Keep Up on Fall 2023 Events and Beyond!

FAMS is pleased to offer and share news of events in support of its academic mission, including screenings by established and emerging filmmakers, guest lectures by critical historians and theorists, and workshops/lectures by writers and producers working in film, television, video and new media.

Want to keep up to date on news, events, opportunities, and other FAMS announcements? Please sign up for our newsbrief!

Upcoming FAMS Events

Everytown for Gun Safety Guest Speaker - Sophie Yan will be on campus

How do you advocate for gun safety and gun violence prevention in entertainment? 
Sophie Yan, Senior Director of Cultural Engagement and Entertainment Advocacy, will address this question on Thursday, October 26 in Stirn Auditorium 4:30 - 5:30 PM.

Everytown for Gun Safety is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the
United States. It works with volunteers — parents, teachers, students, and other
concerned citizens — both to educate the public about gun safety and to advocate for
changes in public policies both legal and cultural. Since their founding, Everytown for
Gun Safety has also worked closely with creative communities in entertainment
industries to harness its power to take the message of gun safety and responsibility to
bigger audiences and bring even more Americans into the gun violence prevention
movement. They share data and resources with television showrunners, writers,
directors, producers along with other creators to inform their storytelling work, calls to
action and media appearances. Furthermore, members of their Cultural Engagement
team are available to collaborate at each stage of their project’s development, from
research and scriptwriting to production, post-production, and final promotion.

Past FAMS events

Helene Keyssar Distinguished Lecture Series: Cloud Archives and the Geopolitics of Climate Change by YURIKO FURUHATA

October 12, 2023 in the CHI Think Tank

Clouds are one of the most taken-for-granted “natural” phenomena. And yet some clouds are not natural, most notably so-called mushroom clouds resulting from the detonation of atomic bombs. For centuries, scientists and amateur cloud observers turned their eyes and cameras to the sky to document and classify various types of clouds. The gold-standard of cloud taxonomy is the International Cloud Atlas, a manual that went through multiple editions since the late 19th century and that offers classificatory categories and photographs. Taking the photographic images of clouds included in these cloud atlases as my starting point, this talk will examine the categorical ambiguity of anthropogenic or human-made clouds in the history of cloud taxonomy. In so doing, this talk will turn to mushroom clouds to trace forms of taxonomic and atmospheric violence via cloud atlases published in English and Japanese during the Cold War. My goal is to connect the aesthetic history of these cloud imageries to the history of American military’s nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands, and ask how these intertwined histories in the Pacific can help us rethink the politics of anthropogenic climate change. 

Yuriko Furuhata is Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar of Cinema and Media History in the Department of East Asian Studies at McGill University. Her first book, Cinema of Actuality: Japanese Avant-Garde Filmmaking in the Season of Image Politics (Duke University Press, 2013), won the Best First Book Award from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. Her second book, Climatic Media: Transpacific Experiments in Atmospheric Control (Duke University Press, 2022) explores the geopolitical conditions underpinning environmental art, weather control, digital computing, and cybernetic architecture in Japan and the United States. She is currently working on a new book project, Visual Grammars of Deep Time: Archipelagic Archives of the Anthropocene, which examines sets of scientific atlases, photographs, and films of fossils, clouds, snow crystals, and corals in relation to the settler colonial histories of geosciences in Japan, the Pacific, and North America.

Professor Nozomi Nakaganeku Saito moderated the post-talk conversation with Professor Furuhata. 

FAMS Open House & Film Screening

September 12 at 5:15 p.m. in Pruyne Lecture Hall (Room 115 in Fayerweather Hall)

Please join us for our annual Film and Media Studies welcome-back event. Come by for a chat, see Professor Levine's new film, and meet majors, prospective majors, and faculty over snacks!

PLEASE NOTE THE TIME HAS CHANGED FROM 5:00 to 5:15 to accommodate any in our FAMS community members who plan to attend the event in remembrance of Gerald Penny in Chapin Chapel, which will conclude at 5:15.



Celebrating Film and Media Studies’ graduating seniors!

Class of ‘23 FAMS Seniors Celebration at Powerhouse, Tuesday May 2, 5:30-7:30pm

Calling all FAMS majors, prospective majors, friends, family and faculty - please mark your calendars for some festive time together, reveling in the accomplishments of our hard working grads.

5:30pm - gather, eat & drink

6pm - shout outs to seniors

6:30 - a special screening of Annihay Rawlins’s thesis film followed by a reading of a passage from Eli Maierson’s thesis work

Cake and dessert to follow!

Access, Embodiment, and Opacity: A Masterclass with Jordan Lord

Tuesday March 28 and Tuesday April 25, 4-7pm, Fayerweather 215

Filmmaker Jordan Lord, who specializes in cinematic design that takes disability into account, will visit Amherst on March 28 and April 25 for two Masterclass sessions. Jordan Lord's visit will be the first in the FAMS program's Kaufman Masterclass Series, which will bring emerging and distinguished filmmakers to Amherst to share their skills.

Lord's film Shared Resources (2021, 98 mins) will play on Thursday March 23, 7PM at Amherst Cinema as part of the Bellwether Series, followed by a virtual conversation with the filmmaker. Free to Amherst students! 


In this FAMS masterclass, we'll seek to work with access as a fundamental practice in filmmaking. Although making something more accessible is frequently thought of as rendering it simpler or more transparent, we will consider another, more apparent reality: that access usually makes things thicker or more opaque. Thinking with disabled artists' approaches to representing care and access work, as well as practices of film editing where bodies also act as cuts, we will think through embodiment as both a limit and a material for work grounded in access.

Participants who attend the March 28 session will have the option to make and workshop a project on which they will receive feedback and support during the April 25 session. 


There are no pre-requisites for participating in this masterclass. Enrollment in the first session will be open to all and uncapped. The second session will be open to all who wish to return, with 10 slots reserved for those who wish to present works-in-progress for feedback and critique (we will work hard to accommodate FAMS majors, especially those enrolled in FAMS 410 "Disability, Media, and the Art of Access"). We will be reserving some spaces for Five College Students.


Please click on the link below to access the registration form. Registration closes at 3pm on Friday March 24.

The 2023 Five College Film Festival Program is Announced!

Saturday, April 1, 2023, Stirn Auditorium, Amherst College

The Five College Film Festival’s mission is to share the stories of students from across the Five Colleges through the medium of film. We encourage all students, regardless of background or experience with filmmaking, to share their stories. If you have any questions please feel free to email

Bellwether Series at Amherst Cinema

Professor Rangan is helping coordinate two screenings for the March 2023 Bellwether Film Series at Amherst Cinema. Read more about the films and the series at the links below.

Shared Resources (dir. Jordan Lord, 2021, 98 mins) Thursday March 23, 7pm, to be followed by a live-zoom conversation with the filmmaker. 

100 Ways to Cross the Border (dir. Amber Bemak, 2022, 84 mins) Thursday March 30, 7pm, to be followed by an in-person conversation with the filmmaker. 

Documentary Film Screening of Fly So Far, with Director Celina Escher

March 23, 2023
Time and Location tba

Hosted by the Women’s and Gender Center, and co-sponsored by FAMS, we are pleased to announce an upcoming screening of the documentary film: Fly So Far, with director Celina Escher.

Fly So Far focuses on the lives of 17 women in the Ilopango prison in El Salvador and their wrongful incarceration because of miscarriages and stillbirths. These 17 Women were charged with aggravated homicide and sentenced to 30 years in prison. While this documentary focuses on El Salvador’s strict reproductive laws, it also focuses on the life of Teodora Vasquez, the spokesperson of the 17 accused of aggravated homicide. 

Special Opportunity for FAMS Majors

Two FAMS majors are invited to a dinner with the director prior to the screening. Contact to reserve your space (available on a first come first serve basis). 

More on the Film



Helene Keyssar Distinguished Lecture Series Presents: The Visible Voice – Teaching, Reading & Making Films by Branwen Kiemute Okpako

Monday & Tuesday, November 28 & 29, 2022, 5pm

FAMS is pleased to welcome Branwen Kiemute Okpako to campus to deliver the Fall 2022 Keyssar Lecture. Okpako is an acclaimed filmmaker and the Chancellor's Fellow and Associate Professor of the Department of Cinema and Digital Media at University of California, Davis.

Film screening of Okpako's award winning documentary about the first Black policeman in Saxony
Monday November 28, 5-6:45pm at Keefe Campus Theater (Keefe 008)

Join Okpako for her multi-award winning documentary: Dreckfresser (Dirt for Dinner) on the life of Sam Meffire. The son of a German mother and a Cameroonian father, Meffire became the first black policeman in Saxony, and a national advertising campaign used him as a symbol of a multicultural, integrated East Germany. But East Germany was far from integrated and life became ever more complicated for the young man. He left the police force, started a private security firm, and finally turned to crime.

A Q&A will follow the screening, moderated by Professor Lise Sanders.

Lecture: The Visible Voice – Teaching, Reading & Making Films
Tuesday November 29, 5pm at the Frost Library's CHI Think Tank (Frost 210) with a conversation and reception to follow

Okpako's much-anticipated film Return to Chibok had its world premiere at London-based film festival Film Africa in October 2022. Okpako's lecture will revolve around her process of making films and its evolution over the years. She will also share lessons from teaching filmmaking and film reading in the academic context.

"Film is a tool for interrogating one's surroundings, but its intervention is not benign and its presence has changed everything about our being” -Okpako. 

Professor Okpako will also visit Melodrama and Film Noir on 11/29 to discuss her film Tal der Ahnungslosen, for which a separate screening will be announced.


These events are free and open to all members of the 5-College community. A virtual option will also be available to 5-College community members to view the lecture on Tuesday evening. Please follow the link to sign up with your 5-college email address.

Please contact Danielle Thompson if you have any accessibility needs or questions.