Berkeley offers an innovative, interdisciplinary undergraduate program leading to a BA in Film & Media. This rich and diverse program offers rigorous engagement with the entire culture of moving-images in the larger context of humanistic studies, teaching students to think historically, theoretically, and analytically about a wide range of cinematic and para-cinematic forms. At the same time, it encourages students to look at moving-images from the vantage point of other disciplines.
The core courses for Film & Media majors include a two-semester sequence in the history of silent and sound film, a course on the documentary and the avant-garde film, a course in film theory, and a selection of courses on specific film genres, filmmakers, national cinemas and new media. Although film production is not a focus of this program, department electives include Digital Video and Screenwriting courses. Other production courses are also available in the Department of Art Practice and the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, which are affiliated with the Department of Film & Media in the Digital Media Labs Consortium, a cooperative effort to combine digital-media production equipment, labs, and courses of instruction. The Department of Film & Media is especially fortunate to be affiliated with the Pacific Film Archive, an internationally known cinematheque that screens films six nights a week and often brings filmmakers to campus. Students may also take advantage of internship opportunities at the Pacific Film Archive and with local film production companies.
Graduate School and Job Opportunities
The strong emphasis in the Film program on writing skills, analytic skills, historical knowledge, and the acquisition of foreign languages prepares our students not only in the area of film, but also in business, law, and the arts and humanities in general. Graduates of this program find success in many areas with many students pursuing graduate school in film or the humanities, others entering Law School or MBA programs, and others finding exciting work in media. All acquire a high level of visual literacy, analytic ability, and writing skill.
Students interested in graduate school are encouraged to use the Step by Step Guide published by the College of Letters and Science.
Specific film-related careers for which we prepare students in the major include: film archivist, film historian, film editor, film critic, production assistant, and independent filmmaker.
Film school is… beginning to attract those who believe that cinema isn’t so much a profession as the professional language of the future…. For some next-generation students, however, the shot at a Hollywood job is no longer the goal. They’d rather make cinematic technique—newly democratized by digital equipment that reduces the cost of a picture to a few thousand dollars and renders the very word “film” an anachronism—the bedrock of careers as far afield as law and the military.
From “Is a Cinema Studies Degree the New MBA?” The New York Times, 3/6/05.
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