Film Studies More Than a Minor Thing

Photo by Laura Luengas
Photo by Laura Luengas

The Communication and Media Department of SUNY New Paltz has introduced a brand new minor to its list, film and video studies. This interdisciplinary minor provides students with the chance to learn screenwriting, critique film and video from around the world and dabble in production.

Gregory Bray, a professor at SUNY New Paltz, is one of the program’s coordinators for the film and video studies minor. With a team of teachers from the Art, Foreign Language, Sociology and Communication and Media Departments, Bray and his associates were able to get the minor approved almost immediately this past May.

“Everybody seems to want to be involved,” Bray said. “We are all really excited and enthused about the minor.”

Though the minor was only officially introduced in August, it has already begun to attract the attention of both students and teachers. Joseph Robert Mayo, a fourth-year double major in French and international relations, was the first student to sign up for the minor.

“I have always been interested in film,” Mayo said. “I first heard of the minor through Professor Link and I knew instantly that it was for me.”

The minor, which is available to any student interested, no matter what department he or she is majoring in, gives students an opportunity to delve into all aspects of film.

Beth Wilson, a professor in the Art History Department, is one of the coordinators for the minor program.  Through working with Bray and the other professors, they were able to find courses that were already offered on campus in order to create this new minor.

“I’ve been teaching History of Film here at New Paltz for probably 10 years, and it’s really nice to be able to connect with other faculty and coordinate something that is meaningful across the disciplines,” Wilson said.

The interdisciplinary aspect of the minor along with the variety of courses offered through the program gives students the ability to add courses of their own choice to the minor program.

Every semester there are a number of courses added to the official schedule of classes that are only offered for one semester. Unfortunately these courses are not always easy to find, but they can be sought out through the schedule of classes during registration.

One course is being offered by Professor Paul Fenouillet of the Foreign Language Department. Fenouillet is teaching a French film course this semester that is not listed in the minor program. However, a student registered for the minor who is taking this or a similar course has the chance to visit one of their minor advisors and make the course count towards the program.

Along with the ability to individually select courses for the minor, students are also given a choice between two concentrations for the minor: a production concentration or a cinema criticism and culture concentration. This allows students to choose an even broader range of courses, while making the minor specific to their interests.

“Having production skills as well as the ability to understand what the media is communicating to us is invaluable,” Mayo said.

Students wishing to sign up for this minor must have completed at least 30 college credits, have a minimum GPA of 2.50 and acquire the signature of one of the minor’s co-chairs,  Bray or  Wilson.