UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Undergraduate

Fall 2018

129 | CCN: 21523

History of Avant-Garde Film

Jeffrey Skoller,

4 Units

T/Th 2:00-3:30pm, Dwinelle 142; W 7:00-10:00pm, BAMPFA

This class explores the idea of experimentalism as filmmaking without a net; a risk taking approach to creative expression and a philosophical position that emphasizes art as process and invention over product and professional mastery. We will also look beyond the films themselves to explore the kinds of creative sub-cultures and underground communities that this approach to film and media making are a part of. We explore the rich and varied history of films made by visual artists who are experimenting with the formal, perceptual and narrative elements of film, video, and other expanded forms of moving image media. Through weekly screenings, the reading of word texts, talking to visiting artists, discussing and writing about the films as well as making short filmic artworks, we move back and forth between historical and contemporary practices, sampling from the garden of underground, personal, poetic, queer, surrealist cinemas, feminist, and activist video art, found films, love films and smash-the-state films!

This course will cover a variety of 16mm filmmaking techniques, including hand-painted film, cinematography, and digital transfer with an emphasis on the avant-garde. Through readings, hands-on workshops, and individual projects, students will learn about exposure, the photochemical process, various film stocks, and digital editing. This course is intended to provide an historical perspective of film technology before the invention of video, a foundational understanding of cinematography as it is still used in video today, and an introduction to motion picture film as a professional medium of choice for contemporary filmmakers. Students will shoot and edit traditional 16mm film as well as digital transfers of film to video. This is a studio-based film production course that will utilize a range of equipment including: 16mm film cameras, video cameras and software, and audio and lighting instruments. The work created in class will culminate in a final screening/performance of individual and group assignments.