Cinematic Arts Newsletter

Letter from the Chair

Paula AhmadBy: Paula Amad, Associate Professor and Chair

Dear Friends of the Department of Cinematic Arts,

Welcome to our CAN issue #3 for Summer 2018.  It's always a pleasure to share some highlights of the past year with our Cinematic Arts community.

We are proud to be a Department that is committed to promoting cinema as a bold and innovative art form that makes us think, feel, and act like no other medium can. Supplementing our core mission of research and teaching, we hosted a rich array of provocative talks and film screenings by artists, industry professionals, and scholars. Three notable events of the year were the visits by David Conley, University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ alumni awardee and Special Effects producer at Weta Digital, one of the world’s leading effects companies; world-renowned experimental filmmaker and Ida Beam Visiting Professor Bill Morrison who screened his latest award-winning documentary Dawson City: Frozen in Time; and UI alumni screenwriters and filmmakers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods who shared valuable career advice and backstory news on their hit horror film A Quiet Place.  In addition, our students benefited from a fascinating Q & A with production designer Hannah Beachler (Black Panther) and UI Lecture Committee visit by UI alumni director Joe Russo (Avengers: Infinity War).  As you can imagine, it was hugely inspiring to our students that two of the top grossing films for Spring 2018 were directed or written by UI alumni.  These events and others, spanning the spectrum from art cinema and creative documentaries to Hollywood blockbusters, not only expand the cinematic landscape of our students but also feed the cinema appetites of the broader community who we always welcome to such events.

We are also extremely proud of all the faculty and student accomplishments of the past year.  We were thrilled to start the year off by welcoming a new faculty member Associate Professor Christopher Harris to the department as the Head of Film and Video Production; and we will be just as excited this Fall to welcome Assistant Professor Anahita Gazvinizadeh, a filmmaker and screenwriter, whose works have already been winning prizes at Cannes, the most prestigious film festival in the world.

We hope you enjoy reading the issue, and, as always, please feel free to contact me with any feedback or suggestions.

Wishing everyone a great summer!


Paula Amad