Film Studies

Director: Associate Professor Madalene Spezialetti (Computer Science); Visiting Lecturer Bemiss

The interdisciplinary program in film studies at Trinity draws on courses in film studies and production taught in sixteen of the College’s departments and programs. Though the program is based in core courses that emphasize the aesthetic and theoretical traditions specific to film studies, the study of film by its very nature engages other domains and disciplines. History, politics, philosophy, psychology, culture, theater, literature, music, and visual art are all potentially implicated in the experience of film, and our courses invite students to explore the multiple dimensions of cinematic experience.

The program offers students interested in filmmaking an opportunity to develop that interest through production and screenwriting courses, internships, a semester or year at a production program abroad, and the option of doing a senior production thesis. The interdisciplinary major in film studies is designed to ground students in three basic aspects of the field - film history, film theory, and film production – while at the same time providing the flexibility to allow for exploration of specific areas of interest within each of those aspects.

Anyone interested in discussing the film program is encouraged to contact the director, Madalene Spezialetti.


Students interested in declaring a major in film studies should consult with Madalene Spezialetti, the film studies program director, to review the requirements and fill out the declaration form. All interdisciplinary majors in film studies are supervised by two faculty members from different disciplines. Interdisciplinary majors in film studies include a minimum of 12 courses, drawn from at least three different disciplines. Students must earn a minimum of C- in any given course to have it count toward the major.

Requirements for the major in film studies

Honors—To be awarded honors for the major in film studies, students are required to take a senior seminar in film studies and do a senior project and earn a GPA of at least 3.67 in courses counted toward the major.

Approved core and elective courses for the interdisciplinary major in film studies

Please note that not all courses listed below are offered every year and that other film-related courses offered at Trinity (but not listed below) and equivalent university-level courses taken elsewhere may be approved for use as substitutes. All courses taken toward the major in film studies need to be approved in advance by the film studies program coordinator.

Category I: Core Courses

Categories II-IV: Elective Courses

Guidelines for senior projects (FILM 497)—Senior projects are restricted to students doing an interdisciplinary major in film studies. The senior project can either be a piece of film studies scholarship (i.e., a written thesis) or a film production (i.e., a thesis film); in either case the topic for the project is selected by the student and the project is designed in consultation with the supervising faculty member. By the end of the spring semester of their junior year, students who intend to do a senior project will consult with the film studies program coordinator to discuss the topic for the project and identify appropriate faculty members to potentially supervise and assess it. Once the topic has been developed and approved by a faculty supervisor, a proposal is submitted to the film studies program director.

Study-Abroad Opportunities—Students majoring in film studies are encouraged to take advantage of Trinity’s relationships with institutions abroad that offer courses in film studies and production. The Trinity-in-Trinidad program offers film courses through an exchange program that is built on a long-established relationship with The University of the West Indies. Though the full list of other sites for possible film-related study abroad is quite extensive, they include Prague, Czech Republic (through the CIEE program housed at the renowned Czech film school FAMU), and Perth, Australia (at Curtin University, where a semester program in film production ends with a study tour of Asia).