Semester Review, Fall 2018 Letter from the Director
This semester was another busy one for the Film and Media Studies program. It began with a visit to campus from award winning producer, Peabody Media Fellow and Northwestern University Professor Aymar Jean (AJ) Christian. Professor Christian is an expert on web TV as an independent platform for scripted television shows. He taught all of us how queer and trans artists and producers, producers of color, and independent television content addressing intersectional identity can thrive on alternative platforms. Tasha Oren, professor of TV Studies, discusses his fascinating lecture in this newsletter. We are always looking to foster innovative courses and experiences for our students, and in the fall, Howard Woolf, Director of the Experimental College and longtime filmmaking professor at Tufts, launched a new course, Independent Filmmaking. A select group of advanced filmmaking students were organized into discrete departments--producing, directing, cinematography, lighting, sound, and art direction--and each student had the chance to head a department in shooting a three-part script, written by FMS major Nicole Cohen. They also got to work with the FMS program’s professional-level equipment: the Arri Alexa digital cinema camera, the Schneider PL mount prime lens kit, and the Sound Device 633 recorder. Nicole and another student in the course, Noah Brown, recount their experiences in this newsletter. FMS was also happy to co-sponsor a new course in Philosophy, Media Ethics, taught by visiting professor Benedetta Giovanola. It goes without saying that media raise a host of thorny ethical issues, and we are grateful to professor Giovanola for helping our students navigate them. Speaking of new experiences, Natalie Minik organized an extraordinary evening of "expanded cinema" and music on the roof of the Tisch library. Filmmakers and artists from the Boston-based AgX Film Collective projected their films onto sheets, the sides of the library, and other makeshift screens while the contemporary music group, Ensemble/Parallax, performed. The event opened the eyes of many of us to ways of exhibiting film beyond the traditional theater, and Natalie discusses the evening in this newsletter. Other notable screenings by visiting filmmakers included Amy Adrion's new film, Half the Picture, which explores the recent triumphs and continuing challenges facing female filmmakers in the professional world; and Abigail Child's UNBOUND: Scenes From the Life of Mary Shelley, shown as part of the bicentennial celebration of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein. Each semester we invite inspirational filmmakers to campus to screen and discuss their work with our students, and this February we are delighted that Tufts alum and noted documentarian David Sutherland will be showing his new film about immigration, Marcos Doesn't Live Here Anymore, which you will soon be able to see on PBS. Meanwhile, our internship program remains as robust as ever, and in this newsletter you can find accounts of their internship experiences by some of our students. A personal highlight of the semester for me was a visit to Los Angeles in September to meet many of our wonderful alums working in the entertainment industry there. A wonderful time was had by all at a reception at the historic Culver Hotel, and I am particularly grateful to Julie Rapaport (A06), development executive at Amazon Studios, for organizing a special film screening for guests. I was amazed by the energy and creativity of the alums I met, and the visit showed me just how well Tufts' distinctive liberal arts education prepares our students for a career in film and media. At the end of this newsletter, you can find recent news about some of our alums. I look forward to being in touch again at the end of the spring with more exciting news about FMS. Until then, I wish you a very happy new year.
Sincerely, Malcolm Turvey Sol Gittleman Professor, Department of Art and Art History Director, Film and Media Studies Program