Cinematic Arts Newsletter

The Conversations that Connect Us

By Chris Goetz, Assistant Professor of Film Studies

Cinematic Arts is a focal point of intellectual activity in a campus community dedicated to sharing exciting new research and creative work in the arts and humanities. This year, the Cinematic Arts Colloquium, a wide-ranging speaker series hosted by the Department of Cinematic Arts, invited a full roster of speakers from a range of disciplines.

These speakers shared their work to an auditorium of students, faculty, and community members both within the department and across campus. Not only does the Colloquium connect us with our film and media-related neighbors on campus, but it establishes film’s own presence and continued relevance in other disciplines. Moreover, for the students who attend, it is valuable practice at engaging speakers in an in-person, academic forum.

Part of what is unique about Cinematic Arts is the integration of film and video production with critical film studies. And the colloquium this year thrived off that connection, with special emphasis on the work of critically engaged artists from across disciplines.

Jean-Francois Charles presents The Eleventh Year (Dziga Vertov, 1928)
Jean-Francois Charles presents The Eleventh Year
(Dziga Vertov, 1928)

Jean-Francois Charles, composer, clarinetist, live electronics designer, and Assistant Professor of Digital Arts and Composition at UIowa's School of Music debuted a collaboratively written and performed cinematic score for a rarely seen Dziga Vertov film, The Eleventh Year (1928, one year before his more famous Man With a Movie Camera). Colloquium participants screened the film with the new score, listened intently to Charles' behind-the-scenes account of its production, and engaged actively in a Q&A that ranged from technical to theoretical and historical questions about the relation between score and film.

Peter Chanthanakone presents 15 films in 15 years
Peter Chanthanakone presents 15 films in 15 years

In a radical departure from silent Soviet documentary filmmaking, Associate Professor in Animation at UIowa's School of Art & Art History, Peter Chanthanakone, followed Prof. Charles in a presentation of his own experimental computer animations at the Colloquium. An award-winning animation artist and director, Chanthanakone first screened a selection of his short films and then explained the technical and material challenges facing computer animators more generally. The Q&A revealed more of the labor that goes into computer animation, which helped connect the deliberately rough aesthetic of Chanthanakone's work with the polished images from big-budget commercial studios like Pixar.

 Video and Digital Media in Live Performance
Daniel Fine presents Alternative Screens: Video and
Digital Media in Live Performance

In a presentation that took advantage of the colloquium's flexible format, Daniel Fine--Assistant Professor of Digital Media in Performance in the Department of Theater Arts, Dance, and the Public Arts Cluster--delivered a collaborative and interactive Colloquium performance. Fine transformed the Adler Journalism Building auditorium with the use of side-wall projectors and interactive software for displaying messages from the audience in real time. Fine also discussed past installation work, which explores and blurs the lines between theatrical, cinematic, and new digital storytelling techniques.

Mike Gibisser's World of Facts, (2017)
Mike Gibisser's World of Facts, (2017)

The year was rounded out by our own Mike Gibisser, Assistant Professor of Film & Video Production, Dept. of Cinematic Arts and the Public Digital Arts Cluster. Gibisser screened a preview of his recent film, World of Facts, about two sisters who return to their Midwestern hometown after a family tragedy. World of Facts is a minimalist character study that explores the simultaneously mundane and dreamlike experience of living day to day amidst the heightened time of mourning. Gibisser discussed his filmmaking practices in a productive Q&A that ranged in topic from the physiognomy of his actors to his creative influences. Cinematic Arts Colloquium will return next year and is free and open to the public. We look forward to offering these exciting presentations and conversations to our students, faculty, and broader community.  

Other articles in this Newsletter

  • Current and former Cinematic Arts Ph.D. students and faculty at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference in Ch

    I am pleased to be able to share with you our CAN issue #2 for Summer 2017. It's been another incredibly busy and rewarding year which I hope you will enjoy reading about in the following pages.

  • Headroom

    The Headroom Screening Series finished another successful season of programming, which included fruitful collaborations with the new student-group, Vertical Cinema, as well as the Iowa City International Documentary Film Festival (IC DOCS). 

  • The Skies the Limit for New Student Organization

    Vertical Cinema's inaugural year was a tremendous success. We started out the first semester by collaborating with the Headroom Screening Series to bring filmmaker Christopher Harris and curator and archivist Ruth Hodgins to campus. 

  • The Iowa City International Documentary Film Festival

    The Iowa City International Documentary Film Festival returned to Iowa City this spring with 70 films and videos from across the globe screened between FilmScene, Adler Journalism Building, and RADInc, April 20-22.

  • Graduate students in Film Studies at the University of Iowa have an impressive track record earning prestigious grants and awards to support their research, and the past year was no exception. 

  • MFA Students in Film and Video Production in the Department of Cinematic Arts continued to impress us all with their accolades and accomplishments.

  • Director Clay Tweel and producer Mary Rohlich shared their filmmaking expertise with Cinematic Arts students during a Q&A on Friday, August 26, 2016

  • Former faculty and film studies graduates catching up at SCMS. From L to R: Kathy Morrow, Mike Slowik, Steve Choe, Jon Crylen, a

    It was another year of active participation by faculty and graduate students from Cinematic Arts at the annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), held in Chicago this March. 

  • Patrick Jagoda, Associate Professor of English and Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, was invited to present his recent work on experimental videogames.

  • Students from Bettendorf Middle School, and Mike Gibisser

    This year we were especially happy to participate in a new outreach initiative in which our undergraduate and graduate students judged the short fiction and nonfiction films made by a group of Bettendorf Middle School Students. 

  • On Friday, November 11th, 2016 Camden Kent attended an event entitled "Blazing a Trail West: How Two Iowa Law Grads Became Big Names in California Entertainment Law."