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Our hats off to the Film Studies Program’s Class of 2020!

Why not keep the good news rolling? While I had thought about waiting a few more days, I was inspired by the stream of good news rolling out today for our Student Film Club and Film Studies minors. On behalf of the Film Studies faculty, congratulations to the graduating class of 2020! While we can’t celebrate with you on the Cistern in May or cheer you on in August, we offer our hearty huzzahs to you here!

Abigail Calvert (History)
Dan Colella (English)
William Dukes (English)
Bailey Fallon (Marine Biology)
Noah Goodman (English)
Dorian Holnes (Communication)
Brittany Lamar (Arts Management)
Keyasia Pride (English-Creative Writing)
Eli Salbia (Communication)
Lindsey Scott (English)
William Simmons (English-Creative Writing)
William Turner (International Studies-Europe Concentration)

Zoey Meecha (Communication)
Taiwo Ojediran (International Studies-European Concentration)
Cass Ronan (Historic Preservation and Community Planning)
Patrick Shannon (Finance)

Announcing the winners of the 15th Annual Student Film Festival!

Why not add more good news to good news? On top of our learning that the Student Film Club was awarded Student Organization of the Year, and that Dan Colella was awarded the Student Organization Presidential award and the Cistern award, here is the announcement for the winners of the 15the Annual Student Film Festival.

Congratulations to Bridget Conway, for her film Untalented Show, winner of Best Film!

Congratulations too, Anthony and Sean Parenti for their film Bob the Builder (Best Film Runner-Up), Noah Goodman, for his film Memories (Best Film Second Runner-Up), and Brittany Lamar for her film, A Dancer’s Shadow (Audience Award).

On behalf of the Film Studies Program, we’d like to thank all the contributors, the judges, and of course the Student Film Club for very quickly and efficiently making this a virtual event. It’s incredible that everyone pulled this off on such short notice. We had hoped to celebrate together at Queen Street Playhouse, but we’ll shoot for next year! You can view all the films on the Student Film Club’s YouTube page here.

Student Film Club and Film Club President recognized for exceptional leadership with SAIL awards!

We’re delighted to announce that the Student Film Club and Film Club President Dan Colella (’20) have received Student Achievement, Involvement, and Leadership (SAIL) awards for 2019-2020! The SAIL Awards Program includes the highest awards for exceptional student leadership at the College of Charleston. The Awards ceremony originally scheduled for April 16 in Stern Center Ballroom was canceled, so award recipients were notified this morning via email. The Student Film Club received the SAIL award for Student Organization of the Year, and Dan Colella received the Student Organization Presidential Award. With all the Student Film Club has accomplished this year–holding its annual screenwriting competition, its annual (this year, virtual) Student Film Festival, and giving students opportunities in digital production, and more–it comes as no surprise. The Student Film Club, its leadership (Dan Colella, Eli Saliba, Noah Goodman) and its membership, richly deserve this highest honor. And for those of us who know Dan and have worked with him, we believe the Student Organization Presidential Award couldn’t have been given to a more deserving student. And we are doubly pleased to announce that Dan was also awarded the Cistern award for his work in Student Life! Dan is wildly enthusiastic about the cinema, and this enthusiasm takes him beyond the creative process and serves him well as one of the most gifted student leaders we in the Film Studies program have come across at the College of Charleston. Our hats off to Dan and the Student Film Club!

From left to right: Dan Colella (President), Eli Saliba, and Noah Goodman (Treasurer).

Schedule of Summer 2020 courses – REVISED

Here’s a revised list of courses offered Summer 2020 that will count toward FMST credit. Please note that ALL Summer courses will be offered online. Click highlighted text for course description (if available).

ENGL 212: Cinema: History & Criticism*
Dr. Glenn
LTAR 270: Studies in Arab Cinema**
Ghassan Nasr
Summer 1

PHIL 185: Philosophy & Film***
Dr. Baker

RELS 280: Religion & Film***
Dr. Siegler

* meets the requirement for Cluster 1 of the FMST minor
** meets the requirement for Cluster 2 of the FMST minor
*** meets the requirement for Cluster 3 of the FMST minor

Film professors offer up their top 10 films for self-isolation, Part II

We’re now a few weeks into self-quarantine and e-learning, so it’s time for Part II of our list of films, courtesy of Dr. Colleen Glenn, Associate Professor of English and Film Studies. Dr. Glenn’s quarantine movie list offers a mixed bag of viewing suggestions—some drama, some suspense, but also plenty of comedy to lighten the mood during these tough times. As with last week’s list by Dr. John Bruns, you can find out where these films are streaming in the bold red text. Enjoy, and stay safe!

1. Sherlock, Jr. (dir. Buster Keaton, 1924) U.S.
Benedict Cumberbatch has nothing on Buster Keaton’s side-splitting version of the acclaimed private detective Sherlock Holmes. When heartbroken film projectionist (Keaton) falls asleep on the job, he wakes to find himself in the movie he was watching! Can he solve the mystery and win back his girl? All bets are on the indefatigable and clever Buster Keaton, in this classic silent slapstick comedy.

Where to watch: Kanopy (College of Charleston Library’s free streaming service)

2. The Road Warrior (dir. George Miller, 1981) Australia
The second installment of the Mad Max series seems particularly appropriate right now. In this Australian cult western-road movie set in the near future, a global war for fuel-topples nations and decimates the earth, leaving only an empty wasteland, where survivors compete for precious resources in a life-or-death struggle. One man, traumatized by his own personal losses and used to fending only for himself, finds redemption when he helps a community of settlers to reach safety.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Fandango Now, iTunes

3. Wings of Desire (dir. Wim Wenders, 1987) West Germany
Able to hear the thoughts of mortals, invisible angels comfort isolated and distressed humans in Berlin in this beautifully-shot and conceived romantic fantasy by critically-acclaimed German director Wim Wenders. Inspired by art depicting angels in Berlin, and written and shot when the wall still divided the city, the movie depicts an angel’s decision to choose the pleasures of mortality—food, touch, love—over immortality. The enchanting Bruno Ganz headlines the cast, which includes Otto Sander, Curt Bois, and Peter Falk.

Where to watch: Kanopy (College of Charleston Library’s free streaming service)

4. The More the Merrier (dir. George Stevens, 1943) U.S.
Sick of your roommates yet? Try sharing a small apartment with two strangers! When a housing shortage in Washington D.C. during WWII forces three people to share their living quarters, hilarity—and romance—ensue. Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea sizzle in this delightful and sweet romantic comedy directed by the great studio director George Stevens.

Where to watch: The Criterion Channel, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play

5. Rope (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1948) U.S.

Shot in just 11 long takes ranging from over two minutes to just under ten, and set in a confined apartment with killers on the loose, Hitchcock’s suspense thriller Rope will make your claustrophobia feel like a walk in the park. Jimmy Stewart stars as the cynical and shrewd headmaster of two former pupils (John Dall and Farley Granger) who have gone very much awry. Hitch has two cameos in this one. Try to spot them both!

Where to watch: Starz on Amazon, Amazon Prime

6. Ball of Fire (dir. Howard Hawks, 1941) U.S.
When stodgy grammarian Professor Bertram Potts meets seductive and charismatic nightclub singer Sugarpuss O’Shea, sparks fly and shenanigans ensue as the swingin’ singer teaches the introverted professor and his colleagues a thing or two about slang, life, and love. Once her mob boss boyfriend finds out she’s been hiding at the professors’ house, the academics must use their brains to outfox the gangsters. Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper delight in this screwball comedy by director Howard Hawks and screenwriters Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, all masters of wit and comedic pacing.

Where to watch: Hoopla, The Criterion Channel

7. Lawrence of Arabia (dir. David Lean, 1962) U.K.
Now that we have extra time on our hands, it’s the perfect occasion to watch this majestic epic. A must-see for all film students, this historical drama is based on the real-life story of T.E. Lawrence and his daring exploits in Arabia during WWI. Torn between allegiances to the British army and the Arabic tribes with whom he sympathizes, Lawrence struggles to separate the personal from the political in his role as liaison and, later, as rebel leader. Vast desert landscapes caught in widescreen format and incredible performances by Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, and Omar Sharif have secured this film’s rightful place as one of the most important films ever made

Where to watch: Vudu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play

8. The Straight Story (dir. David Lynch, 1999) U.S.
Richard Farnsworth as Alvin Straight hits the road—on a John Deere lawnmower—to travel 240 miles to see his brother (Harry Dean Stanton) in this heart-warming true story about family, love, and the power of determination. Traveling at a rate of 5 mph, the elderly WWII veteran overcomes obstacles and meets good folks, who, like us, stand in awe of the senior’s grit and fortitude. An anomaly in the typically weird and wacky Lynch catalogue, this film delivers a sparse, Hemingway-esque brand of realism in an unforgettable and inspirational story.


Where to watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

9. Breaking Away (dir. Peter Yates, 1979) U.S.
This gem of a coming-of-age comedy about a recent graduate and his best friends navigating the uncertain terrain of life after high school may be the ultimate feel-good movie. Obsessed with cycling, and with Italian cycling in particular, Dave (Dennis Christopher) drives his parents batty, attempts to win the affection of a girl, and competes, with his buddies, against college boys in the local Little 500 race. Shot on location in Bloomington, Indiana, and based upon a real bike race that takes annually at Indiana University, this charming and genuine film is sure to lift your spirits.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play

10. Casablanca (dir. Michael Curtiz, 1942) U.S.
What better film has captured the sensations of anxiety and deferment against the backdrop of a terrifying global crisis than this studio classic? Set during WWII in Morocco, refugees wait restlessly in Casablanca, desperately hoping to secure an exit visa in order to flee to the U.S. When ex-lovers Ilsa and Rick unexpectedly reunite in Rick’s Café (“Of all the gin joints…”), old feelings are reignited as romance competes with greater global causes of freedom and human rights. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains and Paul Henreid star in this classic romantic drama about regular people who act nobly in times of fear and uncertainty.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Fandango Now, YouTube, Google Play

Film professors offer up their top 10 films for self-isolation, Part I

With no end in the foreseeable future to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with medical officials recommending social distancing, there is at this moment a great need for mood-lifting activities–and viewing habits. John Bruns and Colleen Glenn, both professors of Film Studies here at the College of Charleston, offer up some recommended movies. Here are their top-ten lists of films to watch during this extended period of e-learning and self-isolation, beginning first with Dr. Bruns’s list and followed, next week, by Dr. Glenn’s.

John Bruns’s top ten:

1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1977) U.S.
After more than 40 years, Spielberg’s fantasy about alien visitations remains bold, inventive, and touching. And yes, there’s a human quarantine due to a faked nerve gas scare, but it’s meant to keep secret a very real and very special encounter. This is a timeless story about a deep-rooted human need for contact.

Where to watch: Showtime on Amazon, Sony Crackle, Amazon, iTunes

2. The Lady Eve (dir. Preston Sturges, 1941) U.S.
Romantic Comedies from the 1930s and 1940s (often referred to as Screwball Comedies) are known for their winning combination of sophisticated dialogue and broad, physical gags. No one did both better than writer, producer, and director Preston Sturges. The Lady Eve is not only one of Sturges’s best films, it is possibly the smartest film ever made about romantic love…and what it can do to us (it ain’t always pretty, but it’s always funny). And while Henry Fonda is a surprisingly good comic actor, it’s no surprise that Barbara Stanwyck nails it. This is her film.

Where to watch: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

3. Tampopo (dir. Juzo Itami, 1985) Japan
Itami’s film about one woman’s quest for the perfect ramen recipe is a comic gem (think Top Chef meets The Seven Samurai). Full of little vignettes about food (and sex), Tampopo is sure to lift even the heaviest of spirits.

Where to watch: Kanopy (College of Charleston Library’s free streaming service)

4. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (dir. Frank Capra, 1939) U.S.
No list of feel-good films should omit Capra. And there are so many of his films to choose from. But Mr. Smith Goes to Washington seems timelier than ever–and it’s arguably Capra’s masterpiece (and one of Jimmy Stewart’s most beloved performances). And it also stars the incomparable Jean Arthur.

Where to watch: The Criterion Channel, Sony Crackle, Vudu, Amazon

5. In the Mood for Love (dir. Wong Kar-wai, 2000) China
Wong Kar-wai’s film about a powerful romance that almost happens is one of the most gorgeous films ever made. It’s topped with an exquisite musical score and mesmerizing performances by Maggie Cheung and Tony Chiu-wai Leung.

Where to watch: Kanopy (College of Charleston Library’s free streaming service)

6. A Man Escaped (dir. Robert Bresson, 1956) France
While the title of Bresson’s beloved prison break film may seem like the ultimate spoiler, its true story is full of tension and suspense. A Man Escaped is also an extraordinary example of how to use sound cinematically. Bresson’s camera stays close to its main character, the imprisoned French resistance fighter named Fontaine, which requires that we carefully tune into the film’s rich soundscape.

Where to watch: Kanopy (College of Charleston Library’s free streaming service)

7. The Spirit of the Beehive (dir. Victor Erice, 1973) Spain
Erice’s poetic film is seen from the point of view of a young village girl named Ana who, after an impactful screening of James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931), has extraordinary visions both real and imagined.

Where to watch: The Criterion Channel

8. Lost in Translation (dir. Sofia Coppola, 2003) U.S.
With expert cinematography by Lance Acord and strong performances by Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Coppola’s second feature as a director is the perfect film about coping with being cooped up.

Where to watch: Starz on Amazon, DirecTV, Redbox, Amazon

9. Hoop Dreams (dir. Steve James, 1994) U.S.
Steve James’s acclaimed documentary follows two talented African-American basketball players from economically poor neighborhoods in Chicago who are recruited to a mostly-white, affluent high school known for its strong basketball program. If you’re hungry for some hoops, now that the NBA season has been suspended indefinitely and the NCAA tourneys have been canceled, Hoop Dreams will do the trick.

Where to watch: Kanopy (College of Charleston Library’s free streaming service)

10. Solaris (dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972) Russia
Tarkovsky’s films belong to that compelling category of film known as “slow cinema” (and hey, if you want to learn more, take Dr. Glenn’s Fall 2020 class, ENGL 390: Place, Pace, and Perspective: Gender & Identity in Slow Cinema). This one deals with an isolated cosmonaut, hovering near an oceanic planet named Solaris, struggling with loneliness and mourning the loss of his wife–the living memory of whom visits him courtesy of a strange alien presence.

Where to watch: Kanopy (College of Charleston Library’s free streaming service)

Next week, Colleen Glenn’s top ten!

Special screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s groundbreaking first feature, Breathless, Wednesday, March 11 at 7pm.

It was 60 years ago when Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the scene with his first feature film, À bout de souffle (Breathless, 1960). Godard was following fast in his friends’ footsteps (his fellow Cahiers critics Claude Chabrol and François Truffaut released their first films: Le Beau Serge and Les quatre cents coups, respectively, the previous year, as did Alain Resnais, with Hiroshima mon amour). The release of Godard’s first feature film was a defining moment in the history of cinema, and it proved that the French New Wave would change everything forever (and now, sixty years later, filmmaker Benedict Andrews celebrates the star of Breathless, the American actress Jean Seberg in his film Seberg, starring Kristen Stewart in the titular role). Seberg stars as Patricia, an American in Paris hawking newspapers along the Champs-Élysées. She befriends a small time gangster named Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and the two of them have a brief but profound affair. But Michel’s fate is inevitable (as it must be for all small-time hoods in the movies–and Godard knows this better than anyone). The College of Charleston Student Film Club will screen Breathless this Wednesday, March 11, at 7pm in Maybank 100. A bientôt!

The 15th Annual CofC Student Film Festival is April 16 and submissions are being accepted now!

The Annual College of Charleston Student Film Festival is in its 15th year (it’s the longest running film festival in the region!). Submissions of short films are now being accepted. If you or a fellow student friend has a film you’d like to see in the competition, now is the time to submit! Narrative films no longer than 15 minutes will be accepted. For the submission form, click here. For information about the submission process, contact the Student Film Club using the email listed in the flyer below. The deadline for submission is March 27.

This year, the festival will be held at Queen St. Playhouse from 6:00-9:00pm, with doors opening at 5:30. Snacks and beverages including beer, wine, and liquor (valid ID required) will be available for purchase. The festival itself is free and open to the public.

The CofC Student Film Club will premiere its latest short film “Can You Call Back Later?” this Wednesday at 7pm.

The College of Charleston Student Film Club will premiere its latest short film “Can You Call Back Later?” this Wednesday, March 4, at 7pm in Maybank 100. The film is based on a screenplay by Noah Goodman (which won the 2nd Annual Fall Screenwriting Competition, 2019) and directed by Bridget Conway. There will be donuts for those who attend. See you there, and congrats to Noah and Bridget!