A minor in film studies has officially come to Mississippi State University’s campus this semester, with the help of the Department of English, the Department of Art and the Department of Communication.
Andrea Spain, an associate professor in MSU’s Department of English, and the woman who spearheaded the introduction of the film minor, stated there was not access to a course of official study regarding film until this minor became an option.
Melanie Loehwing, an associate professor of communication, said there was a large amount of students who were looking to learn more about film, and they are now being provided with the opportunity to do just that.
“I’m thrilled our students have an opportunity to be able to study film in a systematic way, and after graduation to be able to show graduate school admissions committees or employers that they have pursued this very systematic study of film as part of their degree,” Loehwing said.
Spain clarified the minor in film studies is not simply for people pursuing film as a career. Though it can be that, the minor is also there for people simply interested in the idea of digging deeper into the world of film.
“What’s really great about this minor is that it enables students to show future employers or graduate schools that they have interests outside their major, and they have a sustained way to pursue them,” Spain said.
Walker Harris, a sophomore majoring in Industrial Technology, is currently working toward minors in theatre, music and film. Though he said he had some knowledge in filmmaking, he wanted to learn more about the technicalities of the process.
“I’ve got the hands-on experience side of working on films, but I also want to learn more about the actual history and what goes on inside the film industry and the critique side versus the hands-on working side,” Harris said.
Since students with varying film-related interests are welcome, the minor’s course options are flexible. It requires Introduction to Film and 15 credit hours of film electives. Because of this flexibility, students can build their minor with classes that pique their interests.
“I want the students to have a tailored experience based on their interests and their personal and professional goals,” Loehwing said.
Caroline Matheny, a sophomore foreign languages major, who wants to be a documentarian, said she enjoyed meeting new people and forming a community of people who are passionate about film.
“Who doesn’t love seeing a movie? There’s something in it for everyone,” Matheny said.
Matheny said one of the things she enjoys about film, in particular, is telling stories while also expressing and evoking emotions.
Spain said students with this minor will be more equipped to answer the bigger-picture questions about how film affects the world around them.
“How is it that one series of images can transform the way we see something or how we feel about something? How is it that a moving image can change a historical moment,” Spain said. “Film minors are able to take on those kinds of big questions.”
Harris affirmed the importance of studying film, citing it as a medium for diffusion of thought and ideas with a worldwide scope.
“Film helps you share ideas and dreams with everybody else in the world,” Harris said.