Art Film Studies

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Art Film Studies
Mr. Bateman, Instructor

Office Hours: 3, 7, 8, & after school


Film is both a powerful communication medium and an art form. The creation, presentation and study of film requires courage, passion and curiosity: courage to create individually and as part of a team, to explore ideas through action and harness the imagination, and to experiment; passion to communicate and to act communally, and to research and formulate ideas eloquently; curiosity about self and others and the world, about different traditions, techniques and knowledge, about the past and the future, and about the limitless possibilities of human expression through the art form. 
At the core of the Art Film Studies course lies a concern with clarity of understanding, critical thinking, reflective analysis, effective involvement and imaginative synthesis that is achieved through practical engagement in the art and craft of film. Through a variety of teaching approaches, including the construction and deconstruction of film texts, all students are encouraged to develop their creative and critical abilities and to enhance their appreciation and enjoyment of film.
Film Aims and Objectives:

The film course aims to develop in students the skills necessary to achieve creative and critical independence in their knowledge, experience, and enjoyment of film.

The aims are to promote:

  • an appreciation and understanding of film as a complex art form

  • an ability to formulate stories and ideas in film terms

  • the practical and technical skills of production

  • critical evaluation of film productions by the student and by others

  • a knowledge of film-making traditions in more than one country.

Students are expected to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of the variety of ways in which film creates meaning

  • an understanding and effective use of appropriate film language

  • originality and creativity in developing an idea through the various stages of film-making, from conception to finished production

  • technical skills and an appropriate use of available technology

  • the ability to draw together knowledge, skills, research and experience, and apply them analytically to evaluate film texts

  • a critical understanding of the historical, theoretical, sociocultural, economic and institutional contexts of film in more than one country

  • the ability to research, plan and organize working processes

  • the ability to reflect upon and evaluate film production processes and completed film texts.

Syllabus Components:

The Art Film Studies course is broken into three study areas:

Part 1: Textual Analysis – The detailed study of film sequences

Students will learn to use the key concepts of film language, genre, audience, institution, narrative and representation and to comment upon the following elements, and on relationships between them:

  • Construction according to narrative or other formal organizing principles

  • Representation of characters and issues

  • Camera angles, shots and movement

  • Editing and sequencing

  • Lighting, shade and color

  • Sound

  • Location and set design

  • Features determining genre

  • Target audience

  • Historical, economic, sociocultural and institutional factors.

Part 2: Film Theory and History – The study of films and filmmaking traditions from more than one country.

Students will learn about films from more than one country, asking such questions as:

  • Who made this? Why?

  • What can we tell about the film-maker(s)?

  • For whom was it made? How does it address its audience?

  • What is the nature of our engagement with film?

  • What outside influences can we perceive in terms of finance, ownership, institution and sociocultural context?

  • What tradition is it in (for example, American gangster film, Bollywood musical)?

  • To what other works might it be connected?

Finally, after discussing each of these questions: How did you know?
Part 3: Creative Process – Techniques and organization of production, the development of creative, analytical and production skills within film-making

  • Initial planning: Finding the idea, research, treatment and script development

  • Pitch and approval: Developing the proposal, negotiating the proposal with the teacher, receiving approval to proceed

  • Technical planning:

    1. Conceptualization: interpretation of the script in terms of theme, genre, purpose, style, mood and overall structure

    2. Visualization: definition of shot selection, camera position and movement, lighting, color, set design, costume and make-up, supported, where appropriate, by the creation of a storyboard containing key images of relevant scenes

    3. Production scheduling: definition of responsibilities, task lists and matters relating to organization, time frames and deadlines

    4. Editing and sound strategies: outlining the preliminary concepts of editing and sound as dictated by the chosen genre and by the individual project

  • Physical production:

    1. Pre-production: selection of crew members, scouting for and determining locations, acquiring costumes and props, casting of actors (if applicable), definition of technical needs, finalizing script, storyboard and production schedule

    2. Production: principal photography and sound recording, execution of storyboard, continuous overview of production planning

    3. Post-production: various phases of editing (assembly, rough and fine cuts), sound editing, selection of music, titles and visuals, and final mix

  • Production journal: Each student should maintain an individual journal recording key information throughout the entire production process, including decisions made, issues raised and solutions reached, reflections and lessons learned, as well as objective evaluations of their own and others’ performance and the finished productions.

Accommodations & Modifications:

Use graphic organizers, provide lecture outlines, provide anticipatory cues, and develop preview questions.

  • Content: Rewrite text or directions in simpler directions, pre-teach vocabulary, focus on meaning rather than grammatical accuracy, allow students to put notes on POST-IT’s or in the margins.

  • Setting: Establish boundaries for active students, establish peer-buddies, seat student with clear view of speaker, reward student for small increments of work.

  • Assessments: Provide a word bank, allow more time per assignment, give a shorter test, and give oral and written directions.

Learning Outcomes:

Bell ringers, vocabulary infusion, Cornell note-taking, class discussions, group activities, explicit instruction of various reading strategies, technology-based learning activities, primary/secondary source analysis, and writing across the disciplines.


The IB Film subject guide provides students with detailed criterion, markbands, and level descriptors of internal and external assessments. You will receive more detailed rubrics/criteria for success for specific assignments as the year progresses.

30% - Writing, Projects, & Essays

30% - Assessments (Exams/Quizzes)

30% - Classwork & Participation

10% - Homework
Work for the class will involve a variety of written essays, filming projects, class discussions and notes, and quizzes and tests over film terminology and concepts, along with points for the various components of the three IB assessments. Much of the filming and editing work for student productions will need to be completed outside of class time and may involve a significant time commitment.
Required Texts:

  • Film Art 8th Edition by David Bordwell & Kristen Thompson

  • Other film scholarship by various authors provided by the instructor


In addition to the required texts & a writing utensil, bring the following items to class everyday.

  • Notebook specifically for this course and/or 3 ring binder with loose-leaf paper

  • Folder for returned assignments and handouts

  • Agenda or class assignment book

Attendance Policy:

Per CPS attendance policy, “Students who have unexcused absences in 20% (18 days) of the classes in a particular course during the period for which a unit of credit is earned shall not pass the course and shall receive no credit towards promotion.» Therefore, 18 days of such absence will result in failure of the course. Senn has an expectation of 95% attendance. By way of example, a student who misses one day of 15 school days has 95% attendance. A student who misses one day in 10 school days has already dropped to 90%.

Classroom Rules, Policies and Expectations:

The primary expectation is for all individuals to be respectful. This expectation is multi-faceted in that it includes respecting each person who enters our classroom: teachers, students and visitors. This also includes respecting ideas introduced within the classroom so everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts, questions and analysis of the topics we will encounter. Individuals should also be respectful of our time and resources by arriving on time and prepared each day. Senn rules and regulations will be enforced regarding behavior and academic integrity. Most if not all work from class can be found on the Senn website or the course’s Google Drive. It is your responsibility to access these sites. Failure to do so will negatively impact your success in the course.

Cheating and plagiarism: Anyone found cheating or collaborating with a cheater on a test, quiz, research paper, essay, book report, etc. will be given a zero (F) for that assignment and a conference will be set up including the student, a parent, and an administrator. The assignment will not be made up for credit, and the zero will be computed into the grade for that class. A notation of the incident will be placed in the student’s permanent folder. This notation will affect recommendations written by the school for you as you apply for colleges and scholarships. Any student caught cheating a second time will be recommended for transfer to an alternate school site for the remainder of the high school career. Anyone found copying homework/class work will be given a zero (F) for that assignment which will not be made up for credit, and the zero will be compacted into the grade for that class. The second occurrence of copying will be treated as the first occurrence of cheating outlined above.
Homework Policy:

Homework is an important extension and reinforcement of learning.  Homework is given regularly, and tasks are posted either on a teacher's website or is given in the daily agenda. Homework counts for 10% of the grade.

Tardies are inexcusable and result in a loss of participation.
Deadlines and late work:

Late work is strongly discouraged. If work is not completed and submitted before the bell, it will be considered late. All assignments are important and serve to support instruction. If an assignment is going to be late, the following applies: For each day beyond the original due date, the maximum possible grade decreases by 10% with a maximum grade of 70% on the third day, provided that the assignment would have warranted a grade higher than 70% had it been turned in on time. After that, any assignment turned in will be capped at 50% provided it would have earned a passing grade.

Students will be allowed to make up work that they missed due to an excused absence, but it is the student’s responsibility to find out what work was missed. Tests or quizzes may only be made up outside of regular class time by appointment.
Remediation/Assistance Policies:

If students are having trouble in the course, they need to set up an appointment for tutoring. All of the course work is available on the course website and students grades are available through Student/Parent Portal.

Teamwork: in Art Film Studies we will be working collaboratively in some form almost every day.  Be ready to get to know your classmates and work together to enhance your learning. 

Dear Parents and Guardians of Art Film Studies students,

The goal of Art Film Studies is to expose students to films from all over the world and to increase their critical and practical understanding of film as a creative art form and reflection of its time period, society, and political and cultural environment. As a result, this class requires the viewing of a wide variety of films. In some cases, these films may carry an R rating, or, in the case of films made before 1968 and some foreign films, will have no rating at all. Please be assured that all the films selected for this course have a high degree of artistic merit and that many have won numerous awards and are considered part of the film canon. However, if you or your child objects to any film shown that does carry an “R” rating, your child will always have the opportunity to request that an alternative film be assigned.
Examples of “R” rated movies deemed appropriate for the class include, but are not limited to, The Godfather series, Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver, American Beauty, Blade Runner, Chinatown, The Exorcist, Fargo, Pulp Fiction, Momento, Nashville, No Country for Old Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Raging Bull, Schindler’s List, Dazed and Confused, and La Strada.
Please sign the permission slip allowing your child to watch films of this type. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me via email or schedule a meeting.


I grant permission to my child to watch films chosen by the instructor of this class that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has rated either “NR” (not rated) or “R” (restricted).

_________________________________________________________ _______________

Parent Signature Date


Student Name

Day Tel #(________)_____________________Evening Tel # (________)__________________________


Parent e-mail (please print)

If you would like to know what the course is doing on a daily basis please feel free to look at the course website. Most if not all work from course can be found on the Senn website.

My son/daughter has access to the Internet on a daily basis? YES / NO

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