OverviewSince film courses were first offered at Wesleyan in the late 1960s, Film Studies has experienced remarkable growth, as reflected in the number of faculty participating in its work, the number of film majors, and the number of students seeking admission to Film Studies courses. The Film Studies Department at Wesleyan is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition of integrating history and theory with practice. Faculty in the Film Studies Department teach films from the vantage point of how they are made and received, asking students to analyze the industrial and technological conditions of a film’s production, the choices the filmmakers made, and the effects of these conditions and choices on our viewing experience. With a solid grounding in this approach to the study of film, senior film majors are then prepared to write historical theses, craft screenplays, or direct films, videos, or virtual projects.
While Film Studies requires that every major take a basic production course, it is not a film production major. In fact, production credits can account for no more than one third of a student’s major program. The emphasis in the major is not on doing but on thinking—it is through the study of film history and the practice of analysis that students truly begin to grasp the complexities and possibilities of the film medium.