This course provides a survey of independent film and video, primarily as it has been produced and seen in the United States. We will examine independent film and video as a history, a series of movements, a set of institutions, and as efforts for expressing politics and representing voices that have been marginalized by commercial film and media production. Moreover, this class will examine “independence” as a historically variant and context-specific concept. What has made film and video “independent” in an ever-changing commercial media landscape? Through the combination of film texts, readings, lectures, and discussions, this course teaches students how to “read” a diverse array of innovative and challenging films through various contextual lenses.
In offering a survey of independent film and video, this course will:
• Introduce students to important independent works and their associated movements.
• Provide students with a conceptual overview of key issues raised by independent film and video, including questions about representation, politics, institutions, styles, and the connections between these components.
• Utilize required film and media screenings alongside assigned readings as a means to illustrate and explore these key issues, teaching students how to critically dissect a variety of independent film and video styles in the process.
• Require regular writing assignments to help students come to an understanding of independent films and video within historical, industrial, and political contexts.
• Allow students to explore independent film and video outside the limits of what this class covers by requiring students to create presentations and research assignments on films not screened in this class.