Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title AMERICAN INDEPENDENT CINEMA
Code COMM316
Coordinator Dr I Tzioumakis
Communication and Media
Y.Tzioumakis@liverpool.ac.uk
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2020-21 Level 6 FHEQ First Semester 15

Aims

To examine the ways in which American independent cinema represents a distinct mode of filmmaking from mainstream Hollywood by exploring the industrial and economic conditions that have given birth to independent films, especially in the post-1980 period.   To examine the ways in which American independent cinema represents a distinct mode of filmmaking from mainstream Hollywood by exploring the aesthetic choices and representational strategies filmmakers of independent films have made and how those might differ from choices and strategies associated with dominant aesthetic and representational regimes.   To examine the ways in which American independent cinema represents a distinct mode of filmmaking from mainstream Hollywood by exploring the relationship of a number of independent films to broader social, cultural, political and ideological landscapes such as Reaganite politics, the politics of counter-culture, racial and gender politics, etc.  


Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will demonstrate an understanding of the debates that have surrounded the concept of independence in American cinema.

(LO2) Students will demonstrate an understanding of the manner in which independent film has been mobilised to respond to particular economic and social-cultural changes in the United States.

(LO3) Students will be able to identify the key aesthetic choices employed in a number of such films and the ways in which they differ from dominant regimes of representation.

(LO4) Students will be able to understand American independent cinema as an industrial product determined by a specific mode of production and circulation/distribution.

(S1) Commercial awareness.

(S2) Problem solving skills.

(S3) Teamwork.

(S4) Organisational skills.

(S5) Communication skills.

(S6) IT skills.


Syllabus

 

American independent cinema: problems of definition.

Early declarations of independence (1) Outside Hollywood.

Early declarations of independence (2) Trends within Hollywood.

The beginnings of contemporary independence: against the Conservatism of the New Right.

The independent auteur.

African American independent film.

Mini-majors, major independents, classics divisions and specialty labels.

From independent to “Indie”: the rise of the Sundance Film Festival.

The Miramax factor.

The “Independent Blockbuster” and the emergence of Indiewood.

American independent cinema in the age of digital reproduction.

Module conclusion: does American independent cinema exist?


Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture
Description: Introduces key concepts such as problems of defining independence; various articulations and discourses of independence, independent film and industry, etc. It also introduces a screening every week that illustrates the lecture and provides a shared frame of reference for analysis and group discussion. For 2020-21 lectures will be provided online asynchronously.
Attendance Recorded: No

Teaching Method 2 - Seminar
Description: It seeks students responses to issues raised by the screening as well as from 2 key readings minimum each week. A seminar sheet with questions about the screening and the readings is circulated in advance. Seminars will take place on line but synchronously through MS Teams or Zoom.
Attendance Recorded: Yes
Notes: Seminars encourage discussion around weekly screening and readings

Teaching Method 3 - Demonstration
Description: There is no choice for Screenings in the menu - every week there is a screening of a key independent film which is then discussed in the seminar. Screenings will take place on line as all the films screened as part of the module are available on YouTube, Box of Broadcasting, and Kanopy.
Attendance Recorded: Not yet decided
Notes: 2 hours per week (12 weeks) will be office hours for students registered for this module


Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 12

12

      24

48
Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 102
TOTAL HOURS 150

Assessment

EXAM Duration Timing
(Semester)
% of
final
mark
Resit/resubmission
opportunity
Penalty for late
submission
Notes
Written Exam Assessment Schedule (When): End of semester 1  120 minutes.    70       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
(Semester)
% of
final
mark
Resit/resubmission
opportunity
Penalty for late
submission
Notes
Screening and Reading Group Comprehension Test Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is not an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When): throughout the module  2000 words    30       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at readinglists.liverpool.ac.uk. Click here to access the reading lists for this module.