Film Studies

Film history, genre, theory, and criticism

Photo of associate professor Kwakiutl Dreher speaking about the shortfilm ANNA

Craig Chandler, University Communications

The Film Studies Program in the Department of English at UNL spans multiple disciplines and offers an undergraduate major and minor as well as graduate work. The program aims to present the world of cinema in all its diverse forms—from the classical period to the contemporary moment, from Hollywood cinema to international traditions, and from a variety of historical, aesthetic, and critical approaches. We strive for our students to better understand the histories of cinema, to interpret the myriad films constituting these histories in more complex ways, to make film culture part of their lives as engaged citizens, and even to potentially create films of their own.

In this context, imaginative reasoning is crucial to our pedagogy, as we seek to teach students how to view and think about films not only from one’s own, culturally-situated, perspective but also and especially from the perspective of those who made the films and the cultures that informed them. Doing so requires that we employ empathetic understanding.

By training students in their ability to imagine with empathy why a given film was made, how it might have been viewed by its intended original audience, and what effects it might have had and still has on others whose experiences differ from ours, our Film Studies courses directly contribute to fostering the Department of English’s core values of engaging with a broad array of real and imagined communities and thereby, we hope, inspire students to affirm diversity, embrace the need to fight for social justice, and instill a desire for civic engagement.

Why Film Studies?

Film Studies is the exploration of film through cultural, theoretical, historical and critical lenses. Film history, genre, theory, and criticism help us investigate film as an art form, as popular culture, and as a major medium of communication.

Careers in Film Studies

Students who major in Film Studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln have gone on to succeed in numerous areas related to cinema. Here are just a few of those achievements:

  • Senior Vice President, Marketing, Disney Channels Worldwide
  • Assistant Dean, William Smith College
  • Assistant Professor, Tenure Track, London School of Economics
  • Librarian, UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center
  • Production Manager, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures
  • Student Films Presented at Cannes Film Festival
  • Film Director, feature film – Bota (entry for Best Foreign Language Film, 88th Academy Awards)
  • Special Effects CGI Director for Steven Spielberg
  • Screenwriting for film and television
  • Associate Professor of Film Studies, York College
  • Associate Professor, Department of English and Center for Mexican American Studies, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Film Archivist, UCLA Film and TV Archive
  • Graduate School, Columbia University, New York
  • Location Director for television series – Shots Fired and Outcast on Fox and Cinemax
  • CEO, Far From Everything Films – feature film production, Beast No More
  • Producer of feature film, Lords of Dogtown
  • Producer, Grindstone Entertainment, Lionsgate subsid.– 43 feature films to date
  • Sound Mixer
  • Assistant Director
  • Tenured Full Professor, Queen’s College, NY
  • Entertainment Reporter, Omaha World Herald
  • Columnist, Omaha World Herald