Thursday, May 19, 2016

IB Film: 2016 Summer Assignments

  1. WATCH SOME MOVIES! Keep a journal on everything you watch. No, really, every movie. Not just the ones you go to an actual movie theater but also ones you might watch at home. If it's the first time you've seen that movie, journal it. Log the title, date, director, principal talent, and anything else that strikes you about the movie from a filmmaking point of view. While you're at it, review this short interview in terms of formatting your journal. (By the way, I will be doing the same thing, too, watching and writing about movies. We'll compare notes.)
    • up to 7 minutes of dialogue and action
    • needs to be formatted as a script, not as a short story
    • will be "pitched" by you to the whole class during the first week of school
    • subject matter to be determined by you, but it must fit within the parameters of the final IB Film project

Your script will be due the first day of the first week of school. Period. No exceptions, unless it is a REALLY good one, and even then I reserve the right to call shenanigans and say no.


Actually, a short series of assignments:
  1.  Please read this short interview about American Cinema and film criticism. This should give you a fairly straightforward account of the way we will view and comment upon film in our class. It will also give you a model for how to complete the reflections that will be required of you for this summer assignment. Pay close attention to the commentary--both what they care to observe and how they comment upon it.
  2. WATCH SOME MOVIES! You must watch a total of five (5) films over the summer. This part of the assignment is more enjoyable if you actually watch them with other people, perhaps your fellow film students or even <gasp!> your parental units. You will need to watch the following:
    • a Film Noir from the 1940s - 50s;
    • a Sci Fi classic from the 1930s - 60s;
    • a Western;
    • a film by a foreign director such as: Pedro Almodovar, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Jean Paul Melville, Masaki Kobayashi, Werner Herzog, Akira Kurosawa, John Woo, or Francois Truffaut;
    • and another movie from the genre or era or country of your choice.
  3. Written Assignment: You will turn in a 3x5 reflection card for each film you watch, written within two days of seeing the film. 
    • Side A of this reflection card should include:
      1. Title and year of release.
      2. Director's name
      3. Principle actors' names
      4. Production company's name (e.g.Warner Bros., Toho, Universal, etc.)
      5. Country of origin
    •  Side B (the lined side) is where you BRIEFLY discuss your analytical, interpretive and evaluative thoughts about the film. (Again, read the link above in #1 for an example of what I'm talking about.)
I originally thought this went without saying, but try to watch movies that you have not seen before. I know it doesn't' say specifically what you have to watch; ultimately, it's your option. However, even if you sample something that you've tasted a thousand times, I hope that you'll look at it in a more critical light than that to which you are accustomed.

There are a number of decent websites with "must see" lists of films for film students. Here are a couple I would recommend:

The assignment will be due the Friday of the first week of school. Period. No exceptions, unless it is a REALLY good one, and even then I reserve the right to call shenanigans and say no.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Ask me! Feel free to comment with your questions, and I promise that I will reply. Or if you believe that your question is too radical or personal to ask publicly, feel free to drop me a line at:

Note: I will check my email and my blog often, but not necessarily more than daily (I do have things to do, after all). I promise to get back to you at my earliest convenience.

Not sure what's coming out? Try checking out this list of upcoming movies in 2016.

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