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Brandeis Graduates Grasp the History, Art and Craft of Filmmaking

Brandeis University’s beautiful park-like campus is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, with easy access to Boston city's many attractions. Brandeis has a popular Film, Television and Interactive Media (FTIM) program for undergraduates with courses in cinema, television as well as film production.
Alice Arshalooys Kelikian, is the Film, Television, and Interactive Media maven at Brandeis University.

At Brandeis University teachers demystify the art and craft of film production and challenge students to master the art of visual storytelling.

“Our goal is to produce graduates with a deep knowledge of cinematic history as well as young filmmakers with sophisticated abilities in media capture, editing, lighting, directing, sound design, film-scoring, cinematography and screenwriting,” says Alice Arshalooys Kelikian, chair of the film studies program.

While film purists continue to focus on aesthetics and theory, “The Boston Globe” says Kelikian has created courses that address style, content, and the latest production techniques. The introduction to 3-D animation stands as the most popular production class. Kelikian also brings A-list directors into the classroom to speak.

Kelikian talked to Uttara Choudhury in New York about how Brandeis students have interned at MTV, the Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures, Focus Features and other iconic companies.

Can you spell out the admission process at Brandeis, especially from an international student’s perspective? Please touch on how students can enroll in the Film, Television and Interactive Media program (FTIM).

Any undergraduate student enrolled at Brandeis can elect to major or minor in FTIM. No portfolio is required in the admissions process.

Please give an overview of the Film, Television and Interactive Media Program which is open to all Brandeis undergraduates.

Through its alumni, Brandeis University claims an historic connection to the film industry and to Hollywood. Brandeis now seeks to establish a leadership position as one of the nation’s premier locations for the study and practice of the cinematic arts by creating a distinctive and innovative setting for the education and training of students in narrative and documentary filmmaking, television and interactive media.

“The basis of the visual component of any storytelling media begins with understanding of the photographic arts and crafts. Without this fundamental beginning, the tools of visual storytelling cannot be applied in a coherent way.”

The current program in Film, Television and Interactive Media (FTIM) at Brandeis, which draws on faculty in the Humanities, the Social Sciences, the Creative Arts, and Computer Science, offers courses in cinema and television as well as in film production and is increasingly popular among undergraduates.

Film, television, and now interactive media are powerful influences on American and international culture. Set in the context of a rich liberal arts curriculum, the Brandeis film program enables students to study cinema in a serious interdisciplinary environment whose breadth complements and enhances their understanding of film history and production.

How do students in the Film, Television and Interactive Media undergraduate degree program learn both the theoretical and practical skills that enable them to become successful media and film practitioners?

Our goal is to produce graduates with a deep knowledge of cinematic history and culture as well as young filmmakers with sophisticated abilities in media capture, editing, lighting, directing, sound design, film-scoring, cinematography and screenwriting. The basis of the visual component of any storytelling media begins with understanding of the photographic arts and crafts. Without this fundamental beginning, the tools of visual storytelling cannot be applied in a coherent way.

“The introduction to 3-D animation stands as our most popular production class. The Edie and Lew Wasserman Cinematheque has 35mm and state-of-the-art D-Cinema with DCP projection.”

Elements of composition and understanding of light are essential to the process of creating visual sequences that are the basis of every story. These instruments of visualization are compounded when the dimension of movement is added to the toolset of the storyteller. Armed with an indispensable appreciation of these components, students emerge fully equipped to express themselves through the art and craft of filmmaking. They learn the rhetorical and syntactical conventions of moving images and how this language has developed historically.

Does your program offer students access to state-of-the-art equipment and digital media lab facilities? What are some of your popular film production courses?

“Our students have worked at MTV, the Weinstein Company, the Mark Gordon Company, Sony Pictures, Focus Features, and Bedford Falls Productions.”

Students can apply their art to new domains in interactive media, such as movies for mobile devices and games with a strong narrative and visual appeal. We produce filmmakers who understand and respect the creative process, and artists who value and learn from scholarship. All members of the University can use the Getz Media Lab. The introduction to 3-D animation stands as our most popular production class. The Edie and Lew Wasserman Cinematheque has 35mm and state-of-the-art D-Cinema with DCP projection.

Do you all have an internship program that most students can use as starting points to their first jobs?

Undergraduates can receive course credit for internships in the industry. Our students have worked at MTV, the Weinstein Company, the Mark Gordon Company, Sony Pictures, Focus Features, and Bedford Falls Productions.

What are the required courses to major in Film, Television and Interactive Media?

Students must complete nine courses, including: FILM 100a (Introduction to the Moving Image); one course in non-American Cinema; one course in the creative aspects of film production; six courses selected from non-American Cinema, and elective course lists; however only two courses may be from the creative aspects of film production list.

I understand that students can get a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film, Television and Media at Brandeis. Do you all also offer a Masters program?

We do not as yet offer a Masters program in FTIM.

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