Exploring Opportunities within the World Cinema Program
Clemson’s Bachelor of Arts degree programs offer many opportunities for both students and faculty at the university. While the English department is widely known for its student engagement outside of the classroom and interesting courses, there are other programs similar to English that may interest students.
Seven years ago, Clemson introduced the World Cinema degree program, which has grown to include over 40 students and an array of classes and organizations that allow students to learn more about cinematic culture. Dr. John Smith, the program’s interim director for World Cinema, works to create more chances for students to learn about film.
Smith’s interest in cinema began at a young age and continued to grow
throughout his studies. He received his degrees from Furman University, Emory University and Boston University after growing up in Atlanta. Smith says that his understanding of cinema was shaped by the different cultures of these cities. The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Mass. was just one of his most frequented theatres and favorite spots where he learned a lot about film. Smith became involved with the World Cinema program at Clemson in 2017. When asked about the program, Smith described it as interdisciplinary. His students have used the skills they learned through the program to pursue various career paths, such as writing for film and television and attending law school at American University.
Aside from his success as the World Cinema program’s interim director, Smith is very involved with creating unique coursework and events for his students. He is currently teaching two courses, Great Directors and Film Genres, both of which are English classes offered to students who have taken Introduction to Film.
His current project is planning Clemson’s first 35mm film screenings. The two film screenings of “In a Lonely Place” (Dir. Nicholas Ray, 1950) and “Bamboozled” (Dir. Spike Lee, 2000) will give students a chance to experience Clemson’s new 35mm projector. The projector is thought to bring new life to a movie with the texture of the film and the crackling of the track. Smith encourages students to come to the screenings and learn more about this film experience.
Although World Cinema is a fairly new major, it has already grown to include great opportunities for students seeking experience related to the film industry. Liz Roberts, a senior World Cinema major, speaks highly of her time at Clemson and what impact studying film has had on her collegiate career.
After doing theatre throughout high school, Roberts wanted to continue to explore this passion and become more involved with film. During her sophomore year, Roberts took her first Introduction to Film class with Smith, saying that the course “exposed her to a new world of thought.” She was able to engage in really interesting discussions about film that contributed to furthering her involvement in World Cinema.
Since Roberts began her studies, she has become involved with many different opportunities, including the Clemson Film Club and running the Clemson World Cinema Instagram. She is currently serving as the secretary of the Clemson Film Club. Roberts has also acted in some of the organization’s short films and co-written recent projects. She is responsible for creating content for the World Cinema Instagram as the co-lead. They have created social media series about holiday-related films, misconceptions about the major and other informational posts. Her extracurricular involvement and coursework, including her creative writing minor, have allowed her to explore what Clemson has to offer and what is possible for Roberts after she graduates this May. The link to the World Cinema Instagram can be found here, https://www.instagram.com/cu_worldcinema/.
Even though the World Cinema program is relatively new, it has received tremendous support from the university, especially the English department. Faculty members within the English department have been supportive of events like the Campus Movie Fest and Smith’s upcoming screenings, as well as helping the program grow by encouraging students to pursue world cinema courses.
The 35mm film screenings of “In a Lonely Place” and “Bamboozled” are the first of many that Smith hopes to plan at Clemson to generate more interest in film throughout the community. The screenings will be taking place on Oct. 4 and 5 in the Mckissick Theatre, located inside of the Hendrix Student Center. Smith encourages everyone to attend and experience what film is all about!
Written by: Chandler Brown