Representations of femininity in contemporary Independent American cinema

Course Dates: 15/06/21 - 20/07/21
Time: 19:45 - 21:30
Location: Online
Mainstream cinema is dominated by male directors and protagonists. American independent cinema, with new ways to produce and distribute film, has increased the female voice in cinema. This course will examine what cinema looks like from a female point of view and how indie cinema has become so important in representing women.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £60.00

This course has now started

Course Code: HF209

Started Tue, eve, 15 Jun - 20 Jul '21

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This course looks at the way gender is constructed and presented in American independent cinema. In this course, we look at two key features: female protagonists and female directors. We will consider how female protagonists are presented by both male and female directors in independent cinema and explore how women’s experiences are more fully developed by these artists. For example, we will look at the types of narratives and performances which show women to be multi-dimensional characters. Historically, American mainstream cinema has placed barriers on gender, race, and sexual orientation, and we will explore how independent cinema removes some of the restrictions on women of colour, the LGBTQ community, and class.

Female directors are more prominent in this sector, and we will examine how industrial and technological changes in cinema has allowed female practitioners access to cinema. We will look at how a marginalised group writes in a cinematic language constructed by men and if these alterations to the way women are filmed alters our understanding of women in cinema.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• The way American independent cinema challenges conceptions of gender
• The way American independent cinema can offer new ways for women to tell stories on-screen
• The aesthetic of independent cinema and how it can support new ways to view women in cinema
• The types of narratives used in female-driven film
• Performance styles by women in key film roles
• Explore how femininity is presented in conjunction with race, class, and sexuality.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• List key films featuring women, recognising factors that have influenced their construction.
• Explain why certain topics and films are central to the discussion of gender in contemporary independent American film.
• Analyse representations of gender in key film sequences.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is open to anyone with an interest and enthusiasm for the subject. No prior knowledge is necessary.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Lecture, screenings, and discussion along with materials for further reading/research.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There no other costs. Bring a pen and paper.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

For other Film Studies courses please see our website at, culture & writing/film studies.

Ann-Marie Fleming

Ann-Marie Fleming received her PhD in Film Studies from The University of Kent in 2019. She has taught multiple film courses on film history, style, and theory. She has published two articles in the Celebrity Studies Journal and a book chapter in Star Attractions, Twentieth-Century Movie Magazines and Global Fandom.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.