In fall 2019, Eckerd’s film studies major changed its focus from theory to production. But many students in this major still feel as if they don’t get to spend enough time on production. This leaves students taking mandatory theory courses with little to experience
In many liberal arts schools film studies refers mainly to the theoretical aspects of cinema. In other schools, film studies focuses on video production, which requires hands-on courses that are completely different than the discussion-based theory courses.
According to Eckerd’s website, “Eckerd’s Film Studies degree teaches you the history and techniques of film in the classroom.” But without differentiating between production and theory many students feel like the major is unfocused.
Junior Sky Hanf is among students who set aside their needs to study a more practical form of video productions to satisfy course requirements.
“I would like to be a film producer, so the classes I take should have materialistic practices paired with the historical and theoretical content,” Hanf said. “This is why I struggled greatly with a theory class.”
Like many of my peers, Hanf is more interested in making films than discussing them. I am pursuing a career in film journalism, which is more in line with theory, considering it requires analysis and criticism. But this does not apply to many of the students, like Hanf, pursuing a film major.
One of the additions Eckerd added to the major is a film production seminar for students to take senior year. This is a step in the right direction for the major since it actually involves hands-on training and puts students behind a camera. But it still is not enough, considering the amount of history, elective and interdisciplinary courses still required.
Another addition is changing the required amount of film production courses from one to four. Yet, I cannot help but feel as though this update is superfluous. Instead of updating the classes and adding new ones, it seems as though many of the previously required classes were just shuffled around instead.
While I recognize that the film studies major is evolving by adding emphasis on production, I believe that more needs to be done. Adding mandatory film internships, similar to the journalism minor, or even considering two branches of the film major could benefit the program as a whole. With all of the film classed Eckerd has to offer, there are definitely enough to branch out.