Extra Curricular

by Holly Willis

  • Still Looking: Gail Segal and Sheril Antonio’s Dramatic Effects with a Movie Camera

    In their new book, Dramatic Effects with a Movie Camera, Gail Segal, a poet, filmmaker and associate arts professor, and Sheril Antonio, an associate arts professor in the department of art and public policy, both at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, describe a form of shot-by-shot film analysis that can teach filmmakers the nuances of cinematic storytelling. Recently published by Bloomsbury Publishing, the richly illustrated book is based on an NYU graduate filmmaking course taught more than two decades ago by Segal.  “This class was an investigation of film technique,” Segal explains, “with the goal of applying…  Read more

    On Jul 14, 2022
    By on Jul 14, 2022Columns
  • Jodie Mack’s Wasteland No. 3: Moons, Sons Simple Machines: The Inspiring Teaching of Experimental Animator Jodie Mack

    “Find the note, and then deviate,” urges experimental animator Jodie Mack. The colorfully clad artist is a third of the way through her antic presentation to the November 2021 Film Friends gathering hosted by the Echo Park Film Center. Now in its second year, the monthly online series this go-around is focused on “simple machines” for filmmaking. Mack has been cheerfully showing some of her own creations, like a bicycle-driven zoetrope, but speedily moves on to her love for singing. “My voice is a simple machine!” she rhapsodizes before breaking into a wide-mouthed croon, one or two notes above the…  Read more

    On Apr 14, 2022
    By on Apr 14, 2022Columns
  • Pedagogical City Hopping: the DocNomads Film School

    “What if we create a curriculum for a school we’d like to attend ourselves?” That question was the foundation for a group of five educators who gathered in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2011 to brainstorm an entirely new two-year Masters-level film program dedicated to documentary production. The partners came from Lusófona University in Lisbon; the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest, Hungary; and LUCA School of Arts/College Sint Lukas in Brussels, Belgium. Vítor Candeias, who represented Lusófona University in designing the program and is a course director as well as a documentary filmmaker, says that the original idea was…  Read more

    On Jan 18, 2022
    By on Jan 18, 2022Columns
  • Environmental Storytelling

    In August 2021, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a new report on the global state of the environment, highlighting the shrinkage of glaciers, warming of oceans, massive forest loss, extreme heat, devastating drought and more. While the report is crushing, it is also fuel for action. Indeed, the BBC’s climate editor, Justin Rowlatt, suggested that 2021 could be the year for finally making climate change a top priority, citing the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in early November as just one landmark event that could help consolidate action. For filmmakers teaching in universities, the…  Read more

    On Oct 11, 2021
    By on Oct 11, 2021Columns
  • Talking about Film

    While filmmakers attend festivals to show their work, network and see old friends, film scholars have their own, similar venues; namely, academic conferences. Instead of submitting films, scholars submit proposals to present papers or host workshops; these are either accepted or rejected. Scholars whose proposals are selected not only have more impetus to attend the conference, they also will be able to add the presentation to their CV and activities list for the year. More significantly, though, these presentations often serve as early drafts of book chapters or essays to be published later. As a result, conferences play a vital…  Read more

    On Apr 8, 2021
    By on Apr 8, 2021Columns
  • Arizona Dreams of Justice

    Imagine taking a film class in which, during week one, you learn activist filmmaking strategies from Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís of Skylight, a human rights media organization based in Brooklyn. In week two, you discuss participatory documentary and community collaboration with Concordia University professor and filmmaker Liz Miller. A little later in the course, you encounter Brenda Manuelito and Carmella Rodriguez, cofounders of nDigiDreams, a woman-owned and indigenous-focused consulting and training company based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  These are session descriptions of a graduate course titled “Advancing Human Rights Through Documentary Media,” developed and taught by Beverly Seckinger, a…  Read more

    On Feb 10, 2021
    By on Feb 10, 2021Columns
  • The Diagetic Prototype

    “I want an app like Tinder that we can use to end genocide,” said Luis Moreno Ocampo, former first prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in fall 2019. The Argentine lawyer was visiting the University of Southern California from Harvard, where he was a Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. He was in town to coteach a class with USC professor and documentary filmmaker Ted Braun, perhaps best known for his 2007 film Darfur Now, on the ways in which storytelling can affect our understanding of political issues.  I first met Ocampo in 2008 when…  Read more

    On Oct 28, 2020
    By on Oct 28, 2020Columns
  • In My Room

    The big question for film educators this summer is how to prepare for classes this fall. Some campuses will host all of their classes online; others, like mine, are figuring out a hybrid model, with some production classes held on the sound stages with careful social distancing, masks and lots of hand sanitizer. In the meantime, many of us have been figuring out ways to inspire our students to keep making film and videos, even within the confines of their bedrooms, apartments and family homes. Luckily, there’s an exciting history of projects that demonstrate the power of a small space.…  Read more

    On Jul 7, 2020
    By on Jul 7, 2020Columns
  • Messing With the Medium: On the Textured Pleasures of the Handmade Film

    Last summer, filmmaker Jennifer West and I were invited to talk at Femmebit, an LA-based triennial celebration of media made by women. I had been thinking about materiality and mediamaking practices, and Jennifer is known for a stunning body of work centered on physically manipulating strips of film. We decided to call our event “Messing With the Medium: Radical Materiality in Feminist Media” and challenged each other on stage in a battle of clips, each of us presenting a visual example of some sort of feminist creative intervention, along with a two-minute argument for its contributions to an expanded history…  Read more

    On Mar 17, 2020
    By on Mar 17, 2020Columns
  • The Inner Reaches Out of Space

    “I think one of the things I am most concerned about is how we interact with space in a bodily way,” says LA-based video and VR artist Kate Parsons, who will co-teach an undergraduate studio class, “The Inner Reaches of Outer Space,” next spring at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, with VR veteran Ben Vance. The pair was asked to teach in the Immersion Lab by professors Jenny Rodenhouse, a faculty member in the graduate Media Design Practice (MDP) program, and Maggie Hendrie, chair of Interaction Design. Parsons, who teaches a basic video production course for first-year graduate…  Read more

    On Dec 10, 2019
    By on Dec 10, 2019Columns
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