Starting in Fall 2018, Lyon College will offer a minor in film studies. Several members of the Lyon College faculty have offered film courses in the past, with course topics ranging from propaganda film in wartime (history) to a survey of film development and styles through time (English). Now, those faculty have worked to combine those classes into a field of study that combines teaching from professors of English, History, French, Spanish, and more.
Assistant Professor French Dr. Brian Hunt, who taught a class on film in Paris in 2015, says that the interdisciplinary nature of the minor is particularly exciting. “The fact that the minor is not housed in any division reinforces the importance of drawing connections across multiple disciplines.”
To complete the minor, students must pass a new introductory course called “Introduction to Film and Screen Cultures” that will teach students how to “read” visual media critically, an upper-level film theory course, and four other courses of their choice from a selection of varying film topics. The minor also requires the completion of an experiential learning component, which will provide students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the film world through events like the Ozark Foothills FilmFest. For this portion of the minor, students will be encouraged to find opportunities that best fit their interests. The minor culminates in a senior-level independent study that will incorporate both film and the students’ other academic interests.
“A film minor at Lyon will help dispel the idea that film and cinematic products are only done in Los Angeles and New York,” says Assistant Professor of Romance Languages Dr. James Martell. “As the presence of the Ozarks Foothills Filmfest shows, film and moving images are happening everywhere, and they are one of the main instruments of the narrations of our lives. For this reason, it was imperative that we developed the opportunity at Lyon of teaching students how to engage with the visual media that they already use and consume every day.”
The abundance of film, television, and other screen-based media in our lives necessitates the ability to analyze, evaluate, and understand their sometimes complex messages. The faculty members championing this minor cite the divide between those who can and those who can’t read and interpret media as an important impetus for its creation. Extending media literacy to those who otherwise would not have had it helps close this gap.
Hunt says, “I hope the minor encourages students to bring the critical eye they are developing in their other classes to film, television, and video games. The creation of the minor also allows faculty members the opportunity to develop new courses in their fields of study with a focus on media.”
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