Board of Curators approves film studies major

Students generated interest for the major in 2005.
Maura Howard / Graphic Designer

The push for a film major at MU came to fruition Friday when the UM system Board of Curators approved a Bachelor of Arts film studies degree program.

Film studies Director Roger Cook said a committee of faculty members is in the process of determining the details of the program.

"The next step for the Film Studies Committee is to work out the requirements for the major," Cook said. "Most of these are laid out in the proposal, but at the moment we are considering a few small changes that will be worked into the curriculum for the major. For example, we are restructuring the first two required courses and we are creating a capstone course."

The major will require 30 hours of film studies courses, Cook said. The film minor will continue to require 15 hours.

"There will be a couple of new courses offered, but the film studies program has been offering enough courses over the last few years to support a major," Cook said. "The main change will be in the structuring of the curriculum and the addition of a couple of new core courses."

The film studies minor was established in 2000 and Cook said faculty in the program began the push for a major degree program soon afterward.

"The impetus that enabled us to convince the administration that it should add the major, even in times of strict budget control and cutbacks, came from students," Cook said. "In fall 2005 students formed a group called Mizzou Students for Film whose main goal was to have a film major created at MU. The group grew quickly, contacted me, and then we worked together to created the momentum and initiative needed to start a new program in difficult economic times."

The proposal for the film major received a lot of support from both faculty and students, Vice President of Academic Affairs Steve Graham said at the Board of Curators meeting Friday.

"It fits in very well with MU's strategic plan," Graham said. "There's a growing focus on new media."

Computer science associate professor Jeffrey Uhlmann, who has shot three movies on campus, said many supporters of the film major have participated in his films. The films, "Mil Mascaras vs. The Aztec Mummy," "Academy of Doom" and "Mil Mascaras: Aztec Revenge," started production in 2004.

"The films generated a lot of interest in films and filmmaking, and that interest really motivated Roger to propose the film studies degree," Uhlmann said. "He and I created a course in the film studies program which allowed students to learn about film pre-production and filming as active participants in the last two films."

Cook said film major faculty members are working to define details by the end of the semester.

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