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Ohio State looking to add new major to film studies program

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Ohio State’s film studies program is hoping to add a major in motion-image production. Credit: Lantern File Photo

A new major is possibly opening up for undergraduates in Ohio State’s film studies program.

OSU is looking to offer a major in moving-image production starting in fall 2017. The interdisciplinary program, which is currently awaiting final approval from the state Department of Higher Education, involves the departments of art, theatre, design and the film studies program.

“Currently at Ohio State we don’t have a major for undergraduate in any sort of film or video production,” said Janet Parrott, an associate professor in theatre and director of the Department of Theatre. “There was student demand for it.”

The film studies program currently only offers one major, aptly called film studies.

The MIP program is designed to develop fundamental filmmaking and storytelling skills. Students enrolled will learn different types of filmmaking strategies and practice techniques in shooting, lighting, sound making and editing.

“Media literacy is very important for us to learn, as important as reading and writing,” Parrott said. “We are creating a major so students can learn how to speak with images.”

Initially, the major will admit 30 to 35 students. But this number will grow over years as the program expands to allow more students in, Parrott said.

To get into the program, students will need to take nine credits of introductory classes, according to the major guidelines. In those courses, they will learn about basic filmmaking skills, such as types of shots, camera movements, video duration and editing.

Upon completion of the prerequisite courses, students will create a portfolio review, a package of video work that combines all the practices. Faculty then will make their admission decision largely based on the review.

The curriculum consists of four filmmaking specializations, including documentary, animated, narrative and experimental. Students are required to take at least one class from the other three categories while completing their specialization.

Roger Beebe, an associate professor in art, will teach a course on experimental movies, a type of cinema used to test out new filmmaking techniques. He said the goal for this curriculum design is to equip students with a broad knowledge of movies and explore their interests.

“These courses are made just to show students that here are a lot of ideas about what cinema could be,” Beebe said. “It is like giving students a buffet where they can come in and experiment with this whole range of filmmaking strategies.”

Besides filmmaking practice, students are also required to minor in film studies to cultivate critical-thinking skills and an independent voice.

“Learning what was done before is very important, right?” Parrot said. “(Students) will get a well-rounded education in both history and production.”

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