Film & Video

The Committee for Film Studies, under the general direction of the Council of the Humanities, encourages the interdisciplinary study of film and video. The committee coordinates courses in the programs and departments that use film or video extensively; it also coordinates, so far as is appropriate, the acquisition of videotapes and films; and it organizes the visits of filmmakers and film scholars. Interested students are invited to consult members of the committee, who will provide additional information about film and video studies within the University.

Nearly every night at least one film of artistic and historical significance is screened at Princeton, open to all students for free, within the courses under the aegis of the Film Studies Committee.

The faculty includes internationally recognized authorities on Chinese, German, Italian, Spanish and American cinema and on film theory. We anticipate experts in other aspects of film scholarship will soon join us. The areas of cinema and religion and avant-garde filmmaking and film history are currently represented in depth. A unique arrangement with the Anthology Film Archives in New York admits all Princeton students to screenings for free and provides archival research facilities and internship options.

Students pursuing a certificate in Visual Arts may focus their studies on the production of film and video as well as on film history.

Film Courses - Fall 2014

Students interested in film studies and filmmaking are encouraged to explore the wide range of film-related course offerings in a number of University departments. Following is a selection of upcoming film-related courses — courses on film history can be found in the Registrar’s course catalog.

Student / Alumni Films

Film & Video Track Certificate Requirements

Students interested in film and video production or criticism and analysis may pursue the film and video track within the visual arts certificate program while concentrating in another academic department. Requirements for this track are summarized below. To enter this track, students must have the approval of their department of concentration to submit a written critical/historical thesis on a film-related topic or present a creative film work in fulfillment of the senior thesis. Normally students in this track must complete a production course and a course in film history or theory before being admitted to the program.

Course Requirements — The five visual arts courses that students in the film and video track take must include:

  • One course in film/video production (VIS 261/262, VIS 361/362, VIS 462)
  • Two courses in film history (any course listed by the Film Studies Committee) and one visual arts seminar in film theory or history.
  • At least two other courses (either in film production or academic courses in film history).

Please note: Three cognates are accepted within the above group. Independent work requirements for the track in film and video are consistent with those set forth for the visual arts certificate program. Junior projects and senior theses may be submitted as historical or theoretical essays or as creative works in film, video, or an installation based on either or both media. Where these projects can fulfill the requirements of the visual arts certificate and the student’s department of concentration, they will be jointly advised by faculty members from the program and the student’s home department. Where the independent work is not completed in conjunction with requirements for the student’s home department, the work will be supervised by two faculty members from the Program in Visual Arts.

Independent Work — Students must submit one junior project and complete a senior thesis in the field. Junior projects and senior theses may be submitted as historical or theoretical essays or as creative works in film, video, or an installation based on either or both media; see below for specific requirements in each area. These projects will be jointly advised by one faculty member from the Program in Visual Arts and one from the department of the student’s major.

Independent Work in Film/Video Production

Junior Independent Work:

  • In fall, students must select two advisers, one from the Program in Visual Arts and one from their home department, and complete the Certificate Adviser Approval Form. The Junior Independent Work is done in consultation with the student’s advisers and also with the general Visual Arts faculty in “open studio” meetings.
  • The advisers’ spring term grade for the Junior Independent Work represents an evaluation of the entire year’s work. The Junior Independent Work is screened in a group show at the beginning of the senior fall semester.

Senior Independent Work: The Creative Thesis —

  • In fall, students select two faculty advisers and complete the Certificate Adviser Approval Form. The creative thesis studio work is done in consultation with the student’s advisers, and also with the general Visual Arts faculty in “open studio” meetings.
  • Students present their work at a public screening at the end of the year. The grade for the creative thesis represents an evaluation of the entire year’s studio work and is the average of two grades: (1) the grade given by the student’s Visual Arts adviser and (2) the grade given by the home department adviser.

Independent Work in Film History/Theory

Junior Independent Work 

  • In fall, students select two advisers, one from the Program in Visual Arts and one from their home department, and complete the Certificate Adviser Approval Form. The Junior Independent Work is done in consultation with the student’s advisers.
  • In spring, students present a critical, historical, or theoretical essay on an aspect of cinema demonstrating research skills and familiarity with the literature of the field. The advisers’ spring term grade for the Junior Independent Work represents an evaluation of the entire year’s work.

The Senior Thesis

  • In fall, students select two faculty advisers, one from the Program in Visual Arts and one from their home department, and complete the Certificate Adviser Approval Form. Research should be substantially completed and a chapter outline approved and signed by the advisers by December 1st.
  • The completed thesis must be submitted in bound copies to the two advisers by April 10. The grade for the senior thesis represents an evaluation of the entire year’s work and is the average of two grades: (1) the grade given by the student’s Visual Arts adviser and (2) the grade given by the home department adviser.