2023-2024 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Sep 27, 2023  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Film, BFA

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Kara Herold, Program Coordinator, kherold@syr.edu

102 Shaffer Art Building, 315-443-1033


Gabrielle Demeestere, Joe Gabriel, Kelly Gallagher, Kara Herold, David Hicock, Alex Mendez-Giner, Soudabeh Moradian, Nancy Keefe Rhodes, Donato Rossi, Sandy Siquier, Miso Suchy, Stewart Thorndike, Matthew Warne.


The  educational mission of our film program is to provide a stimulating and rewarding context for independent filmmaking. We foster creative, intellectual, and personal achievement by providing an exceptional hands-on education from development to post-production: scriptwriting, budgeting, storyboarding, cinematography, directing, sound design and post-production: including 2D and 3D animation.  Students can pursue various modes of filmmaking, from narrative to documentary and experimental.

The film program places equal emphasis on academic film studies, creative production, and interpersonal and leadership skills. The program encourages independence, debate, and originality. Our approach to film is aesthetic rather than a commercial enterprise. All students are required to take film history, theory and criticism classes where they develop conceptual, critical and aesthetic skills that empower them to become the top filmmakers of tomorrow.

First and second year students follow a core curriculum, including introductory production courses and essential filmmaking skills. The third year allows students to dive into specific filmmaking aspects that they are passionate about while the fourth year brings it all together, as students develop their unique voice, style and professional practice in a final thesis film.

In addition, our program offers three culturally immersive, intensive, and professional minded study abroad options in Prague, Bologna and Los Angeles.  On campus students have the opportunity to be involved in the Syracuse International Film Festival and the Syracuse Film Society (a student-run film organization).

Fourth year students have two additional opportunities: the Sundance Ignite program where selected students get an insider view of the film industry by attending multiple public and private events during the festival; and the Bryan Buckley Award which offers finanical support to outstanding thesis projects, both in their production and post-production stages.

The film production facilities include 4K cutting edge digital film cameras, digital RAW-enabled recorders, professional film lenses, Super 16mm analog film cameras, a large array of location lighting including state-of-the-art HMI, Flourescent and LED lights such as Arri M18 HMI, Arri Skypanels, Joker HMI Fresnels, and Kino-Flo Banks, among many others. We also have professional mounting gear, a studio dolly, car mounts and gimbals.

Our non-linear editing facilities are 4K ready, equipped with the Adobe Creative Cloud, Da Vinci Resolve, and other professional software.  Our color grading facilities are equipped with a Flanders Scientific broadcast monitor and professional grading controls. We also have two top-notch sound mixing studios as well as a lighting studio and green screen.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Technical Skills: Demonstrate a subset of technical skills involving process or technique knowledge and proficiency in Film Production

2. Conceptual Skills: Demonstrate a broad set of skills in Film that allow a student to understanding abstract ideas and complicated processes while also think creatively

3. Critical Thinking: Analyze theoretical, critical and historical thoughts and concepts clearly and effectively through film

4. Filmmaking Proficiency: Produce quality films that demonstrate a cohesive and compelling production, appropriate to the medium while effectively managing the resources and logistics to produce a film

5. Collaboration Skills: Employ ability to function as a team member of a production

Program Requirements

Studies in Culture: 18 credits

Studies in Culture consists of pre-approved Liberal Arts electives.

FIL 253 Survey of Film History I and FIL 254 Survey of Film History II are required electives.

FIL 250 Film Topics and FIL 360 Films Topics are recommended.

You can find a comprehensive list of approved electives here.

Academic Electives: 21 credits

Academic electives are non-studio based courses found across all ten colleges. You can find a comprehensive list of suggested academic electives here.

Studio Electives 21 credits

Studio electives are offered through the Department of Film and Media Arts, the Department of Drama, the School of Art and the School of Design. 

The course content includes, but is not limited to, conceptualization, process, product, and critique of creative work in studio practice.

These courses meet for a minimum of four hours per week for the duration of the semester. Usual meeting patterns are: the class meets once per week for four+ hours, or twice per week for two or more hours. You can find a comprehensive list of courses that count as studio electives here.

Study Abroad

The film program offers both semester-long and short-term study programs with FAMU in Prague (spring, junior year); in Bologna, Italy (summer program); in LA through the SULA semester (fall, senior year). 

Total Credits Required: 121

Degree Awarded: BFA in Film

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