David Lynch and David Bowie: Outside / Twin Peaks

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David Lynch’s Lost Highway

In 2016, we await the miracle of a new Twin Peaks season from David Lynch, and we mourn the passing of David Bowie. Cristina Álvarez López & Adrian Martin will soon present their work on these two Davids at The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

There are many intersections between the prodigious works of these ‘twin peaks’, the two Davids, and doubtless various influences crossing back and forth, over the years, in both directions. In beginning to tease out the deep network that connects the Twin Peaks saga (in all its extensions) with Bowie’s abruptly terminated, ambitious Outside multi-album project of 1995, Álvarez López & Martin ask not so much ‘who influenced who?’, but, rather, speculate on the unusual multi-media worlds created by these gifted artists, and the affinities that tie them together. From notions of the televisual ‘open narrative’ to recurring figures of child/teen murder and detection, from complex, material atmospherics to the goading of endless fan interpretations, they plunge, using audiovisual means, into the ever-widening spiral that draws together Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Bowie’s Outside.

Cristina Álvarez López is a critic, teacher and audiovisual artist who lives in Vilassar de Mar. She is Co-Founder of the Spanish online film journal Transit: Cine y otros desvíos. Her critical writing and audiovisual essays have also appeared in Fandor Keyframe, MUBI Notebook, Shangri-la, LOLA, Frames, Contrapicado, Lumière, Blogs & Docs, La Fuga, De Filmkrant and books on Chantal Akerman, Bong Joon-ho, Philippe Garrel and Paul Schrader.

Adrian Martin is Adjunct Associate Professor of Film and Screen Studies at Monash University (Australia), and lives in Vilassar de Mar as a freelance writer and audiovisual artist. He is the author of seven books, the most recent being Mise en scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art (Palgrave). His regular columns appear in Caiman and De Filmkrant. He is Co-Editor of LOLA journal, and of the book Movie Mutations (BFI, 2003).

8 March 2016, 6.30pm ACMI Studio 1
Tickets

 

Meeting the Rebel Master of the World Cinema

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Peter Watkins and Moynul Alam Photo Credit: Vida Urbonavicius (Watkins’ wife)

Recently, Monash University Doctoral Researcher Moynul Alam (Moynul Shaon) had the rare opportunity to meet Peter Watkins, the rebel master of the World Cinema in central France. It has been a positive outcome of Moynul’s years of persuasion to meet the master.

Peter Watkins is well known as a vigorous critic of capitalism and commercial cinema. In his lifelong struggle against what he understands to be a repressive global politics and media, Watkins himself directed masterpieces such as The War Game (1965), Punishment Park (1971), Edvard Munch (1976), La Commune (2000) all of which played a significant role in constructing Documentary Cinema as a critical artistic apparatus. The Late critic Raymond Durgnat once asserted that Peter Watkins is as important as John Grierson in the development of Documentary as an individual genre. Interestingly, Australia, Melbourne and Monash University have all ad significant historical attachments to the making of his 14 hour long masterpiece The Journey (1983-86) which involved participants from different parts of the world.

Moynul Alam has been researching Peter Watkins cinema for the last half a decade or so at Monash University. He first completed his Post Graduate Diploma on Watkins’ films in 2010. And in 2011 commenced his PhD on Watkins’ latest production ‘La Commune’ (Topic: Revolution in Peter Watkins’ ‘La Commune’) under the supervision of Associate Professors Deane Williams, Adrian Martin and Dr Julia Vassilieva. ‘La Commune’ portrays -the vital but short- lived working class revolutionary event of Paris Commune in the year of 1871 and it’s subsequent bloody repression – in an innovative cinematic form and process.

As per Moynul’s view, “from the beginning of this scholarly journey at Monash University, Peter reassures me via his audiovisual work and written ideas that Cinema has the appropriate power to facilitate progressive change within the complex arena of politics … this long- sought crucial meeting solidifies further this very assertion and delivers me the required artistic strength and inspiration to continue the struggle that Peter and his contemporaries started in the middle of last century within the cinematic field for a just, equal and humane universe. I believe scholarship must have a progressive political goal and thanks to Monash University’s global infrastructure and endless intellectual support I will continue my research in an international setting and also to meet one of the most important Cineastes of our epoch.”

It is a great privilege for the Film, Media & Communication program, Monash University to share this important news with other researchers.

 

The Cinema of Sean Penn to launch in St Kilda

9780231176255Monash University’s Associate Professor  Deane Williams, an expert in film and screen studies, will celebrate the launch of his new book, The Cinema of Sean Penn: In and Out of Place at Readings, Acland St, St Kilda on February 25 at 6pm.

Academic Dr Noel King will launch the book, which has been published by Wallflower, London and New York 2016.

Associate Professor Williams is editor of the journal Studies in Documentary Film and co-author – with Noel King and Con Verevis – of Australian Film Theory and Criticism.

Book synopsis

Although best known as an Academy Award winning actor, Sean Penn’s directorial works The Indian Runner (1991), The Crossing Guard (1995), The Pledge (2001), and Into the Wild (2007), consist of some of the most interesting and singular films made in the United States over the past twenty years.

Each of Penn’s directorial films and much of the cinema he has acted in are set in an immediate past in which a “stalled” time and a restricted locale apply narrative constraints.

At the same time, these films all feature a sophisticated web of intertextual relations, involving actors, songs, books, films, and directors, and the political lineage to which Penn belongs, which reveal the deep cultural structures that concern each particular film.

Associate Professor Dean Williams.
Associate Professor Dean Williams.

 

 

To read more about The Cinema of Sean Penn, click here.

 

PhD Scholarships in Australian Film, Television and Media History

Three full-time, funded, scholarships available for PhD candidates to undertake research into Utilitarian Filmmaking in Australia 1945 – 1980, as part of a four-year Australian Research Council funded Discovery Project. This ground-breaking project will discover, document, analyse and compile a lasting archive of Utilitarian Filmmaking in Australia. ‘Utilitarian’ describes client-sponsored, instructional and governmental filmmaking existing outside the conventional theatrical contexts by which cinema is usually defined. The project will engage with major cultural institutions to generate conferences, books, articles, exhibitions and interactive archives as well as the three PhD dissertations. The successful applicants will become part of a leading research team across three Australian universities (University of Canberra, Murdoch University, Monash University,) and have the opportunity to work with experienced senior supervisors in traditional research modes as well as cutting edge, practice-led research outputs.

Expressions of interest are sought from outstanding candidates for PhD study in a wide range of fields including, but not limited to: screen studies, archival studies, cultural studies, communication studies, Australian history.

 

Public Lecture: Lesley Stern – How Does (the) Cinema Feel About (the) Animal?

On Thursday November 12th,  renowned film scholar Professor Lesley Stern presented a public lecture at the Monash Conference Centre. Sponsored by the Film and Screen Studies Program, the School of Media, Film and Journalism and the Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Professor Stern presented an incredibly smart and beautifully written paper, theorising what the cinema feels about the animal and in turn what those affects tell us about the cinema more broadly. Her talk was attended by people from cinema and cultural studies programs across Melbourne, and it generated a much needed discussion about the relationship between the burgeoning field of animal studies and film studies.

In the cinema all things are potentially equal: objects, people, animals. All things come into being—come alive, acquire performative powers—through cinematic magic. But even though the cinema is not exclusively human it has surely been permeated by the spirit of human exceptionalism. Bad blood enshrouds the inception of cinema, and its legacy is a haunting. When we watch movies today we cannot avoid the presence of ghosts: slaughtered elephants, galloping horses, sacrificial dogs, carnivorous bears—all hover and materialize and enter our dreams. Much recent work in cinema studies has turned attention to the place of the animal in the cinema and this paper is enabled by such work. However, rather than thinking through generalities my attention is caught, today, by moments of sensuous intensity, by fragments and scenes from various films in which animals and people and places are brought into strangely affective alliance. Reaching from Buster Keaton’s Go West to Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Tropical Malady, the paper will speculate on how films (via modes of mimeticism, empathetic projection, animistic gestures) might affect and change the way we feel and identify across differences.

Professor Lesley Stern is the author of Dead and Alive: The Body as Cinematic Thing, The Smoking Book and The Scorsese Connection, and co-editor of Falling For You: Essays on Cinema and Performance. Her work moves between a number of disciplinary locations and spans both theory and production: although her reputation was established in the fields of film theory and history, she is also known for her fictocritical writing. Her work has been highly influential in the areas of film, performance, photography, cultural history, postcolonialism, feminism and gardening/ecocriticism.

 

Getting to know … Therese Davis

Associate Professor Therese Davis
Associate Professor Therese Davis

Monash University film lecturer Associate Professor Therese Davis is co-writing a book about Australian Indigenous filmmaking with Dr Romaine Moreton, who is a philosopher and Indigenous filmmaker.

Getting to know …

Name: Therese Davis

Title: Associate Professor

Faculty/Division: Arts

Department: School of Media, Film and Journalism

Campus: Caulfield

How long have you worked at Monash? Eight years.

 

Where did you work prior to starting at the University? University of Newcastle and before that in community radio stations in Sydney.

What do you like best about your role? Working in a department with great colleagues and the students we teach.

Why did you choose your current career path? In my first year at university, I saw a Godard film, Tout Va Bien, and it made me decide to drop the course I was doing and enrol in a Communications/Media degree so I could study film. I took a slight detour into the world of community radio but later came back to my first love.

First job? My first academic job was teaching radio documentary.

Worst job? As a “waitress” in Martin Place in Sydney – one day the owner made me scrub the entire kitchen including the ovens and then sacked me.

What research/projects are you currently working on and what does it involve? I’m co-writing a book about Australian Indigenous filmmaking with Dr Romaine Moreton. Romaine is a philospher and Indigenous filmmaker.

In writing this book we’ve interviewed filmmakers, watched loads of films and spent many hours developing a new way to think about the significnace of this work in Australia and internationally. I also research and write about women filmmakers.

What is your favourite place in the world and why? Prato, Italy. I first visited Prato when I was teaching a unit on film at the Monash campus there. It’s in Tuscany, and it’s the most beautiful place to be in summer.

It’s not as a big or famous as Florence, but I like that – it’s a place where you get to experience everyday life in Italy and the food is unbelievably good!

What is your favourite place to eat and why? Cicciolina in St Kilda – because the food is excellent (Italian), the staff are amazingly friendly and it has a great little “back bar” with old-style booths.

 

 

New Directions in Screen Studies

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Under Construction and New Directions Teams

 

A group of Monash Film and Screen Studies postgraduates have been especially busy over the past few months, having organised what looks to be an outstanding national conference. Developed out of the monthly Under Construction seminar series, New Directions in Screen Studies is a two-day conference for postgraduates and early career researchers (ECRs) in Screen Studies. The conference is a forum for new researchers to showcase their work before their peers and develop professional links across campuses around the country and beyond. Its academic focus is emerging concerns, debates and methodologies in the field of screen studies, but it also hopes to capture the multiple ways in which the historical, the contemporary and the future are inter-related domains of knowledge. Keynote speakers include Dr Ramon Lobato, Professor Angela Ndalianis, Professor George Kouvaros and filmmaker John Hughes.

Here’s what the organisers have to say about it:

What is Under Construction?

Matteo Dutto: Under Construction is a seminar series run by postgraduates in the School of Media, Film and Journalism for postgraduates. We meet on the first Monday of every month during semester to share ideas in a laid-back setting in which we can get to know each other and each other’s work. Presenters can share and test-run their conference papers, milestone presentations, journal articles, or just some of the ideas from their research.

What made you want to get involved with this group/project?

Michael Kho Lim: When I started my PhD program, I was quite overwhelmed with everything and seemed to be lost. I also didn’t know anyone else from the program besides my classmates in my coursework. I wanted to meet some of the seniors so I would know how it went for them, how was the experience, etc. Then an announcement came the UC would be “revived.” I attended some sessions and thought of joining the organising committee because I think it’s a good way to interact with other PhD students and help the new ones start off more prepared. I also thought that it would add excitement to my PhD life as it could be quite a solitary journey. I have been quite used to organising events back home, so I thought of helping out as well.

Dan Edwards: I can’t speak for the others, but I was drawn to the idea of a seminar series, and later a conference, because I felt, along with several other postgrads I spoke to, that there was a distinct lack of community amongst the MFJ PhD students at Monash. The only time many of us saw each other was at end of year drinks, so we saw the seminars partly as a way of fostering a social community. Secondly, it seemed important to provide postgrads with a forum for presenting and testing their work before their peers in a non-pressured environment. Otherwise, for many people presenting their work meant stepping straight into a conference set up, where you are often presenting before a more senior (and sometimes much more critical) cohort.

How did the conference develop out of the seminar series?

Matteo Dutto: It all came quite naturally after we had run the series for about a year. We thought it would be a good idea to open up the format and organise a conference focusing on the work of postgraduates and early career researchers in Screen Studies and provide a national forum to discuss their research and establish connections with their peers.

How did you decide on “new directions” as a theme?

Belinda Glyn: When we were deciding what kind of conference we wanted to have, we realised there was no conference in Australia just for postgrads and early career researchers. This seemed like a huge oversight, because this group are the researchers of the future who have lots of interesting things to say but might, due to lack of experience and published work, find it hard to get into the more established film studies conferences. New directions seemed like an appropriate way to describe the work of upcoming film scholars – the new directions in the field of film studies.

What challenges did you overcome during the organising process?

Shweta Kishore: It has been a great learning experience. We have worked well as a team with a common objective. The challenges have been minor logistical issues but nothing major so far. We were quite fortunate that as we had run a seminar series, it helped to establish our credentials when we approached the School of Media, Film and Journalism as well as MIGR with the proposal for a conference.

And, finally, which panel are you most looking forward to and why?

Sofia Rios: The panel I am looking forward to the most is “Outsiders, liars and bad men: takes on contemporary television”. I am a huge advocate for television studies, as I find that film studies usually steals the limelight

Matteo Dutto: I wish I could see all panels, but we had so many high-level submissions that we had to have three streams. If I had to pick three I would go with the panel on FILM FESTIVALS AND PUBLICS, the one on NON-PROFESSIONAL STORYTELLING and with DESTABILISING CRITICAL THEORY. I am also looking forward to the screening of John Hughes’ 1995 film What I Have Written as parts of it were shot at the Monash Clayton campus. The conference reception is also going to be great fun.

Shweta Kishore: All the panels feature excellent papers and presenters. Personally I am looking forward to the Screen Sound and Music panel because sound is such an important element of films but is often subordinated to the visual mise en scene in film studies. I am also looking forward to our film screening and the keynote speakers as well as connecting with the presenters at the reception.

Dan Edwards: I think they’ll all be great, but personally I’m particularly looking forward to the “Moments of Stasis” panel on day one, because I love films that play on the tension between motion and stillness, and encourage a viewing attitude that is above all attendant to minute shifts in tone. I’m also really looking forward to all of our keynotes, who are a very eclectic group of scholars with very different approaches and interests.

To register: http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/newdirections2015

If you are interested in receiving more information about the Under Construction Seminar, please email seminar-underconstruction@monash.edu so you can be added to their mailing list.

 

Calling all students! AFI membership offer

Want to attend free advanced screenings of Australian film and TV? Want to chat with actors, filmmakers and producers? AACTA membership offers all this and more! Join now for a special 2-for-1 student offer. This is your chance to become an industry insider, and even vote in the AACTA Awards – Australia’s version of the Oscars! Join today: http://www.aacta.org/membership/student-membership.aspx

AFI membership

 

Martin launches Mise en Scène and Film Style

Associate Professor Adrian Martin.
Associate Professor Adrian Martin.

Adrian Martin, an Adjunct Associate Professor in Film and Screen Studies at Monash University, launched his book, Mise en Scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art, on February 26.

Associate Prof Martin’s presentation,  Using Multimedia Like We Mean It: Audiovisual Demonstration in Film and Media Studies Today, was delivered before the Monash  academic community and invited guests at the Caulfield campus.

 

Dr Belinda Smaill acknowledges the work of Associate Professor Adrian Martin.
Dr Belinda Smaill.

The function also was a  farewell to Associate Prof Martin, who has worked with the Film and Screen Studies academic staff for some time.

Associate Prof Martin is renowned internationally as a film critic, who has been a prolific writer for more than 35 years.

Associate Professor Adrian Martin (from left), Dr Belinda Smaill and Associate Professor Therese Davis.
Associate Professor Adrian Martin (from left), Dr Belinda Smaill and Associate Professor Therese Davis.
Book launch of Associate Professor Adrian Martin at MADA.
Book launch of Associate Professor Adrian Martin at MADA.

 

CFP – Cinema at the End of the World

International Conference
16–19 November 2015

Call for Papers

Every day hundreds of people travel back and forth between southern countries,

including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Indonesia, Timor Leste

and South Africa; and with these people travel cultures, experiences, memories

and images. The Cinema at the End of the World International Conference takes

on a transversal South-South approach to the study of visual culture in transnational,

transcultural and geopolitical contexts. It seeks to create conditions for the

generation, sharing and circulation of new knowledge that is both southern and

about the South as a specific kind of material and imaginary territory (or territories).

It does so through the study of the southern hemisphere’s screen cultures,

addressing the broad spectrum of cultural expression in both traditional and new

screen media, including film, television, video, digital, interactive, and online and

portable technologies.

Proposals are invited for papers that explore intersections of screen works from

countries south of the Equator and one or more of the following themes:

Cross-Cultural Translations, Transformations and Mutations

Settler Culture and Modernity

Indigenous and Localised Media Practice and Theory

Representations of Trauma and Violence

Landscapes and Urbanisation

Plenary speakers:

Patricio Guzmán (TBC)

Lúcia Nagib (University of Reading)

Mariano Mestman (University of Buenos Aires)

Fernão Ramos (University of Campinas, Brasil)

Felicity Collins (La Trobe University)

The Inaugural Conference of the

South of the West: Southern Screens Research Network

Presented in association with:

School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University

Monash Art Design and Architecture

School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University

Screen Studies Association of Australia and

Aotearoa/New Zealand Australian Centre for the Moving Image

School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, Curtin University.

The Conference Conveners will accept proposals for papers until 28 February 2015.

Abstracts of no more than 250-words and a 100-word biography should be sent to

halina.bluzer@monash.edu. with “CEW Abstract” included in the title

A Special Issue of Critical Arts will be dedicated to articles that emerge from

conference presentations.

For more information contact:

a.traverso@curtin.edu.au or

deane. williams@ monash.edu.

Monash University, Caulfield,

Melbourne, Australia

Download Flyer: CEW Call for Papers (1)

 

CFP – New Directions in Screen Studies

Call for Papers

New Directions in Screen Studies: A National Conference for Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers in Screen Studies

New Directions in Screen Studies is a two-day conference for postgraduates and early career researchers (ERCs) in Screen Studies. The conference is a forum for new researchers to showcase their work before their peers and develop professional links across campuses around the country and beyond.

Where: Monash University, Caulfield Campus, Melbourne

When: Thursday 18 – Friday 19 June 2015

Deadline for Proposals: Monday 2 February 2015

As well as papers from postgraduates and ERCs, the conference will feature four keynote presentations from established academics and screen practitioners:

  • Professor George Kouvaros, University of New South Wales. Books include Famous Faces Yet Not Themselves: The Misfits and Icons of Postwar America (Minnesota UP, 2010) and the forthcoming publication Awakening the Eye: Robert Frank’s American Cinema (Minnesota UP, 2015).
  • Professor Angela Ndalianis, Head of Screen and Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne. Books include The Horror Sensorium: Media and the Senses (2012), Science Fiction Experiences (2010) and Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment (2004).
  • Documentarian John Hughes, Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Films include Indonesia Calling: Joris Ivens in Australia and The Archive Project.
  • Dr Romaine Moreton, Research Fellow/Filmmaker in Residence, Monash University. Films include The Farm and The Oysterman.

The organising committee is currently seeking proposals for papers. We are particularly interested in papers focused on topics in the areas below. However, this list is in no way prescriptive – we are primarily interested in showcasing new areas of research in Screen Studies, so we are very happy to consider proposals outside these areas.

  • Transnational frameworks in screen studies
  • Sites of spectatorship, including film festivals, non-traditional spaces and site-specific screen practices
  • Gender and gender identity
  • Contemporary understandings of film style, genre and/or narrative
  • Celebrity studies
  • Intermediality and cross-platform storytelling

Presentations should be 20 minutes in length. We are also happy to receive proposals for panels of three presenters. A selection of presenters will be invited to develop their papers for articles to be published as part of a special dossier in Senses of Cinema.

Proposals of no more than 300 words, clearly stating the paper’s title and the author’s name and affiliation, should be sent as a Word document attachment to: underconstructionconference@gmail.com

 

Under Construction Seminar Series 2015

2-4 pm in Room H805/06.Caulfield Campus. First Monday of every month during Semester

Next Session: 2nd March 2015

Under Construction is the School of Media, Film and Journalism seminar series run by postgraduates for postgraduates. Meeting on the first Monday of every month during semester, this series provides a great opportunity to interact with other postgrads and hear about all of the exciting work that is being done within the school.

The idea is to share ideas in a laid-back setting in which we can get to know each other and each other’s work. If you’d like to test-run a conference paper, your confirmation presentation, a journal article, or just share some of the ideas from your research, then this is the place to do it.

We are currently accepting proposals to be part of next year’s series. Presentations run for between 20 and 30 minutes and can be as formal or informal, detailed or general as you like. There will be two presenters per session and discussions are a big part of the gatherings.

To get in touch with us, just send us an e-mail at seminar-underconstruction@monash.edu

The Under Construction team is made up of Felicity Chaplin, Matteo Dutto, Dan Edwards, Belinda Glynn and Shweta Kishore.

 

Symposium – Digital Media as Method


The Digital Media as Method symposium was convened by Deane Williams. Held November 13-14 2014, it featured leading international researchers/practitioners in a critical consideration of new methods in digital humanities.

Keynotes

“Dissolves of Passion”? Materially thinking through editing in digital videographic film and moving image studiesUntitled

Dr Catherine Grant, University of Sussex

Focusing on a number of videographic explorations of matters of film editing (including several of my own), my talk will ask what such practical, digital and audiovisual modes of research and presentation — ones which themselves evidently turn on editing — might add to the study of a cinematic feature that (with a number of key exceptions) has not received much sustained attention to date in written film scholarship.

‘Restless Media’

Professor Ross Gibson, University of Canberra Ross

In one of his last essays, the great historian Greg Dening captured his understanding of how he was always striving to activate the past that continues to push through the present in a myriad directions, from many different perspectives, serving variable interests. For the past is no gone thing. As an historian, Dening explained, you must work and wait for the past to reveal some of its vitality; and you must acknowledge that, as you minister to the past, you are committed to an ‘unclosed action’ and you must find communicative forms that serve this necessary openness.[1]

Dening worked mostly with the book-form and in the realtime performance of lectures; but as it happens, his identified need for restless but rigorous postulation is especially well served by digital media. (Given time, he would have set high standards for the digital humanities.) Prompted by Dening, I want to ask to what extent have digital media changed our ways of accounting for the world; and in counterpoint, to what extent have the digital media turned up at precisely the time when the world has indicated the need for them?

[1] Greg Dening, “Performing Cross-Culturally”, The Australasian Journal of American Studies, 2006, Vol. 25, No. 2, p.6.

 

Visiting scholar Thomas Elsaesser on Film Theory in the Digital Age

Affect and Appropriation: Film Theory in the Digital Age

October 13, 2014. Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square.

Presented by The Research Unit in Film Culture and Theory, Monash University and the School of Culture and Communication, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne.

Thomas Elsaesser is Professor of Film and Television Studies at the ThomasUniversity of Amsterdam and visiting Professor at Yale University. For more than forty years he has been a leading figure in the fields of Early Cinema, Quality Television, Digital Cinema, Harun Farocki, and New Hollywood Cinema. He is General Editor of the series Film Culture in Transition, published by Amsterdam University Press, and in 2008 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

His books include New German Cinema: A History (1989, reprinted 1994), Weimar Cinema and After (2000), European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood (2005), The Persistence of Hollywood (2012) and German Cinema – Terror and Trauma: Cultural Memory since 1945 (2013). He has also edited and co-edited some twelve other volumes. His books have been translated into German. French, Italian, Czech, Hebrew, Hungarian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Lithuanian. He is also author of hundreds of articles in journals such as American Film, Cinema Journal, Cinetracts, Discourse, Film Comment, Framework, Hors Cadre, Iris, Kinoschriften, Medienwissenschaft, montage a/v, New German Critique, October, Persistence of Vision, Positif, Screen, Sight and Sound, Trafic, Wide Angle as well as in several other foreign language journals.

 

FSS
MFJ academics with Thomas Elsaesser

 

 

International Screening and Q&A – New Directions in Indigenous filmmaking and performance

“New Directions in Indigenous filmmaking and performance: screenings and Q and A”. Presented by Dr Romaine Moreton and Lou Bennett

European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA) International Conference: Encountering Australia: Transcultural Conversations
Wednesday 24 September 2014, Monash University Prato Centre, Italy.

Romaine
Dr Romaine Moreton

In this session, keynote speaker Dr Romaine Moreton, Goernpil Bundjulung filmmaker and scholar, joined with Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung performer Lou Bennett to present a program of works that represent new artistic directions in Indigenous filmmaking and performance and raise crucial issues about Indigenous cultural heritage and revitalisation of language.

Dr Moreton screened her new short The Oysterman (2013). She also presented her “chapter” from Warwick Thornton’s new film The Darkside (2013) – an experimental anthology of Indigenous ghost stories.

 

Lou
Lou Bennett

Lou Bennett,
best known for her work as a former member of the internationally acclaimed trio Tiddas and Artistic Director for Black Arm Band, will speak to her roles in the hugely successful Australian musical film The Sapphires (2012), as a musical performer on the film’s soundtrack, cultural consultant and translator of the film’s key Yorta Yorta song “Ngarra Burra Ferra.” Lou introduced excerpts from the film and speak to the historical and cultural importance of “Ngarra Burra Ferra” in the context of her PhD research on the relevance of Aboriginal language retrieval, reclamation and regeneration through the Arts to community health and well-being.

 

Undergraduate

Film and Screen Studies involves historical, textual and critical approaches to film and television, and related video and new screen technologies. Film and Screen Studies subjects cover Australian, Asian and European national cinemas, earlier and contemporary popular Hollywood and its institutions, alternative film and video, documentary film, Australian television, popular television genres, online screen forms, and video practice.

Emphasis is given to a variety of historical, critical and theoretical methods of analysis appropriate to the study of the moving image, including formal, semiotic and psychoanalytic approaches, institutional, reception and cultural studies approaches, consideration of issues to do with the intersection of ideology and culture, the representation of gender, race and class, and questions concerning the relations between film and television and new technologies.

FSS Program Map (2014)

What can you expect from a Film and Screen Studies unit?

While detailed information on all of our subjects can be located within the current handbook, here are some ideas of what to expect in units offered at first, second and third year.

ATS1304 – Introduction to Television Studies

Employing textual criticism, critical theory and theories of political economy, this unit introduces students to a variety of approaches to the study of television. Students will consider the phenomenon of television through a critical approach to the forms specific to broadcast television through an understanding of recent theories relating to popular culture. These include issues of history, genre, context , consumerism and audiences. Attention will also be given to the cultural and economic forces that shape and are reflected in the structuring of television programs and networks. As part of their assessment, students create a critical audio commentary that closely examines one scene from a television series.

ATS2535 – Storytelling in Film and Television: From Classical Narrative to Art Cinema

This unit analyses texts that are representative of the stylistic diversity found in film and television. Students are encouraged to develop awareness of film and televisual form and style, and of how communication is organised within certain structured ways. The areas of film and television used to exemplify topics will be major innovatory phases including the development of film form in the continuity editing system 1895-1920, Russian formal experiments in the 1920s, alternative formal systems in Asian film, and post-war developments, including Italian neo-realism, European art cinema, avant-garde film, Third World filmmaking, and contemporary Hollywood and World film and television. As part of their assessment, students use the knowledge developed in this unit to produce entries for a Directory of Contemporary Cinema.

Here are some examples of work produced in 2014:

Barbour, Amanda. Godzilla, dir. Gareth Edwards

Batsakis, Joanna. Jealousy, dir. Phillipe Garrel

ATS3969 – Film and Television in the Digital Era

This unit provides an opportunity for students to critically reflect on the key critical approaches and concepts in film and television studies with a focus on new technologies and digital cultures. Students will look at the theoretical and critical issues arising from changes to the field in the digital era as they apply to a wide range of new screen medias. Assessment for this unit includes a creative research project that provides students with advanced training in research skills and methodologies in preparation for Honours and employment in creative industries.

(Video project by Gena Furze, Honeylyn Lisson, Kelly Jung Eun Kim and Elly Caldwell)

What our students say

“I think people underestimate the DSC_0245-2academic credibility of Film & Screen Studies. Visual culture has the capacity to reflect not only who we are, but also how we want to see ourselves. For example; as far as Hollywood is concerned, if anyone is going to save the world they will probably be American. Through cinema you can see social change. While the course has an academic foundation there’s room for creative licence. Lecturers encourage you to pursue films or subject matter which appeals to you, thus you are not bound by the curriculum and have the freedom to explore your own interests.” (Mandy Barbour, current student)

 

Honours

Honours studies in this area will advance students’ knowledge and competencies in the discipline of film and screen studies.

Students are required to complete 48 points of study including a thesis, a compulsory coursework unit and one elective coursework unit. Students may also be required to attend a short methodology course. The coursework units and the thesis topic are chosen in consultation with the film and screen studies honours coordinator.

Recent thesis topics have included:

Bad Men: American Masculinity and Post-Masculinity in Popular Quality Television and Online Audiences

Women Horror Filmmakers, Gendered Spectatorship and a New Wave of Filmmaking

Surf Movies: Innovation, Evolution and Nostalgia

Representations or Reality: Constructing and Deconstructing Stereotypes of Aboriginal Men in Australian Cinema

Changi(ng) History: Memory and the Experience of a Nation

Hornbags and Heroes: The Suburban Grotesque in Australian Film and Television

Searching the Soul of Neoliberalism: Postfeminism, the Pursuit of Happiness and Redeeming Ally McBeal

Investigating Women: Neurodivergence and New Femininities in Homeland and The Bridge

Narrative Form and Interactivity in the Modern Videogame

Good Witches and Bad Bitches: Maternity and Women’s Villainy in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Somewhere between a waitress and a mother”: Mad Men and Mothers

Teen-Machines: Teen TV and the representation, consumption and regulation of teenage sexuality

Syd’s Field Day: Industrial and Theoretical Approaches to Screenwriting

Love Our Way: The Secret Life of Spirited Women in Contemporary Television.

Storytelling in Contemporary American Cable Drama

What can you expect in coursework units?

While detailed information on current coursework units can be located within the current handbook, this is what students completed in 2014:

ATS4280 – Contemporary Film Theory

This is primarily a reading unit that will consider aspects of film theory since 1975. A major portion of the unit will be devoted to the debates around modernism and post-modernism as they relate to film studies. Other areas of investigation include: textual analysis, feminist film theory, historical poetics, historical reception studies, queer film theory, and the impact of the cultural studies and Cinema books of Gilles Deleuze. Film texts for exploration will include those from Australian, American, European and Asian cinemas. As part of their assessment, students produce entries for an Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Film Concepts. 

Here are some entries produced:

Harris, Paul. Fandom Studies

King, Lauren. Feminist Sitcom

Wham, James. Hong Kong New Wave

What our students say

“Completing an Honours degree in DSC_0263-2Film & Screen Studies has been a tremendously rewarding experience. Thanks to the dedication and proficiency of Monash’s teaching staff I have gained a wealth of knowledge and practical experience in academic writing and research. In addition to the educational benefits, my lecturers, tutors and supervisor have continuously strengthened my passion for film academia and have inspired me to pursue a career in the field of study. The coursework was both equally engaging and enlightening and the close working relationships with my Honours tutors and supervisor have been invaluable to my career.” (Jack Clarke, past student)

 

Higher Degree Research and Postgraduate Study

Research

Film and Screen Studies offers supervision in the following areas:

  • alternative film and video
  • American film
  • Asian film (Indonesian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Hong Kong, Indian)
  • Australian film and television
  • documentary film studies
  • European film (especially French cinema)
  • film aesthetics (form, style, narrative)
  • film and television genre studies
  • film history
  • histories of film theory and criticism
  • international film cultures and institutions
  • teen film and television
  • women and cinema
  • women and television
Our recent submissions and completions:

Chaplin, Felicity (PhD). La Parisienne in Cinema. Supervisors: Adrian Martin and Phillip Anderson

Edwards, Daniel (PhD). Alternative Visions, Alternative Publics: Contemporary Independent Chinese Documentary as a Public Sphere. Supervisors: Olivia Khoo and Deane Williams

Frost, Craig (PhD). “Want to play a game?” torture porn, violence, media convergence and spectatorship. Principal Supervisor: Therese Davis

Honig, Michael (PhD). Ghosts of modernity: the J-horror cycle. Supervisors: Deane Williams and Constantine Verevis

Kannas, Alexia (PhD). All the colours of the dark: Genre, modernity and the Italian Giallo Film. Supervisors: Adrian Martin and Deane Williams

Lew, Catherine (MA). Spectacular Bodies, Anatomical Curio and One-Armed Wonders On Screen: A Focus on Representations of Disability in Asian Cinema. Supervisors: Olivia Khoo and Belinda Smaill

Loreck, Janice (PhD). Difficult subjects: women, violence and subjectivity in distinguished cinema. Supervisors: Belinda Smaill and Claire Perkins

Masukor, Sarinah (PhD). Alternate Weathers: How the films of Nuri Bilge Ceylan think about nature and technology. Supervisors: Adrian Martin and Claire Perkins

McQueen, Sean (PhD). Biocapitalism and Schizophrenia. Supervisors:  Andrew Milner, Claire Perkins, and Alison Ross

Monaghan, Whitney (PhD). Not ‘just a phase’: Queer girls in contemporary screen media. Supervisors: Therese Davis, Claire Perkins and Olivia Khoo

Letizi, Roberto (PhD). The void of experience: moments of musical rupture in cinema. Principal Supervisor: Deane Williams

Soehadi, Gaston (PhD). Teguh Karya: A Film Auteur Working within a Collective. Supervisors: Olivia Khoo and David Hanan

Stevens, Kirsten (PhD). See it at a festival near you: the film festival as exhibition practice in Melbourne, 1952-2012. Supervisors: Adrian Martin and Constantine Verevis

Tutton, Charles (PhD). The digital apparatus: reimagining cinema in new media. Supervisors: Deane Williams and Constantine Verevis

Woodyard, Andrew (MA). The Romantic Comedy Genre. Supervisors: Deane Williams and Belinda Smaill

Postgraduate Activities

Under Construction Seminar Series

Under Construction is the School of Media, Film and Journalism seminar series run by postgraduates for postgraduates. Meeting on the first Monday of every month during semester, this series provides a great opportunity to interact with other postgrads and hear about all of the exciting work that is being done within the school.

New Directions in Screen Studies: A National Conference for Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers in Screen Studies

New Directions in Screen Studies is a two-day conference for postgraduates and early career researchers (ERCs) in Screen Studies. The conference will be held in 2015. It will provide a forum for new researchers to showcase their work before their peers and develop professional links across campuses around the country and beyond.

Peephole Journal

Peephole is an online film journal devoted to creative screen criticism. It regularly features articles by current and previous students at postgraduate and honours level. 

What our students say

“Moving overseas to undertake a PhD DSC_0265can be a great challenge. But when given an offer from one of the most respected Film and Screen Studies research units in Australia, with great support for research students and brilliant supervisors, it just made sense to pursue my passion for Australian Indigenous cinema and undertake a PhD at Monash. Research can often feel like a very solitary endeavor, especially if you have just arrived from overseas. The new coursework component of the graduate research program ensured that I had a chance to meet with other graduate students and with staff members on a regular basis, while developing at the same time all the skills needed to start my research journey” (Matteo Dutto, current student)

 

“Completing my PhD with Film anDSCF2422d Screens Studies at Monash University was an incredibly rewarding experience. The PhD program not only provided me with the support and guidance I needed to make the most of my doctoral study, encouraging my research and development as a higher degree scholar, it also provided a chance to interact with other post-graduates working in similar fields. Film and Screen Studies at Monash fosters a great sense of collegiality and community in its post-graduate students and, as a result, my time as a PhD candidate there was both enjoyable and rewarding for the friendships and research connections I made. Through the program I was also granted the opportunity to travel overseas to conduct research and present my work at an international conference, an experience that remains one of the highlights of my candidature. I got so much out of completing my PhD with Film and Screen Studies at Monash – I would recommend Monash to anyone interested in a PhD in Film, TV or screen media!” (Dr Kirsten Stevens, past student)

 

India In Flux: Living Resistance presented at MIFF

 Shweta Kishore.
Shweta Kishore.

India In Flux: Living Resistance at Melbourne International Film Festival 2014 is the first public presentation of a curated Indian documentary film programme in Australia.

Co-curator Shweta Kishore said the project was motivated by the desire to expand knowledge and appreciation of Indian screen cultures amongst Australian audiences.

“The programme presents a stirring vision of social resistance and struggle, authored by filmmakers who work in multiple geographical and production settings,” Ms Kishore said.

“The curation takes a historical approach to documentary cinema and includes imaginative expressions of cinematic language as well as new ways of relating to the traditional documentary subject, the ‘victim’ or subaltern.

“Comprising of six feature length and one medium length documentary film, the curation is interested in works that devise original cinematic idioms to engage with their political concerns.”

Ms Kishore said the programme extended to two filmmaker events, Currents of Dissent, a panel discussion with filmmakers Deepa Dhanraj and Anand Patwardhan, and film critic Meenakshi Shedde, about the structures and issues that are central to this cinema and its practitioners.

“The second event, a Documentary Directing Master Class with Anand Patwardhan offers an intensive engagement with the conceptual approach and film techniques of one of the world’s foremost political filmmakers’,” she said.

“As documentary cinema is in the midst of global churning and new players and agendas attach to the form, the capacity for this practice to maintain autonomy lies in plurality; dispersal of production sites and distributed modes of production and exhibition.

“Indian documentary cinema in its pluralistic dispersed and improvised mode of operation represents a valuable model for the survival of independent cinematic vision.”

Film titles: Children of the Pyre, Invoking Justice, Jai Bhim Comrade, John and Jane, My Name Is Salt, Quarter number 4/11, Tomorrow We Disappear, Vertical City

The programme is curated by Shweta Kishore, PhD Candidate, School of Media, Film and Journalism and supported by Monash University.

 

The Journey from AIDS to HIV

The School of Media, Film and Journalism hosted a fascinating preview of Transmission: The Journey from AIDS to HIV on Wednesday, July 16 at Monash University’s MADA building at Caulfield.

Staffan Hildebrand offers insight into his extraordinary film.
Staffan Hildebrand offers insight into his extraordinary film.

Film director Staffan Hildebrand has collected film material, captured between 1986-2013, on HIV/AIDS. The film captures the difficulties during the 1980s and progresses to 2013, which highlights the improvements in HIV treatment and longevity.

Hildebrand answered questions after the preview, which highlighted the depth of work and its target audience for AIDS 2014.

Hildebrand has been filming the HIV/AIDS epidemic since 1986, and is the founder and producer of the Face of AIDS film archive housed at the prestigious Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Staffan Hildebrand  (left) with Associate Professor Mia Lindgren.
Staffan Hildebrand (left) with Associate Professor Mia Lindgren.

Transmission: The Journey from AIDS to HIV was commissioned for AIDS 2014, the meeting of the  International AIDS Society to be held in Melbourne, 21-25 July 2014.

This film is a centerpiece for the conference that will engage delegates, HIV/AIDS professionals and the general population by exploring how the Australian response  was coordinated
across political and ideological boundaries and driven by the community but why today,  young people continue to be at risk of HIV.

Staffan Hildebrand (left) with producer Daniel Brace.
Staffan Hildebrand (left) with producer Daniel Brace.

It introduces us to many of the characters who have been influential over the three decades of the fight against HIV and AIDS.

It contains original never before seen historical footage from the Face of AIDS archive, along with new interviews from contrasting countries in the Asia Pacific region and how there is the real possibility of the virtual elimination of the transmission of HIV, and the hope that a cure or vaccine might yet be found.

Yet there are still a range of challenges that need to be overcome.

The Face of AIDS film project raises important questions about the role of documentary and life stories in medical research.