News & Events
FSS Professor Wins Animation Research Grant
FSS Professor Colin Williamson was awarded a competitive Faculty Grant from ASIFA-Hollywood’s Animation Educators Forum, an organization dedicated to supporting innovative animation research and practice with a focus on teaching in the field. The grant will fund Williamson’s original research on a range of animation materials held in the restricted Walt Disney Archives. Williamson was recently granted access to production files and artwork related to films like Disney’s Silly Symphonies, Bambi (1942), and Fantasia (1940) that will inform a new book he is writing on American animation’s affinities with the history of science and longstanding traditions of representing nature in natural history—i.e., the popularization of the study of the natural sciences. The larger book project, tentatively titled Cinematic Wonderlands, will shed light on an untold history of the influence of natural history on popular animated films that, Williamson argues, played important roles in teaching audiences about nature and animation throughout the 20th century.
FSS Major Wins Dyson Society of Fellows Award
At the 2019 Dyson Society of Fellows Annual Meeting, FSS major Mollie Murtagh won an “Outstanding Contribution” award for her research paper titled, “Shirley in the Sun: Salvaging Women’s Voices in the New American Avant-Garde Cinema.” The paper, which was supported by a Student-Faculty Research Grant sponsored by FSS Professor Colin Williamson, sheds light on an overlooked experimental filmmaker named Shirley Clarke, whose films of the 1950s and 60s used dance and formal experimentation to reflect critically on matters of gender and marginalization. Drawing on feminist film historiography and original archival research conducted with the Shirley Clarke Papers held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Murtagh used her findings not only to write Clarke back into history, but also to comment on the gendered politics of writing history. As she explains, “In the molding of a feminist film culture, it is critical to interrogate, and oftentimes criticize, our own present or else risk enabling the repetition of injustices that continue to happen to pivotal figures such as [Clarke].” In addition to presenting her work at the Society of Fellows Annual Meeting, Murtagh will be giving a talk on Clarke at the 2019 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Undergraduate Conference held at Muhlenberg College.
FSS Alum Premiers Feature Film in London
Congratulations to director Joshua Kennedy, 2016 Pace Film and Screen Studies alum, on the London premiere of his new feature film: HOUSE OF THE GORGON: A Gothic Fairytale, starring cult movie icons Caroline Munro (The Spy Who Loved Me), Martine Beswicke (Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde), Veronica Carlson (Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed), and Christopher Neame (Dracula A.D. 1972).
Joshua was a prolific filmmaker while at Pace, and this film, while his first in theatrical release, is his 16th feature. He was a valued student and TA in the FSS Department’s production program, and remains a beloved member of our community. Joshua shared a sneak preview of his film at Pace last fall, and spoke to current students about raising money for an independent feature production. FSS and Pace are delighted to congratulate him on his London premiere!
FSS Alum Accepted to MFA in London
The Film and Screen Studies Department is proud to announce FSS alum Jessica Garrett Halee will attend Goldsmiths, University of London for a Master of Arts in Filmmaking with an emphasis on editing. Jessica graduated magna cum laude from Pace in December 2017 after successfully completing an honors thesis and short film entitled, “Out: Exploring Space through the Indefinability of Queerness.”
FSS Professor Awarded Fellowship at Penn’s Wolf Humanities Center
Assistant Professor of Film and Screen Studies, Colin Williamson, has been awarded a competitive fellowship to participate in the 2017-2018 seminar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wolf Humanities Center. During the fellowship, Williamson will be working on a project about finding innovative ways to engage his students in hands-on experiences with early film history using archival materials drawn from the Eadweard Muybridge photographic collections at Penn. The project will involve collaborating with an animation artist and using recent scholarship in the field of media archaeology to develop productive ways of integrating digital media and digital humanities methods in Williamson’s film history courses at Pace. Extending his research on early cinema, visual education, and new media, Williamson plans to create opportunities for students to experiment with curating digital multimedia projects that interpret Muybridge’s photographs and their place in the landscape of art, science, technology, race, and gender during the early cinema period.
Students Win “Writing on Film” Awards
The Film and Screen Studies Department is proud to celebrate Tyler Crosby, Madisyn Ritland, Colleen Haggerty, and Katherine Orgen for being recognized in the “Writing on Film” category of the 2017 Writing Awards competition sponsored by the English Department at Pace (NYC). Tyler Crosby took 1st place in the category for an essay exploring the impact of digital technologies on media aesthetics and narrative form in Mike Figgis’s film Timecode (2000). In 2nd place was Madisyn Ritland’s analysis of postmodernism and the politics of the body in Fantastic Voyage (1966) and THX1138 (1971). Colleen Haggerty and Katherine Orgen tied for 3rd place with essays on technology, aesthetics, and gender in in Alex Garland’s Ex Machina (2015), and the tenuous relationship between reality and the photographic medium in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966), respectively. These essays represent the most outstanding historical, theoretical, and analytical writing completed in recent Film and Screen Studies courses.
FSS Honors Student Completes Feminist Film Historiography Project
In Spring of 2017, Sarah Hartzell completed an honors thesis in FSS titled, “Left on the Cutting Room Floor: Women Film Editors in the Hollywood Studio System.” The project explores the long-term impact of the transition to sound in the 1920s-30s on women in production and post-production roles—like editing—in Hollywood. Sarah conducted original research using archival materials at the Margaret Herrick Library in Los Angeles, which she interpreted by drawing on organizational theory and feminist film historiography. In her research, Sarah discovered that, while many women were systematically marginalized in the industry, those who worked as film editors wielded a significant amount of power precisely because of their invisibility. The lessons of this discovery extend well beyond the project to questions about how history is written and circulated. Sarah explains, “It’s important for people to know that women were integral players in shaping Hollywood and filmmaking itself from the very beginning ... In a grander sense, I hope people take away a different way of looking at history. That there are always forgotten figures and usually they are forgotten for a reason -- because they are women, or people of color, or anyone who threatens the status quo. And by looking for these people and bringing them to life we can shed new light on how we got to where we are today.”
Students in “Major Film Movements” Course Attend Festival at Lincoln Center
As part of FSS professor Colin Williamson’s course, Cinéma Vérité: Power and Politics in the Documentary, students attended the annual Art of the Real festival (April 20-May 1, 2017) at the Lincoln Center. Art of the Real is committed to rethinking enduring associations of the documentary form with established categories of “truth” and “reality,” and over time it has become a venue for promoting new conversations about the cinema’s relation to art, science, politics, and the public. Students in Williamson’s course had the opportunity to see films that are otherwise not readily accessible in a theatrical context and to engage filmmakers in discussions about the methods and politics of their work through Q&A sessions. The event was part of a larger conversation the course prompted about the possibilities of unconventional and marginalized approaches to filmmaking; about what it means to be an active member of a film community; and about the responsibilities we have in producing and consuming images.