Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

October 27, 2022, 5:45pm at the Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall

Presented by the Black Studies and English Departments, please join us at this event with filmmaker Johanna Giebelhaus.

Bonus Rectangle is Back! Neil "Cloaca" Young Screenings, Artist Talk, and Performance

October 24 & 25, 2022

The L.A.-based artist Neil "Cloaca" Young will be visiting Amherst between 10/24-25. He is presenting a curated film program on Monday night at Keefe Campus Center Theater, and will be giving an artist's talk in Professor Guilford's curating class on Tuesday afternoon. He will then be presenting a second screening at Hampshire College on Tuesday night, followed by a performance at the Roos-Rhode House on the HC campus.

All events are free and open to the (masked) public. Information is attached.

Theory & Practice of the Video-Essay

An International Conference on Videographic Criticism

September 22 & 23, 2022

FAMS is pleased to co-sponsor this event, hosted by the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The videographic essay is a still-emerging but swiftly evolving form.  Film scholars working in this Barthesian “third form” of critical scholarship employ the expressive power of audiovisual media for their engagements with film and film theory. This will be a two-day in-person conference addressing theory, practice, pedagogy, and future directions of this field.  It will consider submissions of videographic works, video essays, desktop films, video epigraphs, and papers. Works in progress are welcome!

The conference is free and open to the Five College community. Registration information will be posted at the website below later this summer.

Open House & Film Screening

The FAMS program welcomes first year and returning students

Wednesday, September 7, 5-6:30pm, Black Box Theater in Fayerweather

5-5:30 Welcome & Snacks - Meet FAMS faculty and majors, learn about courses and upcoming events

FAMS will provide handouts on upcoming classes, public screenings and events. Faculty and fellow students will be available to answer questions and talk more about the FAMS program.

5:30-6:10 Screening of Professor Drummer's films:

Welcome Visiting Professor Emily Drummer and enjoy a screening of her films

Field Resistance - USA | 2019 | 16 min | 16mm

Charging scenes of the present with dystopian speculation, Field Resistance blurs the boundaries between documentary filmmaking and science fiction to investigate overlooked environmental devastation in the state of Iowa. Footage collected from disparate locations—a university herbarium, karst sinkholes inhabited by primordial flora and fauna, a telecommunication tower job site, a decaying grain silo, among others—interlocks to evoke a narrative of present danger and future disaster, of plant expansion and humanity’s retreat. The film rejects the human individual as the focus of narrative cinema, and, instead, adopts the perspective of a symbiotic “implosive whole” in which humans and nonhumans are related in an overlapping, non-total way.

Histories of Simulated Intimacy - USA | 2017 | 11 min | Super 8

"Great obstacles excite great passions; since eros consists not in possession but in wanting, what could stimulate eros more than distance and especially death, itself the ultimate distance?”

-John Durham Peters, Speaking into the Air

Histories of Simulated Intimacy is a sensory essay film that investigates the gaps in time and space produced by the technological mediation of human love and desire. Roving, dismembered voices – messages left for the filmmaker by former lovers, found voice messages made on gramophone discs – hunt for image-bodies, creating a simultaneous presence and absence: a woman carried gently by the flow of a Lazy River; the undulations of a darkened, glimmering dance party; memories and traces of the once massive Iowan prairies. The film explores polarities such as public and private, nature and culture, near and far, bios and techne, producing a space in which technologies of intimacy, separated by historical measurements of time, can coalesce in perpetuity.

Behind the Torchlight - USA | 2015 | 8 min | Super 8

Behind the Torchlight emerged from a separate, academic research project about women movie-theater employees in the inter-war period. The project paid special attention to ushers, known as “usherettes” at the time, in part because I was a cinema usher myself in my late teens and early twenties, and also because I was interested in their unique relationship to cinema history as both laborers and spectators in early movie theaters. The film that emerged blends archival text, clips from the romantic comedy The Good Fairy, a newsreel from an “America’s Most Beautiful Usherette” contest, and super 8 film shot at a movie palace in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Associative editing obfuscates the boundaries between found and original materials and offers instead a sense of being and time in flux.

Time for questions and conversation will follow the screening.

More about Visiting Professor Emily Drummer

Emily Drummer is a filmmaker who uses immersive research as a starting point to investigate the dynamic between technology and the natural world. She received an MFA in Film and Video Production from the University of Iowa, a BA from Hampshire College. Drummer is a Princess Grace Film Honoraria recipient and a Flaherty Film Seminar fellow. Her work has been showcased internationally and she joins us this year to teach Foundations in Video Production, Filming the Non-Actor, and Art Under Surveillance.

Virtual Conversation with filmmakers Roberto Romero and Carolina Canguçu on the Indigenous visual cartography of This Land is our Land!

virtual event

Co-directors of NŨHŨ YÃGMŨ YÕG HÃM: This Land is our Land!, Roberto Romero and Carolina Canguçui along with Brazilian indigenous filmmakers Isael and Sueli Maxakali and their collaborators created a unique and multilayered indigenous visual cartography. The film shifts across multiple forms, combining mourning practices, rituals, and chanting, with interviews and observational material to create a study of white violence that reminds us of the urgency of seeing beyond the western gaze. Sharing their complex understanding of physical, historical, and mythological space through the film’s form, the filmmakers chart a hypnotic journey that acts as a manifesto against all kinds of borders, those that divide nations and those that demarcate land. Farmers in the area may have violently taken their land, but this has not silenced them, as is shown by this film with its tender yet boldly confrontational gaze.

On Wednesday May 4th from 8:30AM-9:50AM, filmmakers Roberto Romero and Carolina Canguçu will discuss cinema as Indigenous visual cartography in the making of NŨHŨ YÃGMŨ YÕG HÃM: This Land is our Land!. If you would like to attend this virtual conversation, please email; a recording will also be made available for the Amherst community. 

Virtual Conversation with Jordan Lord on disability justice and accessible filmmaking - *CANCELED, WILL BE RESCHEDULED, STAND BY FOR UPDATES!*

virtual event

An artist, filmmaker, and writer, Jordan Lord’s work concerns the conditions of disability and access, and legacies of debt and neglect under capitalism. Integrating audio description to refract the perspectives of the people on camera and using both captions and their own body to delimit what parts of each image are shown, their films consider how access renders and interrupts standard aesthetic, social, and institutional protocols. In Shared Resources (2020), pictured here, Lord observes how they and their family are caught up in various financial, legal and medical apparatuses––and how these apparatuses get involved with practices of documentary filmmaking. The film reflects on how disability and debt both break open and intimately contract the frames placed on dependency and care. In their conversation on Wednesday, April 27th from 8:30 am to 9:50 am, Lord will discuss disability justice and accessible filmmaking as an abolitionist practice of care. If you would like to attend this virtual conversation, please email; a recording will also be made available for the Amherst community. 

Virtual Conversation with filmmaker Brett Story on cinema as a practice of abolitionist geography

virtual event

 In the United States there are 2.2 million people in prison, up from only 300,000 forty years ago, yet for most Americans, prisons have never felt more distant or more out of sight. A cinematic journey through a series of seemingly ordinary American landscapes (from a California mountainside where female prisoners fight raging wildfires, to a Bronx warehouse with goods destined for the state correctional system, to a rural Kentucky mining town that now depends on the local penitentiary for jobs), Brett Story's The Prison in Twelve Landscapes excavates the hidden world of the modern prison system and explores lives outside the gates affected by prisons.

On April 6th from 8:30-9:50 AM, Brett Story (director of The Prison in Twelve Landscapes) will discuss cinema as a practice of abolitionist geography, and what it means to document the prison at a time of its disappearance from the field of vision. If you would like to attend this virtual conversation, please email; a recording will also be made available for the Amherst community. 

Virtual Lecture by media scholar Joshua Glick on the rise of deepfakes, disinformation, and civic uses of synthetic media

virtual event

Dr. Joshua Glick is the Isabelle Peregrin Assistant Professor of English, Film & Media Studies at Hendrix College and a Fellow at the Open Documentary Lab at MIT. Glick's research and teaching explore global documentary, critical race studies, television, early cinema, emerging media, and Hollywood as an evolving form of industrial and artistic production. His articles have appeared in such journals as  Film History, Immerse, Jump Cut, Film Quarterly,  The Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Moving Image, and the  Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. His book,  Los Angeles Documentary and the Production of Public History, 1958-1977 (University of California Press, 2018) was selected as a finalist for the Richard Wall Memorial Award from the Theatre Library Association. Dr. Glick also works actively in the public humanities. In collaboration with the Center for Advanced Virtuality at MIT, he recently designed the interactive online curriculum, "Media Literacy in the Age of Deepfakes." He co-curated an exhibition currently on view at the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC: "Deepfake: Unstable Evidence on Screen." 

On Monday, April 18th from 1:30 - 2:50pm, Joshua Glick will discuss the past and present of media manipulation, the rise of deepfakes, and the civic uses of synthetic media. If you would like to attend this virtual conversation, please email; a recording will also be made available for the Amherst community. 

Helene Keyssar Distinguished Lecture in Film and Media Studies: "Filmmaking in the Wake: Found Footage, Found Sound, and Black Nostalgia."

Christopher Harris, F. Wendell Miller Associate Professor and Head of Film and Video Production at University of Iowa

Christopher Harris is a filmmaker whose films and video installations read African American historiography through the poetics and aesthetics of experimental cinema. His work employs manually and photo-chemically altered appropriated moving images, staged re-enactments of archival artifacts and interrogations of documentary conventions. His current project is a series of optically-printed 16mm experimental films in conversation with canonical works of African-American literature.

On March 25th at 3:00pm in the Stirn Auditorium, Harris will deliver the 2022 Kessar Lecture. Moderated Q&A and a reception will follow and livestreaming will be available.

Talk Description

How can we rethink obsolescence, historical context and perhaps even nostalgia in regard to Black cinematic practices employing analog found footage? In this talk, Christopher Harris will discuss his bricolage filmmaking practice that remixes and mismatches source materials drawn from the detritus of visual and sonic cultures. Highlighting the ways in which he juxtaposes and layers free floating sound/image fragments as an act of refusal, Harris will explain how his films resist what Sylvia Wynter describes as the “narratively condemned status” so insistently imposed upon the Black diaspora by the absences and silences of the archive. As Harris puts it, his films meet the epistemic violence of the archive on its own terms, matching it silence for silence, rupture for rupture, and gap for gap.

Film Screening

On March 24th at 5:00pm in the Keefe Campus Theater, Harris will screen his landmark film still/here (2000, 60 mins, shot on 16mm), a stunning meditation on urban ruin and extraction in the predominantly African-American northern St. Louis, along with two other short films.

Further details are available on our Keyssar Lecture Series page.

Image from still/here (image description: low angle black and white shot of the front of a movie theater. The marquee is falling apart, but the sign remains intact: CRITERION).

Małni – Towards the ocean, Towards the Shore

A Viewing Opportunity and Livestreamed Q&A

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival

Available for streaming on Sparq through April 28, MMFF invites you to watch the film and join for a livestream Q&A with Sky Hopinka together with Jacqueline Urla and Laura McGough, which will take place Wednesday, March 9 at 7:30pm on Facebook and YouTube.

Małni – Towards the ocean, Towards the Shore the debut feature film by Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga) follows Sweetwater Sahme and Jordan Mercier as they wander through nature and the spirit world, contemplating their afterlife, rebirth, and death. Spoken mostly in chinuk wawa, this experimental documentary offers a poetic inquiry into the death myth of the Chinookan people in the Pacific Northwest. Hopinka’s signature lush visual imagery and captivating sound design combine to create a portrait of the natural world and its cycles of life and death. (2020, Sky Hopinka, USA, 82 min, in English and Chinuk Wawa w/ English subtitles)

Click here to watch the film.

Click either platform to livestream the Q&A: Facebook or YouTube.

We See as We Made: 16MM Films from France and Not

Catherine Bauer and Loic Verdiillon of MTK Grenoble Film Archive

L’Atelier MTK is an artisan cinematographic laboratory  founded in 1992 by an group of filmmakers.  It is equipped to work with 16mm black and white and color film stock, offering both an introduction to and an education in lab techniques in order to provide filmmakers with the necessary independence to make their own films. The lab should be considered like a playground – like a phase with creative potential, to be questioned at will, without any previously established preoccupations.

In the Keefe Campus Theater at 7:00 pm on Monday the 21st (President's Day), Cat and Loic will  demonstrate and discuss the intricacies of 16 MM film.

Five College Student Film and Video Festival

Student films in competition

Founded in 1994, the Five College Student Film and Video Festival is an annual event featuring original films and videos by Five College students. Sponsored by the Five College Film Council and evaluated by a jury of students and faculty members from each campus, the festival annually features selected works and gives out awards. Amherst College's own Grace Cates and Anniyah Rawlins will be on the 2022 Judges' Panel!

The festival will be held virtually on the weekend of March 26th and 27th. 

Visit the Five College Film Festival Web Page for more information

If you have any questions please feel free to email or contact the Student Director Amparo Saubidet at

Five College Film and Media Studies Undergraduate Conference

virtual event

The 5C Film and Media Studies Undergraduate Conference is designed to build community among students studying film and media on each of the five campuses, to give our most engaged students an opportunity to hone their presentation skills, and to allow them to  share insights from their work with a wider audience. Participants will each give a 15-minute  presentation as part of a panel with 2-3 fellow students working on related themes. Coordinated in 2022 by Professors Josh Guilford of Amherst College and Jen Malkowski of Smith College. 

A link to program and registration can be found here: program

A link to registration can be found here: registration

FAMS Open House and Senior Capstone Symposium 2022 *Virtual*

Come celebrate the creative and critical work of our amazing senior FAMS majors!

Friday, March 4th, from 11AM-3:15PM on Zoom. Each of the nine graduating seniors in Film and Media Studies will present fifteen-minute talks showcasing their films and research.

The FAMS Program presents three panel presentations showcasing the creative and critical work of FAMS Seniors. Friends, family, majors, premajors: all are welcome! FAMS majors: we hope you will come support our graduating seniors! Prospective majors: we invite you to stay after to chat with FAMS professors and current majors about the program, major & events.

A program of panels and speakers can be found: here.

The zoom link to attend the event can be found: here.

Featured Article

Still from Milagroso Azul (Miracle Blue) by Joyzel Acevedo '15
Still from Milagroso Azul (Miracle Blue) by Joyzel Acevedo '15

Political yet Personal: Student Documentaries Explore Torture and Immigration

A former military police officer attempts to reconcile his love for music with the memory of hearing it used as a weapon while stationed at Guantanamo Bay. An immigrant family from Cuba mourns the loss of their wife / mother / grandmother thousands of miles from the place they know as home. These are the real stories behind two documentaries filmed, edited and produced by Ashley Blasczyk '15 and Joyzel Acevedo '15 as part of their Film and Media Studies senior thesis projects.

Read more