Types, techniques, and issues explored by filmmakers. Emphasis on narrative, image, and point of view.
What constitutes “independent film" in an era when independent distributors have merged with Hollywood studios? English 345 addresses this question by examining the narrative, stylistic, and industrial aspects of contemporary U.S. independent film. While we will briefly investigate the history of independent film in the U.S., beginning with the industry’s earliest days, we will concentrate on the burgeoning of independent cinema that began in the mid 1980s. In addition to viewing films in class, students will attend selected screenings at the Seattle International Film Festival.
Student learning goals
1. Identify narrative and formal techniques that define U.S. independent film.
2.Analyze how filmmakers use artistic strategies to achieve a range of effects.
3.Compose written arguments focused on the artistic, industrial, or ideological significance of selected films and support those arguments with sufficient and appropriate evidence.
4.Engage the work of film scholars, critically responding to their ideas in discussion and writing.
General method of instruction
Course activities promote active learning, with most class sessions including a mix of mini-lectures, discussion, and group work. My role is to provide the tools and resources you need to advance your own thinking and writing. I will pose questions, design activities to help you think through these questions, and respond to your ideas. Your role is to do the hard work—the critical reading, discussion, and writing. You will analyze films, generate ideas in electronic and face-to-face discussions, verbally analyze film clips, and construct written arguments.
None, save for a willingness to work hard and analyze film as more than a form of entertainment.
Class assignments and grading
Clip annotation, presentation, two essays and weekly electronic film responses.
Grades in English 345 will be computed by points, with 400 points equaling a 4.0, 300 points a 3.0, and so on. If your total falls between grades, I will round up if you score one to five points below the higher grade and round down if you score one to four points above the lower grade. For example, 274 points equals a 2.7 and 275 points a 2.8. Students who score less than 65 points total will receive a 0 for the course, as the UW grading system does not scale grades lower than .7.
Apart from postings, which are graded on a credit/no credit basis, points for each assignment will be awarded based on quality of work submitted. I will distribute grading criteria with all assignments. Each component of the course is worth the following number of points:
o Class Participation: 40 points o Clip Annotation: 60 points o Electronic Postings: 80 points o Essays: 160 points o Midterm: 60 points