Teaching with Film Institute
What can films teach us about ethical dilemmas? Are some of Hollywood's sci-fi hits scientifically plausible? Can Native American filmmakers effectively challenge the status quo? This summer, UM's Teaching with Film Institute is offering five short courses that will assess answers to these and other questions designed to effectively integrate film into the classroom.
The Institute's three-credit courses are ideal for students interested in films relating to their areas of interest, and for teachers who want to deepen students' interest in and understanding of course material through the introduction of film. All courses may be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit.
Cultural Saavy Through Film (Udo Fluck, Geography)
This is a course that helps us to understand foreign cultures around the world. It all starts by being aware, curious, and interested in learning about the world and how it works. Investigate foreign cultures, weigh perspectives, communicate ideas, and apply cross-cultural expertise to solve problems. The course also dispels common myths about other cultures, examines the struggle of foreign cultures to maintain their identities, and provides insights into their way of life, customs and beliefs. Being culturally savvy is of tremendous importance to successfully engage in a multicultural and global world.
Making Movies: Just Do It (Sean O’Brien, English/Film Studies and Mark Shogren, Media Arts Department)
This course will prove valuable for teachers from a wide variety of disciplines who are interested in learning how to integrate a low-technology video project into their classrooms. It will cover the very basics of video production in a one-week intensive format, focusing on the fundamental principles involved in writing, directing, shooting, and editing a dramatic short (a short video drama.) Individuals taking the course will be required to produce such a short by the end of the week.
The History of Science Fiction (Garon Smith, Chemistry)
Is Harry Potter a good chemist? Could the Star Wars X-wings really turn on a dime? Are Superman's feats more plausible than we might think? While science fiction films let our imagination take flight, how much of what is portrayed in these fanciful settings a reasonable extrapolation of an established scientific principle? This course will scrutinize certain classic and contemporary films in order to determine how well the filmmakers knew their science. We will both laugh at and learn from some of the great scientific gaffes in film history.
Film as Anthropology (Garry Kerr, Anthropology Department)
When viewed with a critical eye, films on past and/or distant societies inform viewers about the culture portrayed as well as the culture that gave rise to the portrayal. In this course we will examine both dramatic and documentary films on Native Alaskans, Australian Aboriginees, and chimpanzee societies, learning to discern fact from fiction as we go.
Directors: Tarantino (Sean O’Brien, English/Film Studies)
What is behind what Oliver Stone characterized as the unusually deep and “unnatural” enthusiasm for the films of Quentin Tarantino? This class attempts to answer this question, in part, by exploring both the philosophical and aesthetic dimensions of Tarantino’s films.
For more information, contact Sean O'Brien, Director of the Teaching with Film Institute, at 406.243.5791 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.