Film dept. announces summer FSP in Scotland
By Gavin Huang, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Students who travel to Edinburgh, Scotland, on the first-ever film and media studies Foreign Study Program during Summer 2012 will have the chance to attend the Edinburgh International Film Festival, collaborate with local bands to make a music video and learn about production techniques at “the state-of-the-art” Screen Academy Scotland, according to film and media studies professor Jeffrey Ruoff, who serves as the director of the FSP.
Students will take production courses at the Screen Academy Scotland and will be taught by Academy staff in music video production and digital cinematography, according to Ruoff. The 16 students who will be selected for the program will live in shared apartments at the University of Edinburgh.
“I started attending film festivals in 2004 and it occurred to me that it would be fun to attend a festival with a group of students,” Ruoff said. “And then it occurred to me that I could try to structure a Foreign Study Program around attending a festival.”
The music video production course will introduce students to the process of writing and producing music videos while they work in groups to create low-budget videos for local bands.
“Working with local bands would be a way to interface directly with the contemporary music scene in Edinburgh,” Ruoff said. “That seems feasible based on my discussions with the director at the Screen Academy Scotland.”
Students will research musicians in Edinburgh prior to attending the program, and directors at the Academy will aid them in contacting local bands. Ruoff said the course on cinematography will supplement the students’ music video work as they examine aesthetics and learn how to shoot digital video using a variety of cameras and formats.
In addition to hands-on production courses, Ruoff — drawing from his research in the comparative history of film festivals — will teach a course that will take advantage of the program’s setting at the Edinburgh Film Festival, he said. The class will include guest lectures by current and former festival directors and programmers, and students will write assignments on films shown, according to Ruoff.
Ruoff said he began planning the FSP in 2008 after attending the Edinburgh Film Festival and meeting with faculty at the Screen Academy Scotland. Ruoff said he considered different film festivals where he could possibly host the program, including France’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival, but ultimately settled on Edinburgh.
“Logistically, Cannes would have been complicated and expensive,” Ruoff said.
The Edinburgh Film Festival was the more feasible option, while still remaining an attractive offering as one of the world’s oldest and most dynamic film festivals, according to Ruoff.
Ruoff submitted the proposal to Off-Campus Programs committees in 2009 and the program was approved in 2010, he said. Ruoff said he hopes students will take advantage of Edinburgh’s position as “a world capital in the arts.”
There are no plans yet to offer the program again in the future, according to Ruoff. However, some recurring programs — like the Portuguese FSP — began as temporary programs, according to Director of Off-Campus Programs John Tansey.
“Some programs started as alternate-year programs running every other year,” Tansey said. “But over time, based on student demand and enrollment, those programs have transitioned into annual programs.”
Film students have already expressed interest in the program, according to Ruoff. Eddie Zapata ’14 said he hopes that Ruoff and other professors will publicize the program and provide more information about the application process and the coursework that will be offered.
“Going to another country to explore and study film would be better than taking film courses on-campus,” Zapata said. “It’s so rare to find opportunities like these to help advance in film.”