Film Studies minor expands course offerings, simplifies requirements

Associate professor of English and Coordinator of the film studies minor Jun Okada teaches “FMST 100: Introduction to Film Studies” (pictured above). Okada has worked to alter the minor, which has allowed students to more easily complete its requirements. These changes include utilizing Geneseo faculty to teach more courses and decreasing the number of needed prerequisite courses. (Annalee Bainnson/ photo editor)

The film studies minor recently underwent modifications to allow greater customization for students. Members of the minor have responded positively to the changes. 

The film studies minor will have more classes taught by adjunct lecturer of English Johannes Bockwoldt and visiting assistant professor of music Brooke McCorkle, according to associate professor of English and Coordinator of the film studies minor Jun Okada. The minor will also only require “FMST 100: Introduction to Film Studies” now as well as five other elective courses.

Okada primarily made these changes in order to allow more students to easily register for the minor. The changes are also intended to provide more opportunities to complete the minor, instead of waiting until specific required courses are offered. 

“One of the issues people had with declaring is that there are too many prerequisite courses, so students weren’t able to declare until they had those,” Okada said. “By reducing it to one prerequisite, they could just declare and see what else they’re interested in from what classes are being offered.” 

Communication and musical theater double major sophomore Kaitlin Joyce, who is a film studies minor, believes this modification was neces to continue her studies. 

“I was actually just having a thing where I was considering whether I needed to drop this,” Joyce said. “I joined with the intention of taking screenwriting and video production and it was so tightly bound to certain times because there are fewer classes that it made things much more difficult. The addition of professors may actually allow easier scheduling for people who can’t do the specific times.” 

Beyond program changes, Okada plans to affiliate the minor more with different campus activities like the Insomnia Film Festival, which occurs in March. Besides the film festival, the program has also tried to affiliate itself with the student-run Film Matters magazine, which is run by students from different colleges across the country. 

English major senior Timothy Blomquist is also appreciative for the changes to the minor, due to past challenges in course availability. 

“Because the department is so small, I’ve had difficulty fulfilling the requirements because there aren’t necessarily enough classes,” Blomquist said. “I know they seem to be taking initiative on growing the minor through Bockwoldt and McCorkle and I think that’s good ... Unless the school wants to make a name for itself as a film school, I don’t think they’re going to put many resources into the department.” 

Blomquist feels that the film studies program at Geneseo would more realistically appeal to people who are just interested in film, rather than individuals determined to make a career in the field. Given the nature of the department in the college, the lack of resources provided for the department seems reasonable to Blomquist. 

Joyce alternatively believes that the small size of the film studies minor was representative of a secondary position that arts receive at Geneseo. 

“There should be way more of a spectrum for film studies. I feel like the arts here are so undermined,” Joyce said. “Even just little additions like this to the film studies minor will help the school be a balanced community. Everyone needs a biology major, but film is entertainment that does so much, and we can’t undermine it just because it’s about film and it’s a minor.”