Announcing the Winner of the Inaugural Film Matters Masoud Yazdani Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Film Scholarship

In honor of Masoud Yazdani, Chairman of Intellect, who passed away in 2014, Film Matters recently commissioned its inaugural Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Film Scholarship.  This tribute reflects Masoud’s keen interest in and support of Film Matters and — by extension — undergraduate scholars.  This book award will now be given annually to a Film Matters author who has published a feature article during the previous volume year.  The winning author receives a book from the field of film studies, in recognition of his/her achievement.

Film Matters is very pleased to report that, following a lengthy judging process (conducted by three individual academics based at institutions of higher education worldwide), the winner of the first Yazdani Award is Christina Newland, for her FM 5.1 (2014) article, “Archetypes of the Southern Gothic: The Night of the Hunter and Killer Joe.”  Congratulations to Christina on her fine achievement, among what was an exceptionally high level of writing across the entire group of essays.

Christina will be receiving a copy of Valeria Belletti’s Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary: Her Private Letters from Inside the Studios of the 1920s, published by the University of California Press in 2006. This book will support her ongoing research for a forthcoming project.

We would also like to thank our diligent panel of judges, responsible for assessing an entire calendar year of FM articles: Michael Benton, part of the faculty of the Humanities Department at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Kentucky, USA; Stephen Charbonneau, Associate Professor of Film Studies and Associate Director of the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University, USA; and Scott Wilson, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer at the Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand. Their service was instrumental to the award process.

Judging for the 2016 award (for volume 6, 2015, feature articles) will be underway soon.

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Scoring Night and the City. By Jennifer Fleeger and Jordan Scharaga

Film Matters is pleased to bring you an exciting multimedia collaboration between professor and undergraduate student at Ursinus College, Scoring Night and the City. Professor Jennifer Fleeger and Jordan Scharaga have produced an insightful compare-and-contrast commentary on the scoring differences between the two versions of  Jules Dassin’s Night and the City (1950) — both of which you can view on Criterion’s 2015 Blu-ray release. We hope to see more collaborations like this in future and thank Fleeger and Scharaga for their work!

Author Biographies

Jennifer Fleeger is an assistant professor in the Media and Communication Studies Department at Ursinus College. She is the author of two books: Sounding American (Oxford UP, 2014) explores the importance of opera and jazz during the conversion to sound in Hollywood and Mismatched Women (Oxford UP, 2014) examines the connection between women who don’t sound like they look and new technologies for recording and visualizing music, from Trilby and the phonograph to Susan Boyle and the internet. She has published articles and reviews in Camera Obscura; Music, Sound, and the Moving Image; Quarterly Review of Film and Video; and Popular Music and Society.

Jordan Scharaga is a junior Media and Communications major and eager film minor at Ursinus College. Her love of film began at the early age of three when she would watch The Philadelphia Story with her mother. She looks forward to pursuing her interest in film through both scholarly and production-related outlets.

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FM 6.2 (2015) — Guest Edited by The Ohio State University — Is Now Out!

Film Matters is pleased to announce the release of issue 6.2 (2015), guest edited by The Ohio State University’s Margaret C. Flinn, with Associate Guest Editors Paige Piper and Matthew Roesch.

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

  • Bodies at the Margin: Rethinking Corporeal Cinema in Claire Denis’s Les Salauds by Jules O’Dwyer 
  • “Disciplined Silence” and “Wandering Talk”: Poetry and Punctuation in the Films of Abbas Kiarostami by Roxanna Haghighat 
  • Howl’s “Kaleidoscopic Facets”: Accessing the “Multitrack” Elements of Allen Ginsberg’s Poetry through Animation by Anna Varadi 
  • Gothic Melodrama, Hindi Cinema and Subversions of Genre in Madhumati by Nooreen Reza 
  • Creating Interiority in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan: An Issue of Composition, Space, and Visual Distortion by Alice Vignoles-Russell

These featurettes:

  • Wexner Center Interview with Director of Film/Video David Filipi and Curator of the Film/Video Studio Program Jennifer Lange by Bob Adrion
  • Graduate Program Review: School of the Art Institute of Chicago: MFA, Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation by Mikayla Bungard
  • Graduate Program Review: CalArts School of Film/Video by Chris Wittum 
  • A Look into the Journal of Short Film by Thomas Gardner 
  • Don’t Screenwrite Grad School Off: An Assessment of the MFA in Screenwriting from USC and UCLA by Cyrus Adeli

As well as book and film/DVD/Blu-ray reviews by:  Cyrus Adeli, Stephen Belden, Eoin Bell-Games, Franz Ross, Ha Eyn Song, and Chris Wittum.

For more information about issue 6.2, please visit Intellect’s website: http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-issue,id=3007/

Film Matters is always looking to work with new guest editors from institutions around the globe.  Please get in touch with us today if you want to bring this unique applied learning experience to your campus and undergraduate students!

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Our Little Sister (2015). Reviewed by John Bennett

Our Little Sister (Sony Pictures Classics, 2015)

Our Little Sister (Sony Pictures Classics, 2015)

There’s no avoiding schmaltz and melodrama; they’ve been a part of our filmgoing experience since Griffith. But careful consideration of melodramatic stories can help us distinguish what is an honest expression of a strongly felt emotion from maudlin exploitation. When so many movies and TV shows exploit moments to give us cheap feels, Hirokazu Koreeda’s Our Little Sister lets finely expressed moments build on one another, making Our Little Sister a feel-good movie without making us feel like we’re being sold a feel-good movie: it’s a successful family drama with true niceness at its core.
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Announcing Open Call for Papers 8.3

Film Matters is officially announcing our open call for papers for consideration in issue 8.3 (2017) — the deadline is September 1, 2016.  Undergraduates and recent graduates, please submit your film-related research papers today!

For more information, please download the official document (in Word):

Submissions and questions should be directed to:

  • futurefilmscholars AT gmail.com

We look forward to receiving your papers!

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Son of Saul (2015). Reviewed by John Bennett

Son of Saul (Sony Pictures Classics, 2015)

Son of Saul (Sony Pictures Classics, 2015)

Leaving the theater where I saw László Nemes’s brilliant, relentlessly brutal Holocaust drama, Son of Saul (2015), I mentioned to a woman how difficult I thought the film was to watch. She replied, “Yes, but…” and gave a sad look accompanied by a shrug that seemed to say “but that’s the way it is.” That shrug and that expression, simultaneously conveying defeat and the sincere desire not to be defeated, were as accurate a review as possible for representing the spirit of Son of Saul—an important film in which vicious brutality reigns supreme as the smallest seed of meaning and purpose fights quixotically to take root.
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Last Call: Deadline for CFP 8.1 Is February 1!

The deadline for call 8.1 (for issue 8.1, 2017) is February 1, 2016. For more information, please see the original post:

Questions and submissions should be directed to Liza: futurefilmscholars AT gmail.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Reminder: Open Call 8.1 Papers Due on February 1

Undergraduates, submit those film-related research papers to open call 8.1 today — the deadline is looming!  For more information, please read the original announcement:

Email Liza Palmer (futurefilmscholars AT gmail.com) today, with questions or submissions — thanks!

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10 Questions for Kathy Larsen on World Film Locations: Washington D.C. By Jessica P. Jackson

jacksonKathy Larsen is a professor in the Writing Program at The George Washington University in Washington D.C. She has been the editor of several works including Fan Phenomena: Supernatural and Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls. Larsen is also the principal editor of The Journal of Fandom Studies which aims to explore the growing fandoms surrounding film, music, television, sports and gaming.. After reading her latest book titled World Film Locations: Washington D.C., I contacted her via email with some questions I had about it. She happily responded and even gave some insight into her future projects.

Jessica P. Jackson: How long have you been an editor?

Kathy Larsen: I edited a collection of essays on fan culture that came out in 2012 and around the same time I founded the Journal of Fandom Studies, so I’ve been editing continuously for almost four years now.
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The Start of an Ending. By Miguel Faus

The Start of an Ending is a side-by-side comparison of the opening and closing shots of 75 films. It’s based on similar videos by Jacob T Swinney, which inspired me to create my own using new films. It’s a very visual homage to filmmaking, cinematography and editing, because it provides a peek at what is possible when filmmakers devote themselves to visual storytelling. Moving images are incredibly powerful and convey a very wide range of meanings and emotions, but what is even much more powerful is the relationship between several moving images (or frames). This is the reason why editing is one of the most important aspects of cinema, because it is through the comparison of various images that we understand what a movie is trying to say. In my video, some frames are incredibly similar, some are very different, some show progress, others decline, but all of them teach us something about this great art that is cinema. Finally, I’d like to point out that the selection is not based on the value of the movies per se (although many of them are great masterpieces, and almost all of them are great films) but on the power of the comparison between the first and last frames.

Author Biography

Miguel Faus is a 23 year-old business graduate from Barcelona; he divides his time between his internship as a copywriter at an ad agency and his undergraduate program in Humanities. He’s passionate about films and is a contributing author at Jot Down Magazine, where he tries to figure out why he loves the films he loves.

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