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

ATS2983 – Screen Project: From Film Theory to Video Practice

This practice-based unit provides students with an opportunity to test and explore theoretical and critical concepts introduced in gateway units through practical application of the following key areas in screen media: editing, point of view, sound and image relationships, graphics and text. Students will acquire the skills to develop and produce a short video project. Time is devoted to looking at a range of videos/short films in order to think through a production’s rationale and theoretical relevance. Students are expected to work in small groups and to attain a competence in most but not all of the following aspects of video production: scriptwriting, production planning, filming using digital video cameras and lights, and editing and sound-mixing using computer-based digital video-editing software.

Check out our ATS2983 Student Video website to see examples of student work.

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, past student)