Cinema, modern culture’s primary art form, is also the central component of the media traditions and industries that structure contemporary society. From music to art installations, and from literature to the Internet, these various artistic expressions, both individually and in relation to cinema, help us better understand and experience the world around us.
Developed in 2002, Oberlin’s cinema studies program is one of the first programs established at a liberal arts college and one of few programs where students don’t just study films and filmmaking, they produce them.
Cinema studies is a diverse and integrated program of study. You learn by making film and you make films to understand the process, the techniques, the genres, and the significance of film in society. You will view and examine a range of film genres—documentaries, animation, musicals, foreign films, the role of cinema in society and its relationship to other art forms such as music, painting, literature, and dance.
Coursework is interdisciplinary. Majors will take courses in German, Russian, French, Spanish, East Asian studies, art, history, African American studies, creative writing, and music.
The major offers a great angle into many fields because it requires you to have exemplary skills in reading, writing, editing, critical thinking, and to be well versed in new media and technology.
Graduates of the program work in academic programs, in filmmaking, and related industries.
The major in cinema studies teaches you to examine the meanings of cinema in the broadest, most interdisciplinary ways, considering movies as works of art, as cultural forms, and as industrial practices.
Non-majors and those who wish to explore cinema may enroll in a First-Year Seminar that introduces skills in reading, viewing, analysis, writing, and discussion. Majors take a series of introductory to advanced courses in the cinema studies program and in other academic departments.
Throughout the year, cinema studies offers two film series and six film events. You can also get involved in the student-run Oberlin Film Society and the Film Cooperative, which offers courses in film production and supports student filmmaking initiatives. The Apollo Outreach Initiative founded by two cinema studies professors offers a unique year-round educational outreach and media literacy to Oberlin and Lorain County students of all ages. Many cinema studies students assist with projects and serve as mentors. The cinema studies major does not offer a separate production track, however, film production courses do count toward graduation requirements.
Oberlin has a consortia arrangement with the film programs at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Prague Film School in Prague, Czech Republic. Students interested in either program should consult with the director of the cinema studies program in the spring for the Tisch School and in the fall for the Prague Film School.