Women behind the camera: in Hollywood and beyond

Course Dates: 13/05/23 - 20/05/23
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online
Did you know that the first fiction film was directed by a woman? That there were more women working behind the camera in the first 30 years of cinema, than in the last 30? That only one woman has won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival? In this Study Day we will explore the careers of women directors from the past, those working today, and those whose careers are in their early stages.
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 £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00

Course Code: HF183

Sat, day, 13 May - 20 May '23

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

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?

In this Study Day we will be exploring the careers of a selection of women film directors whose work has made an impact on the history and appreciation of filmmaking. In the first week we will look at social, historical and industrial contexts, key films theories and ways in which you can watch a films actively, rather than passively. With all examples being from films directed by women this will provide a grounding in dozens of women directors, from which students can then research further.

In the second week we will focus in closer detail on one historic and one contemporary director. Here we will look at a variety of film clips and break them down to their component parts (Film Form) and discuss the ways in which the director has used these to create hidden depth and feeling and a uniformed body of work. Key areas to be examined are mise en scène, cinematography, editing and music. The sessions will provide biographical information on the directors, their place within the wider historical and cultural landscape of film, and how these may inform recurrent narrative themes and characters.

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?

Throughout the study day you will be introduced to new ways of looking and thinking about film, including and understanding of Film Form (cinematography, editing, music, mise-en-scene etc) and how a director uses these to create a unique body of work. Directors will include Alice Guy-Blaché, Lotte Reiniger, Nora Twomey, Céline Sciamma, Cheryl Dunye, Ava DuVernay, Chloe Zhao, Kathryn Bigelow, Muriel Box and Emerald Fennell.

The directors featured worked across different time periods from the birth of the cinema to recent Oscar nominated movies, to those challenging conventional filmmaking techniques, from those striving to capture the reality of lives around the world, to those putting front and centre provocative and though-provoking depictions of women.

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

- evaluate stylistic choices available to filmmakers in the construction of mise-en-scène
- conduct a basic formal and thematic analysis of an individual film
- understand and accurately articulate specialist terms used in the language of film
- demonstrate skills in close textual analysis
- gain insights into different film movements and styles
- appreciate basic concepts of the impact historical and production contexts have on a film
- discuss key gender film theories including representation and objectification
- gain insights into the way in which women directors have been discussed as part of the wider film landscape.

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

For those who enjoy viewing and discussing films and are interested in sharing ideas and listening to the views of others.

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

The format of the course will be PowerPoint Illustrated Talk with film clips and opportunities for discussion and questions around each example.
Watching films directed by the women under discussion would be useful but not essential.

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

A handout with links to online reading and viewing will be made available, plus additional reading and viewing materials.

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

Please look for other Film Studies courses at www.citylit.ac.uk/history, culture & writing/film studies.

Ellen Cheshire

Ellen Cheshire is a freelance film writer and lecturer. She has written books on Ang Lee and Jane Campion for Supernova Books, and Bio-Pics for Wallflower Press, and Audrey Hepburn and The Coen Brothers for Oldcastle Books. She has contributed chapters to books on Charlie Chaplin, James Bond, War Movies, Fantasy Films, Counterculture, Silent Cinema and an A Level Film Text Book.

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.