Calling All Instructors: Criterion Reviews

Film Matters is excited to announce that it has several Criterion Blu-rays needing to be reviewed.  If you are a current instructor of film (graduate student, tenured/tenure-track professor, adjunct, etc.) at an institution of higher education, then this is an applied learning opportunity to consider bringing to your students!

By claiming one of these Criterions, you are committing to produce a review for a future print issue of Film Matters.  The only stipulation is that undergraduate students must be involved in the writing of the review.  We encourage creativity in this venture!  But strategies include:  coauthoring with students, making the review a classroom exercise (i.e. each student contributes a paragraph, analyzing a frame or sequence), working with a student film society to secure a review, etc.  Once the review has been successfully submitted, instructors may keep the Criterion to use as they see fit.

The Criterion Blu-rays are (if a title has TAKEN by it, it has already been claimed):

  • The Bridge (Wicki, 1959)
  • The Confession (Costa-Gravas, 1970) TAKEN
  • Every Man for Himself (Godard, 1980)
  • Five Easy Pieces (Rafelson, 1970) TAKEN
  • Here Is Your Life (Troell, 1966)
  • The Merchant of Four Seasons (Fassbinder, 1971)
  • My Beautiful Laundrette (Frears, 1985)
  • Night and the City (Dassin, 1950) TAKEN
  • State of Siege (Costa-Gravas, 1972) TAKEN
  • Two Days, One Night (Dardennes,  2014) TAKEN

To apply, please email a brief proposal to Liza (futurefilmscholars AT, detailing your preferred selection, as well as your name, affiliation, course information, and plans for: (1) how you will incorporate this Criterion product into your classroom; and (2) how you will produce a review of the Criterion product, involving undergraduate authors, to be published in a future print issue of Film Matters.

(Please make sure you have access to the proper hardware to view Blu-rays!)

Criterions will be awarded on a first come, first served basis.  Deadlines for reviews to be submitted to Liza will be January 15, 2016.

Please email Liza with any questions (futurefilmscholars AT  Otherwise, we look forward to working with you!

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Reminder: Open Call 7.3 Papers Due on September 1

Undergraduates, submit those film-related research papers to open call 7.3 today — the deadline is looming!  For more information, please read the original announcement:

Email Liza Palmer (futurefilmscholars AT today, with questions or submissions — thanks!

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FM 5.2 Is Out!

Film Matters is happy to announce that FM 5.2 (2014 — and not 2015, as the front cover of the issue may suggest!) is out.

In this issue, you will find the following peer-reviewed feature articles:

  • Reclaiming the Spectacle of Fright and Freaks in Freak Orlando by Vilma Castaneda
  • The Film Bodies of Rainer Werner Fassbinder by Chia Soon Hann Justin Ian
  • Female Paranoia: The Psychological Horror of Roman Polanski by Rob Davies
  • The Specter of War in Contemporary Japan: Unclaimed Trauma, Contesting Masculinities, and the Disintegrated (National) Body in Ichi the Killer by Alexander Espeland 
  • Tarrying Awhile in Front of a Blank Screen: Nam June Paik, Zen for Film by Eugene Kwon 
  • Satirizing Phallocentric Capitalism in South Korea: Modification and Commodification of the Female Body by Jee Hee Lim
  • The Role of Emotion in Oppression in Marker’s La Jetée and Sembène’s La Noire de… by Corrine Quirk

Two themed dossiers.  One on Disney, with the following featurettes:

  • The House of Mouse, Superheroes and Stormtroopers: How Disney Is Monopolizing and Dominating the Entertainment Industry by Dustin Fleischmann and  Jonathan Mayo 
  • From Snow to Ice: A Study of the Progression of Disney Princesses from 1937 to 2014 by Maegan M. Davis
  • Marketing Childhood: An Interview with Shannon Silva by Zoë June Frank
  • Change or No Change: Native American Representations of Race in Disney by Justin R. J. King 

And the other on Wes Anderson, with the following featurettes:

  • The Evolution of Wes Anderson’s Cinematography by Richard F. Martin
  • “Does This Seem Fake?”: Wes Anderson’s Kingdom of Visual Absurdity by Matt Herzog 
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou in Twelve Frames by Emily Anderson, Zach Boylston, Christopher Schammel,  and  Kailyn N. Warpole

The next “Mapping Contemporary Cinema” installment from Queen Mary, University of London:

  • Returning to America with Something to Say: Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine by Raphael Uribe Ruiz 

The following featurettes:

  • Post-Apocalyptic Cinema: What the Future Tells Us About Today by Stephen Glawson 
  • An Adaptation of Ice and Fire: D. B. Weiss and David Benioff ’s Television Adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s Unfilmable A Song of Ice and Fire by Stephen Murphy 

The winning caption for the April 2014 Caption Contest by Francesca Alberigi, with commentary by Justin R. J. King.

As well as DVD/Blu-ray and book reviews by:  Logan Bennett, Stuart Collier, Ellie Cooper, Dallis Frie Covey, Matt Herzog, Michael J. Lee, Kailyn N. Warpole, and Caitlin Zera.

Finally, completing the issue is a Color Stock design, celebrating Across the Universe (2007), by Kailyn N. Warpole.

It’s a big issue!  And we are pleased with it.  Thanks to all our authors and editors for making it happen!

For more information about issue 5.2, please visit:,id=2876/

And become a Film Matters author yourself — respond to a call for papers or inquire about reviewing today!

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Gaming in Color (2015). Reviewed by Kailyn N. Warpole

gamingincolorposterformaylaunchVideo games, as an increasingly beloved form of entertainment and social connection for our culture, provide players with interactive outlets to express themselves while navigating new and fantastical worlds. With the millions of console and computer games available today, and the diverse population of people who play them, it would seem that more gamers (beyond heterosexual males) would see representation in contemporary video games—however, this isn’t really the case. Philip Jones’s Gaming in Color (2015) addresses this lack of representation and takes a closer look at the world of gaming from the perspectives of LGBTQ gamers. Featuring a diverse cast of engaging interview subjects, footage from the 2013 GaymerX convention, charming graphics, and clips from a multitude of both popular and indie video games, Jones’s documentary is a fun and insightful commentary on the queer view of gaming culture.
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Shooting the Moon: Interview with Brian Willems. By Kailyn N. Warpole

willems 1Brian Willems is assistant professor of literature and film theory at the University of Split, Croatia. He is the author of Hopkins and Heidegger (2009), Facticity, Poverty and Clones (2010), and Shooting the Moon, which hit shelves this past May. To get some insight into his newest book, Film Matters conducted a Q & A with Willems via email correspondence (2-4 June 2015).

Kailyn Warpole: Please tell us a little more about your book.

Brian Willems: Shooting the Moon is a book about the role of the moon in science fiction films. It has sections on early films, camp films, films made just before the 1969 moon landing, actual footage of the moon, and finally on what films do with the moon after the moon was explored. The book has a philosophical bent, which means that each section is seen as providing an equally valid strategy for putting the “truth” of the moon on screen. For example, the absurdity of camp films is seen as at least showing what the moon is not, while the graininess of the actual footage on the moon is read as a reflection of how a filmed moon is no guarantee of truth.
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Interview with Film Matters Author, Joanna Scholefield. By Travis Merchant

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight  Pictures, 2010)

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2010)

Recently, Travis Merchant was able to catch up with Joanna Scholefield, who wrote her article, “Under the Skin: How Filmmakers Affectively Reduce the Space Between the Film and the Viewer,” for issue 5.1 of Film Matters. Her article explored Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010), and how the camera’s movement, focus, and shot length explored the emotions and mental state of the characters in the film. Merchant was able to ask Scholefield about her article, along with questions about where she is at and where she is heading in her life.

Travis Merchant: How did you first hear about Film Matters, and what was the publication process like?

Joanna Scholefield: I heard about Film Matters when I learned that David Sorfa [senior lecturer and program director for Film Studies at University of Edinburgh] was going to be second marking my dissertation for my degree. Though, I had probably read the magazine many times in our university library without recognizing that it was Film Matters!
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Call for Graphic Design Work

Film Matters is excited to announce a new way to contribute to our print issues:  Color Stock (with many thanks to fall 2014 Editorial Board member Robert J. Chase for the name!) is a new section in each issue of Film Matters, featuring the film-related graphic designs of our undergraduate contributors.  It is located on the inside back cover of the issue, and is in full color.

Past entries include:

  • Fan art celebrating The Big Lebowski (1998) [in FM 5.1 by Christopher Schammel]; Across the Universe (2007) [in FM 5.2 by Kailyn N. Warpole]; and There Will Be Blood (2007) [in FM 5.3 by Christopher Schammel].
  • Film studies definitions — visual works describing key terms in the discipline [“Contra-zoom” in FM 6.1 by Steven T. Gamble].

But we are open to any creative exploration of film topics.

We will be accepting these submissions on a rolling basis.  And all submissions must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • They should be in color.
  • They should be at least 300 dpi, and sized to these dimensions:  200mm (7.87in) width by 265mm (10.43in) height.
  • They must not violate copyright.

Please direct questions and submissions to Liza (futurefilmscholars AT

As always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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Interview with Film Matters Author, A. Randal Johnson. By Jackson Gentry

An issue of Famous Monsters magazine, which Mr. Johnson referred to as material he read as a child and what initially grabbed his interest in the subject matter

An issue of Famous Monsters magazine, which Mr. Johnson referred to as material he read as a child and what initially grabbed his interest in the subject matter

I recently spoke with A. Randal Johnson, who is a past author for Film Matters magazine, about one of his particular articles he wrote for the magazine. Mr. Johnson was a part of the guest editorial board for the magazine in the spring of 2012, while he was attending the University of Kansas. He went on to write the article “Monster Kids Spawned in the Atomic Age,” which made issue 3.3 of Film Matters. After reading this, I learned that this was an intimate piece of writing by Mr. Johnson, as it related to his personal interests as a child and how he grew up in the subject matter. I contacted A. Randal Johnson to get a better understanding of his writing style and form and how he incorporated his personal references to create a strong featurette.

Jackson Gentry: I noticed in your article how you used several personal experiences; do you believe that by doing this you are able to relate more with the reader?

A. Randal Johnson: Not particularly, this article just happened to be from my personal point of view. The point of the article was to show “How I became a Monster Kid” by the zeitgeist I was born into, by osmosis of the popular culture.
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Call for Book Reviews

Film Matters is seeking current undergraduate students to review some recent academic titles for us.  The available books are listed below:

  • TAKEN Bollywood’s India: A Public Fantasy, by Priya Joshi (Columbia UP)
  • TAKEN Critical Approaches to the Films of Robert Rodriguez, edited by Frederick Luis Aldama (U of Texas P)
  • TAKEN Documenting Cityscapes: Urban Change in Contemporary Non-Fiction Film, by Ivan Villarmea Alvarez (Wallflower)
  • TAKEN Documents of Utopia: The Politics of Experimental Documentary, by Paolo Magagnoli (Wallflower)
  • TAKEN The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film, second edition, edited by Barry Keith Grant (U of Texas P)
  • TAKEN The Encyclopedia of Film Composers, by Thomas S. Hischak (Rowman & Littlefield)
  • TAKEN Guerrilla Film Scoring: Practical Advice from Hollywood Composers, by Jeremy Borum (Rowman & Littlefield)
  • TAKEN Hollywood and Hitler 1933-1939, by Thomas Doherty (Columbia UP)
  • TAKEN Nollywood Stars: Media and Migration in West Africa and the Diaspora, by Noah A. Tsika (Indiana UP)
  • TAKEN The Oxford Handbook of Film Music Studies, edited by David Neumeyer (Oxford UP)
  • TAKEN Studying the British Crime Film, by Paul Elliott (Auteur)

Students interested in this opportunity should send a statement of interest (taking care to indicate any relevant qualifications for reviewing a specific title, like past course work, etc.) to:  futurefilmscholars AT

Priority will be given to emails received before May 15, 2015.

Students who are selected for this opportunity will receive a review copy of the book, which they can keep with our (and the publisher’s) compliments in exchange for the written review. This is an excellent way to build experience and CVs!

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Interview with Film Matters Author, Craig Manning. By Lydia Plantamura

Casino Royale (Columbia Pictures, 2006)

Casino Royale (Columbia Pictures, 2006)

In the summer of 2013, Film Matters published, “License to Joke: Parody and Camp in and Around the James Bond Series,” an essay focused on the longevity of the Bond franchise. Editorial board member, Lydia Plantamura, interviews author Craig Manning about his writing career and fondness for agent 007.

Lydia Plantamura: Where did you first hear about Film Matters magazine?

Craig Manning: I found out about Film Matters through a simple Google search. I wasn’t a film studies major, but an English major, so I wasn’t familiar with the various undergraduate journals for film. I was actually taking a really cool English class about parody, and for the major assignment of the semester, our professor gave us a lot of freedom to decide what we wanted to write about. Basically, he wanted us to take the definitions and elements of parody that we’d learned about over the semester, find an example (or several examples) to analyze, and then write an essay. What made the assignment unique was that he wanted us to write as if we were planning on submitting to an undergraduate journal. Actually submitting to the journal wasn’t a requirement, since the peer review process is lengthy and would extend past the end of the semester, but I figured it would be a good experience to have. Knowing that I wanted to focus on Bond, I searched for undergraduate film journals, and Film Matters was the first that came up.
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