Twenty-fourth in a series of articles from our visits to colleges and universities that are invited to participate in the 2018 College Film Awards.
Just outside of the District of Columbia line but within the Capital Beltway sits the great University of Maryland. Its powerhouse reputation attracts top academic talent, and its proximity to the halls of Congress enhances its prestige and influence.
But can its film studies school win the top prize at the College Film Awards? That’s problematic.
Our visit last week during spring break was as expected, relaxed. We had time to review the University’s film studies facilities and curriculum. What we found was high in esoterica and low in practicum – a course of study more directed to producing film critics than filmmakers.
Film studies majors at U of M
endure take a prerequisite course in Film Form, a two-course Film History and Theory Foundation and a six-course Film Criticism Core. According to the school’s Arts & Humanities website, these prerequisites “assure* that students have the necessary analytical tools and historical background to interpret diverse global cinematic traditions.” *We’re not certain whom is being assured.
Certainly film students with an urge to tell their stories on film can take electives in production? Not so fast, young Terrapins. Film electives are courses in world cultures, art and history that plausibly could provide context for films others have made. We discovered no practical courses on digital production, directing, screenwriting and the like.
Somewhere, though, on this sprawling urban campus there is at least one student with an overriding urge to contribute her story for study by future film history classes. We hope she will submit her narrative or documentary short to the 2018 College Film Awards as the University of Maryland competitor. Go Terrapins!