Film Studies at Western

Discover the art of cinema at Western

For four decades, Western University has offered programs in Film Studies. Our courses invite students to critically engage with the art of cinema, and to explore the global and historical conditions that have made cinema one of the most influential forms of visual culture. Our students develop strong skills in critical thinking shaped by contemporary, interdisciplinary scholarship.

One of the more interdisciplinary of Arts and Humanities disciplines, Film Studies developed out of English Studies, Visual Arts, and Modern Languages departments alongside the reciprocal influence of Cultural Studies and the understanding that cinema plays an increasingly significant and vital role in forging citizen subjects. The Film Studies Department’s course design engages film’s relationships to other media and a range of cinema-going communities. Historically, the medium of film has functioned as an art form and a set of industries, but also as one node of a larger (audio) visual mediascape. Film Studies does more than navigate complex boundaries of disciplinary and interdisciplinary methodologies and concerns. 

We focus on film’s historical and aesthetic specificity while also exploring in depth the medium’s intricate connections to other kinds of media past and present, such as magic lanterns, photography, radio, television and digital technologies. At both graduate and undergraduate levels this work is grounded in the study of a globalized political economy of production and distribution of national, transnational, regional, postcolonial and diasporic cinemas structured by notions of gender, sexuality, class, and race. Film Studies at Western traverses a varied and dynamic terrain from local film cultures to global blockbusters with stops in the avant garde, documentary, auteur and genre studies.

One unique element of our program is the opportunity to test film theory with practice in production courses and courses with production components. Film Studies provides rigorous training in decoding a world mediated through images but just as importantly offers opportunities for student self-expression and the re-presentation of the world they live in through their own production and exhibition of film and media projects.