Denison has had a Cinema major since 1968, making it one of the oldest programs in the country. We believe that filmmaking and film studies are mutually sustaining, as the experience of researching and analyzing cinema provides the developing filmmaker with a sense of their place in film-historical tradition.
Denison’s Cinema program is unique
Interested in learning more about Cinema at Denison?
While we would normally offer to host you for a class, due to COVID-19, visit possibilities are currently limited.* We would still love to meet you virtually to discuss theatre at Denison. To schedule a chat with a Theatre faculty member, please contact the Office of Admission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Campus arts tours are available
Our students are filmmakers. Cinema majors can take the first production course as soon as they set foot on campus. Majors shoot and complete at least seven film projects, and often many more. Students work collaboratively, often serving as crew members on one another’s films.
Denison’s Cinema House features an impressive inventory of production equipment and an extensive film library. Each cinema student is provided their own camera and lighting equipment in every production course, at no cost. In addition to our digital resources, including HD, 4K, and 6K cameras, we remain committed to teaching celluloid film, and have 16mm cameras, as well as a 35mm motion picture camera for advanced productions.
Our students work one-on-one with professors, who are professional filmmakers in their own right. Our small production courses provide weekly hands-on instruction from the pros. And whether working with a student on a screenplay or a film/video project, faculty members often teach as much out-of-class as they do in-class.
The cinema major is designed for the serious student who is interested in both the history and development of film and video as art forms and in the creative process of producing cinematic works.
The goals of the major are to provide students with a working knowledge of the principles of production in connection with an understanding of cinema as an art form. In this regard, an understanding of cinema theory, analysis and history is essential.
Nine courses cover film analysis, hands-on production, and the history and theory of cinema, with majors taking production and cinema studies courses in equal measure.
Outside the Classroom
Denison cinema majors gain hands-on experience in filmmaking, both on campus and off, right from the get-go.
Every year Denison’s Department of Cinema welcomes guest filmmakers to production and film studies classes alike. Students have the opportunity to meet and spend time with these visiting artists and to receive feedback and professional advice.
Cinema students participate regularly in Denison’s Summer Scholars program—a summer-long, paid, individual research opportunity that gives students the opportunity to invest in their work without the other demands of classes and deadlines. Students can choose to stay on campus or travel while they dedicate themselves to work and research under the mentorship of a faculty member.
What do cinema majors do after Denison?
Denison’s cinema majors have gone on to work as successful independent filmmakers with their own production companies, to writing, directing, shooting, or editing popular Netflix, Showtime, Amazon, Hulu, and Starz series, to working on major motion pictures starring actors like Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Matthew McConaughey, Beyoncé, and many more.
A national network of Denison alumni have provided current cinema students and recent graduates with internships, jobs after graduation, and contacts within the field. Recent graduates are currently working as professional editors, cinematographers, and writers across the U.S. and abroad. Graduates who choose to pursue an M.F.A. or Ph.D. attend top graduate programs in production and film studies.
The Department of Cinema is devoted to teaching the practice and the scholarly study of the art of cinema in all its forms (e.g. narrative, documentary, avant-garde/experimental, animation). Our curriculum incorporates film/digital production and the study of film aesthetics, history, and theory, with majors required to take production and cinema studies courses in equal measure. This reflects our belief that filmmaking and film studies are mutually sustaining: the experience of researching and analyzing cinema at a high intellectual level provides the developing filmmaker with a sense of their place in film-historical tradition as well as an aesthetic and conceptual sophistication that leads to more compelling artwork; and the experience of making films allows students to see cinema in new ways, enriching their analytical, historical, and theoretical writing and thinking.
As a department in Denison’s Division of Fine Arts, we approach cinema first and foremost as an art form. Making and studying art merges technical skill and experience, aesthetic sensibility, historical knowledge, and a wide range of ideas and types of thinking. Our goal is to help our students become more critical, discerning, and worldly producers and consumers of cinematic art.
As a department at a liberal arts university, we teach cinema in a way that encourages students to connect it with the other arts, and to forge links between the study of film and their academic work in other courses at Denison. In film studies courses, students examine cinema from multiple perspectives: historical, scientific and technological, philosophical, psychological, economic, political, and cultural. They engage in film analysis, historical research, and theoretical inquiry. The film/digital production courses provide an immersive education in filmmaking technology and craft, while also challenging students to think artistically, critically, and ethically as they work to produce compelling works of film art.
The major in Cinema is designed for the serious student who is interested in both the history and development of film and video as art forms and the creative process of producing cinematic works. The goals of the major are to provide students with a working knowledge of the principles of production in connection with an understanding of cinema as an art form. In this regard, an understanding of cinema theory, analysis and history is essential.