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Film Studies

In the age of digital media, film studies as an academic discipline is challenged by a continuous transformation of its object of study. The profound changes of its material base, from celluloid to digital, as well as its screening practices, from public theatres to private homes, city screens and mobile devices, ask for renewed theoretical and historical frameworks of understanding. The aim of Film Studies program at the University of Amsterdam is to critically and creatively engage with such important shifts in film and cinema culture in the digital age.

Over the course of the program, students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to the ongoing theoretical and historical discussions in the field of Film Studies. Students gain a thorough understanding of the various facets of cinema with respect to its historical developments, its aesthetic forms of expression across various of film practice (fictional, non-fictional, experimental), and its political, social or psychological role in our contemporary media landscape and globalized screen culture. The role of “embodied knowledge” in the comprehension and appreciation of moving images is studied from both cognitivist and culturalist angles. The program builds upon the thriving film culture in Amsterdam and its surroundings, such as the EYE Film Institute Netherlands, the International Documentary Festival (IDFA), and a lively independent and underground film scene.

The priority areas for film studies in the upcoming period include cutting edge research in (a wide spectrum of) film philosophy, historical approaches of film in the broader spectrum of film cultures, digital archives and media archaeology and strengthening the exchanges between theory and practice (film production, film criticism and film institutes).