Students embracing new major in film studies

Atlanta senior Alex Little stands in front of cameras setup for a dynamic range test between film and digital in the Mass Media and Technology Hall studio while Nashville senior Matt Martin does an light exposure test. This test was to show film students who had never seen the difference between the two medias. JERRY ENGLEHART JR./Herald

Sidney Blanford

Freshman Jayme Powell said she struggled with the decision where to go to college until she saw WKU had a major in film studies.

The Bowling Green native planned to lose her KEES money and travel out of the state for the specific major.

Fortunately for Powell, the major debuted in fall 2010.

“My class right now is the introduction class,” Powell said. “It is a lot of analyzing. It helps to know that stuff, because then you can go out and apply it.”

WKU’s film major is providing students with a range of knowledge and skills that will prepare them for a film related career.

Since its debut, the major in film has rapidly grown. As of Aug. 15, there were 96 students declared in the major.

Although there has previously been a minor in film, the major takes its students more in depth, said Ron DeMarse, assistant professor of journalism and broadcasting.

DeMarse worked with English professor Ted Hovet and Stephen White, a professor of journalism and broadcasting, on the curriculum for the new major.

The major requires 35 credit hours from courses in nine departments within Potter College of Arts and Letters. In addition, students must have a minor or second major outside of communications.

“I think the students will come out with a strong liberal arts education and have a good time while they are here,” DeMarse said. “It is just a fun major.”

Bowling Green junior Blake Garrison is currently a film major with a minor in history. This is Garrison’s first semester officially in the major, but said he has been taking film classes for a while.

“I feel like I am getting a broad range of knowledge and skills,” Garrison said. “Film touches a lot of different subject areas.”

Many students interested in film would major in broadcasting prior to the creation of the major, and it was their complaints that helped initiate the film major’s creation.

“I got to hear a lot of what (students) wanted in a major,” DeMarse said.

DeMarse said he feels the students interested in film tend to be focused on the more artistic side of things.

Garrison, now in his first semester as a film major, said he hopes to be creative with film. He said the most rewarding aspect is seeing a finished product and other peoples’ reactions.

“It feels good when other people are moved in some way,” Garrison said.

Garrison has had the opportunity to work on projects where he has recreated the movie 300 and edited projects on tape, which requires older, unfamiliar machines.

“They get to take something enjoyable and the major gives them the chance to go much deeper into something they may already know pretty well,” Hovet said.

Whether students are strong with the technical aspects of film, the creative side or have no prior experience, Hovet said this major is one accepting of a variety of students that are all learning together.