Cinema and Media Studies

What you’ll learn

  • to analyze cinema, television, digital and aural media by applying a variety of theoretical and historical concepts 
  • to interpret and evaluate information from a critical perspective 
  • to consider the impacts and influence of various media forms on society 

Courses

You’ll take a mix of hands-on production courses and film theory classes. Here are a few experiences to look forward to.

A student kneels on a rock ledge looking over the city of Los Angeles.

Semester in Los Angeles

Internship program

Intern and take Media School classes in the heart of the entertainment industry. Students in the Semester in Los Angeles program live in shared apartments adjacent to the Warner Brothers and Universal Studios lots, take hands-on classes in the historic Raleigh Studios and intern at companies including NBCUniversal, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and FOX Sports.

Learn about Semester in L.A.

Hollywood I and Hollywood II

Learn about the history of Hollywood. Hollywood I looks at the first 50 years of American cinema, from 1895 to 1945. Explore history from the premiere of moving pictures to the introduction of the feature film, the star system and movie theaters. Hollywood II picks up in 1945 and goes through the present, focusing on both film and cultural history.

Contemporary Filmmakers

Examine contemporary film authorship in collaboration with the IU Cinema. Attend lectures by visiting filmmakers and screenings of their films, and discuss film criticism and review.

Student work

For the final project in the Editing for Cinema course, students are given free rein to produce work that is useful for them.

Jacob Einstein took this prompt to develop a short film reflecting on grief and growth. Using digitized home movie footage and some material from the Prelinger Archives and recording his voice, his reflective essay meditates on what it means to grow, to love and to grieve.

Description of the video:

Screen shows home video film.

Text: Cherish the mundane,

Screen shows ultransound.

Screen shows mom holding a child in a hospital.

Voice on video: Say cheese.

Jacob: If you could go back and do it all again — Hey, you're hiding — Would you?

Screen shows sunrise.

Jacob: Would you want to relive each moment that you took for granted? Would you stretch a single moment into thousands, Just to appreciate the nature of it?

Screen shows baby being held.

Voice on video: Hey, Jacob.

Jacob: Would you cherish the mundane? What is it about so many of our childhoods that makes us wish we could go back. Was it the innocence of not knowing? The beauty of so many forgettable moments?

Black screen is seen.

Jacob: Or is it because you want to be able to remember and relive things you can't?

Screen shows a clock ticking.

Screen shows a young child on home video film,

Jacob: To make tangible that which has gone. But now, as you sweep the kitchen floor at your first apartment, do you think about the fact that one day you won't live there anymore?

Screen shows a child sitting on their father’s lap.

Jacob: As you're filling your pet's food bowls on a Tuesday morning, are you thinking about the fact that at some point in time you won't get to anymore? And as you're hanging up the phone, are you thinking about the possibility that your last goodbye can come at any time?

Screen shows an infant being held in the hospital.

Screen shows a child sitting on a chair alone.

Jacob: Have you ever thought about the last time you were held by your parents? That one day they picked you up and then put you down. And you've been on your own since. You weren't thinking about it then, and you're not thinking about it now, and it makes you sad.

Screen shows home video of two young children.

Jacob: But you shouldn't be thinking about it. Because as Vision said in the hit TV series Wandavision, what is grief if not love, persisting?

Black screen is seen.

A heartbeat is heard.

Screen shows home video of a child crawling.

Jacob: We don't get to choose which moment stay and which moments are fleeting. And that's what's so special about them.

Screen shows home video of child smiling.

Jacob: It's impossible to truly appreciate a good thing if it hasn't gone. And conversely, when a good thing goes, it's only to make room for another one. It just so often happens that we live with our heads buried so deep in the sand, we forget to look for that next thing. And then by the time it's passed us, we regret not having cherished it.
Black screen is seen.

Screen shows home video clips at a beach.

Screen shows a clock ticking

Jacob: Consciousness is our greatest enemy. In being aware of our existence, we have the very essence of it robbed from us. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that the happier you are, the sadder you end up.

Screen shows home video of a mom in the hospital holding her newborn.

Extracurricular opportunities

People watching a movie at the IU Cinema

IU Cinema

Affiliate

The IU Cinema presents a variety of films across genres and provides opportunities for attendees to hear from directors, actors, writers, producers and others who create cinema. A Media School affiliate, students have the chance to take full advantage of all the IU Cinema has to offer. With more than 300 events each year, there's programming for everyone, from screenings of rarely shown films to talks by the filmmakers behind popular movies. The IU Cinema also screens some student films, and you can become a volunteer. 

Visit the IU Cinema's website

Black Film Center/Archive

Center

The Black Film Center/Archive is a resource for scholars, students and researchers studying films and related materials by and about African-Americans. Included are films that have substantial participation by African-Americans as writers, actors, producers, directors, musicians and consultants, as well as those that depict some aspect of Black experience.

Visit the BFC/A’s website

Center for Documentary Research and Practice

Center

The Center for Documentary Research and Practice supports faculty and students who make documentaries; serves as a research hub for historical, theoretical and critical research on nonfiction film and video; and hosts visiting artists and scholars who are working on projects with nonfiction media components. The center provides direct assistance in the form of technological and creative support for projects, and it also serves as a forum for faculty and students to present completed and in-process work.

Visit the CDRP’s website

Careers

This concentration will prepare you for graduate-level study in media and other fields of critical study, or for careers in the industry. Potential careers include media critic, film studies professor, media consultant and communications director, to name a few options. 

The flexibility of the program allowed me to explore all of my interests. Be open to the journey, and your passion will reveal itself along the way.

Ireland Meacham (they/them), BA’19, production coordinator for Audiation Inc.