image media from traditional story genres to more contemporary experimental forms. Training will move from pre-production-scripting and storyboarding, through production, including image capture, lighting and sound recording, to post-production with non-linear digital editing
programs such as Final Cut Pro and editing strategies and aesthetics. The course will consist of lectures/screenings, discussion/critique, visiting artists, and production workshops in which students produce a series of exercises and a final project.
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FILM 39 Freshman/Sophomore Seminar 2 Units

Terms offered: Not yet offered
Freshman and sophomore seminars offer lower division students the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member and a group of peers in a small-seminar setting. These seminars are offered in all campus departments; topics vary from department to department and from semester to semester. Enrollment limits are set by the faculty, but the suggested limit is 25.

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FILM 50 Introduction to Film for Nonmajors 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session, Summer 2016 10 Week Session, Summer 2016 Second 6 Week Session
An introduction to film art and film technique for students who are interested in exploring the history and aesthetics of cinema but do not intend to major in film. The course traces the development of world cinema from the first films of the 1890s to the 1970s, drawing on examples from American, European, Asian, and Third World cinema.

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FILM 75 Postmodernism and Film 3 Units

Terms offered: Prior to 2007
This course examines postmodernism as it manifests itself in film. We will begin with a general overview of the postmodern, and then look at how postmodernism reformulates certain theoretical issues: e.g., ideology, history, subjectivity and gender. Primary films will be juxtaposed not just with theoretical texts, but also with texts from architecture, photography, literature and classical Hollywood cinema. Requirements: take home mid-term, final exam.

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FILM 84 Sophomore Seminar 1 or 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2009, Fall 2006
Sophomore seminars are small interactive courses offered by faculty members in departments all across the campus. Sophomore seminars offer opportunity for close, regular intellectual contact between faculty members and students in the crucial second year. The topics vary from department to department and semester to semester. Enrollment limited to 15 sophomores.

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FILM 98 Directed Group Study 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2014
Supervised research by lower division students.

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FILM 100 History of Film Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2015 10 Week Session, Summer 2015 Second 6 Week Session, Fall 2014
The study, from an historical perspective, of major theorists of film.

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FILM 105 Senior Seminar 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2013, Spring 2009
Intensive study of topics in film and moving-image media.

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FILM 108 Special Topics in Film Genre 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Summer 2018 First 6 Week Session, Summer 2018 Second 6 Week Session
The study of films as categorized either by industry-identified genres (westerns, horror films, musicals, film noir, etc.) or broader interpretive modes (melodrama, realism, fantasy, etc.).

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FILM C115 The American Detective in Fiction, Film, and Television 4 Units

Terms offered: Prior to 2007
This course considers how the American detective is represented in fiction, fil, and popular culture. We will examine how representations of the American detective are affected by diverse historican and socio-cultural factors, including the ideology of American individualism, paradigms of investigation and ordered knowledge, and competing discourses of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. After a brief consideration of early American detectives and detectives
in the classic American hardboiled tradition, we will focus on many detectives from traditionally understudied groups, including female detectives, African American detectives, Chicana detectives, Asian American detectives, Native American detectives, and gay and lesbian detectives. This course may be used as an elective in the American Studies major.
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FILM 128 Documentary 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017
A survey of the history, theory, and practice of the documentary film (including video). How have the forms and ethics of the documentary changed since the beginning of cinema? A range of practices and strategies will be covered: cinema verite, direct cinema, narrational documentary, autobiography, investigative documentary, and recent fictional styles that combine the essayistic with the observational. The course moves between classic works
of the genre as well as highly experimental works that critique traditional approaches. Throughout, the emphasis will be on the formal analysis of the films focusing on their narrative structures and the ways in which they make meaning.
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FILM 129 History of Avant-Garde Film 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session
This course is a survey of the history and aesthetics of the international film Avant-Garde from the 1920s to the present. The course explores the development of a range of experimental film forms and practices, situating them in relation to the larger artistic, social, and intellectual contexts in which they arise. We look at the ways artists have not only created new film languages in order to express their unique ideas
and vision, but also how they inverted alternative modes of production, distribution, and exhibition for their work. We examine the major formal modes of Avant-Garde cinema, moving between historical and current developments.
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FILM 140 Special Topics in Film 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Summer 2018 Second 6 Week Session, Spring 2018
Selected topics in the study of film.

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FILM 151 Auteur Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017
The study of films from the perspective of directorial style, theme, or filmmaking career.

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FILM 160 National Cinema 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017
This course will focus on the cinema of a particular nation or region.

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FILM 176 Pitch to Production 3 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2018 First 6 Week Session
Students are introduced to the basic concepts, terms and principles of producing so that they can effectively and efficiently develop their own project proposal and financial strategy. Unit topics include creating a “pitch” proposal/package, methods of fundraising/financing, legal and ethical issues, managing the production cycle, and securing distribution. This class will use a variety of case studies based on Bay Area films. Through these case
studies the class will explore a range of projects and cover the diverse strategies used to produce them. Each week the class will focus on specific project-types. One or more guest speakers (filmmakers and/or industry experts) will hold a Q&A with the instructor and students.

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FILM 177 Entertainment Law 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2018 Second 6 Week Session
The practice of entertainment law in the United States lies at the intersection of a number of legal disciplines, among them Constitutional law, tort law, copyright law, and trademark law, and applies those disciplines to the world of entertainment. This course will introduce you to basic principles of those disciplines and their use in entertainment law. The goal of the course is to equip practitioners in film and media with an understanding
of entertainment law sufficient to recognize legal issues that may arise in their practice so as to either avoid problems or find their solutions.
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FILM 178 Film & Media Professions 3 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2018 Second 6 Week Session
This course is designed to acquaint film majors with a variety of professions in and around the Bay Area that are open to those wishing to pursue careers in film and media. A series of ten guest lecturers drawn from these professions will guide students through the opportunities and work experiences available in such fields as studio and independent film production, documentary production for film and television, film curating and archiving,
programming film festivals, creating media content for art museums, and designing educational online content. This will be followed by question-and-answer sessions that give students a chance to interact directly with the speakers and explore specific areas of inquiry.
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FILM 179 Understanding Film Sound 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2018 8 Week Session
We explore the use and abuse of sound and its relation to image in cinema. With emphasis on how sound influences our emotional
reactions, we analyze dialogue, music and effects from the perspectives of the writer, the director, and the audience, looking at the
factors that guide and constrain the creative process, as well as how changes in presentation have affected audience response.
Examples are shown from foreign and domestic feature
, documentary and animated films.
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FILM 180 Introduction to Screenwriting 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017
The course explores the art and craft of writing a feature-length, narrative screenplay. Participants present three story ideas to the class, develop one concept into a detailed treatment, and write the first act of the script in professional screenplay form. The focus is on rewriting, with regular presentations of outlines and scripts to fellow writers. The emphasis is on story structure, character development, and screenplay form.

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FILM 181 Screenwriting 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017
The course explores the art and craft of writing a feature-length narrative screenplay. Participants begin with a detailed outline of a narrative script and a portion of the script in proper form and develop it into a completed screenplay. The focus is on rewriting, with regular presentations of scenes to fellow writers. Participants also write short scripts and explore alternative story structure. The emphasis is on characterization, scene structure
, visual story telling, dialogue, and creating a unified script. The class culminates with reading of completed scripts.
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FILM 184 Documentary and Nonfiction Film Production 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2016
This class focuses on practices and techniques of non-fiction digital filmmaking. The class examines important techniques of non-fiction film, such as research and writing for non-fiction, the observational camera, filming in public, the interview, voiceover, working with archival film and other documents, as well as editing techniques - working to find form and structure for non-fiction materials. This class also explores the different modes of the documentary
genre including observational, ethnographic, biographic/historical, agit/prop and activist forms, as well as more expanded approaches essay, poetic, autobiography, and archival forms.
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FILM 185 Narrative Production 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2015
The essentials of film and video production--camera, sound, lighting, and editing. Drawing on previous study of narrative, documentary, avant-garde film and video, students gain a deeper understanding of the complex relationship between the visual and aural elements of moving-image through hands-on experimentation.

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FILM 186 Advanced Digital Video 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2015, Spring 2013, Fall 2009
This advanced studio course is designed for students who have mastered basic skills and concepts involved in digital video production and are interested in further investigating critical, theoretical, and creative research topics in digital video production.

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FILM 187 Special Topics in Media Production 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2018 First 6 Week Session, Spring 2018, Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session
This course investigates special topics in, and special technologies of, media production: e.g., experimental film, documentary film, digital special effects, etc. This is a hands-on studio course designed for students who have mastered the basics of media production and are ready to pursue more specialized film or video production.

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FILM H195 Film Honors Thesis 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
Students in the honors program are to take H195 for a letter grade to complete a senior honors thesis. Although the production of a film may be part of the preparation of the thesis and the film submitted as a documentation or example, it is expected that the thesis will be a substantial piece of writing of film criticism or film history.

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FILM 197A Field Study at the Pacific Film Archive 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2013
Students will learn about film bibliography and research materials. Interns will get a thorough orientation to the Pacific Film Archive library through introductory lectures and training sessions. Then, for three hours per week, they will help organize materials for inclusion in the clippings files. Interns will gain experience in library organization and film bibliography, as well as a broad knowledge of the kinds of film reviews and criticism
found in a variety of sources.
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FILM 197B Field Studies for Majors 1 - 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Summer 2018 8 Week Session, Spring 2018
The supervised field program may include experience in a broad range of pre- and post-production film and video production related activities. The student will develop the field experience and its relationship to academic training with a member of the faculty on the Film Advisory Committee. Faculty sponsor and student will establish individual meeting times and academic requirements for acceptable completion of the course. Commitment
to at least nine hours of field work per week.
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FILM 197C Film Curating Internship 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2014, Fall 2013
Experience "behind-the-scenes" at the Pacific Film Archive! Interns will learn about film curating through creating a program of works by UC Berkeley students to present at PFA the following spring semester. Students will solicit films and videos, preview them, and make a final selection as a group. Students will write short analyses of local film exhibition programs and will do projects related to PFA's ongoing exhibition progra
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FILM 198 Directed Group Study 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017
Group studies of selected topics which vary from year to year. Field shall not coincide with that of any regular course and shall be specific enough to allow students to write an essay based on the study.

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FILM 199 Supervised Independent Study for Advanced Undergraduates 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
Reading and conference with the instructor in a field that shall not coincide with that of any regular course and shall be specific enough to enable the student to write an essay based upon his/her study.

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FILM 200 Graduate Film Theory Seminar 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2015
This seminar will examine both traditional and recent critical approaches to a systematic and historical study of film. Although we will emphasize contemporary structuralist-semiotic, psychoanalytical, and socio-critical methods, we will also study the classical debates in film theory about representation, filmic vs. literary signification, sexual difference, and the social function of images in modernism and postmodernism. Illustrations will be
taken from film history from 1910 to 1980.
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FILM 201 Graduate Film Historiography 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
The theoretical and methodological issues raised by the recent practice of film history are the focus of this seminar. Intended primarily for first-year film studies graduate students and other students interested in starting work on film history, the seminar provides both a theoretical overview of film historiography and an introduction to the practice of historically oriented film research. The first part of the course uses both overtly
historiographic readings and film history examples to raise historical questions of technology, institution-formation, exhibition, cultural history, and spectatorship.
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FILM 203 Film Studies Proseminar 2 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2016
A seminar introducing Film Studies graduate students to the field, the profession, and the faculty practicing film studies. Envisioned as a way for new students to learn what is expected of them and for more advanced students to pass through the all-important last years of their training in an atmosphere of helpful camaraderie. Introduces students to the intellectual and physical resources of the Berkeley campus as well as the Bay Area. By the
end of the semester students should gain an understanding of the expectations of their performance in graduate school, have identified the major goals on the way towards getting a Ph.D., and, depending on where they are in their studies, have begun to achieve those goals.
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FILM 204 Compact Seminar 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2010
A compact seminar features a distinguished, short-term visitor with expertise in Film and Media. During the stay, the visitor meets intensively with graduate students, who then continue to work on research topics for the remainder of the semester. The seminar meets eight times one hundred and twenty minutes, not including screening time, and a substantial (twenty-five page) research paper is required at the end of the semester.

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FILM 220 Film Curating 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2011, Fall 2006
An introduction to the theory, history, and practice of film curating taught by Pacific Film Archive curators. What do curators do? How do they decide what to show? What is the role of film archives and film exhibition in the field of film and moving image study? Using the Pacific Film Archive and its programmers as a laboratory, students will go behind-the-scenes of the Archive's curatorial, print traffic, publicity, and editorial departments and learn
how to program by doing. The course will culminate in a proposal for a comprehensive film series.
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FILM 221 Film Curating Part 2 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2007
Students will develop and present a film series for presentation at the Pacific Film Archive. Possibly refining a series proposed in 220. PFA curators will have final approval of the series topic and the film/video selection. Students will locate and book all films, write program notes, do outreach, and introduce programs. Guest speakers will include local press, writers, and artists. Local film and videomakers will trace the history of a work from production through
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FILM 230 Graduate Production Seminar 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2013, Spring 2013, Spring 2012
Intensive study of the basic elements of film and digital video production and post-production. Graduate students will develop a working knowledge of film and video making through hands-on production experience that will enable them to film and edit their own productions. They will also acquire training to teach basic video and film production classes. The uses of specific technologies and formats will be discussed in relation to aesthetic
and theoretical questions. Training includes pre-production-scripting and storyboarding, production elements including image capture, and post-production strategies and aesthetics for non-linear digital editing programs. The course will also introduce problems of how to format video/films for exhibition and approaches to distribution, exhibition, and funding. Classes will consist of technical lectures and hands-on workshops, creative exercises, seminar-style discussion and critique, film screenings, assigned readings, and visiting artists and speakers.
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FILM 240 Graduate Topics in Film 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017
Selected topics in the study of film.

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FILM 298 Special Study 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Summer 2016 First 6 Week Session
Designed to allow students to do research in areas not covered by other courses. Requires regular discussions with the instructor and a final written report.

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FILM 299 Directed Research 1 - 12 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
Open to graduate students who have passed their Ph.D. qualifying examinations.

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FILM 602 Individual Study for Doctoral Students 1 - 6 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
Individual study in consultation with faculty director as preparation for degree examinations.

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Faculty and Instructors


Weihong Bao, Associate Professor. Film theory and history, media archaeology, critical theory, visual and performance culture, Chinese language cinema, transnational genre cinema, comparative media history and theory.

Mark Berger, Adjunct Professor. Film studies, film production, film sound.
Research Profile

Natalia Brizuela, Associate Professor. Photography, film, contemporary art, critical theory and aesthetics of Spanish America and Brazil.

Mary Ann Doane, Professor. Feminist theory, semiotics, cinema, media, cultural theory, archaeology of media technology, poststructuralism.
Research Profile

Jacob Gaboury, Assistant Professor. Digital media, visual culture, media archaeology, queer theory, 20th century histories of technology and computation, computer graphics, and the intersection of contemporary art and technology.

Anton Kaes, Professor. Film studies, modern literature, literary and cultural theory, cinema, interdisciplinary and comparative aspects of Weimar culture, contemporary literature and film, literary theory, theory of cultural studies, film history, film theory, history of cinema.
Research Profile

Russell L. Merritt, Adjunct Professor.

Anne Nesbet, Associate Professor. Culture, film studies, Slavic languages, early Soviet culture, Sergei Eisenstein, silent film, Soviet film, GDR history, children's literature and Stalinism, the Soviet Union, American minority movements.
Research Profile

Mark Sandberg, Professor. Silent film, late nineteenth-century visual culture, theater history, comedy, Scandinavian design, serial television, film historiography, Scandinavian film history, Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian literature, Nordic literary history.
Research Profile

Miryam Sas, Professor. Comparative literature, 20th century avant-gardes, Japanese literature, film, theater and dance, contemporary art, critical theory, gender theory.
Research Profile

Jeffrey A. Skoller, Associate Professor. Film history, theory and practice of documentary, avant-garde film, film as art, activist media, Third Cinema., film/video production.
Research Profile

Kristen Whissel, Professor. Cinema and technological change, computer-generated images and contemporary cinema, digital visual effects, the history and theory of special effects, cinema in transition, American film history, silent American cinema, modernity and early cinema.
Research Profile

Damon R. Young, Assistant Professor. Digital media; global art cinema (with a focus on French and francophone); gender and sexuality studies; critical theory.


Emily Carpenter, Lecturer.

Eileen M. Jones, Lecturer.

J. Mira Kopell, Lecturer.

Contact Information

Department of Film and Media

7408 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-1415

Fax: 510-642-8881

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Mark Sandberg

6408 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-0927

Graduate Student Services Advisor

Marcus Norman

7407 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-1416

Undergraduate Major Advisor

Blaine Jones

7406 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-3522

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