LS 819: Filmed in the City

Spring 2018  | Dr. Helen Hok-Sze Leung

Course Description

This course introduces students to an interdisciplinary exploration of the urban impact of filmmaking as an art form, a transmedia platform, a creative industry, and a form of transnational cultural production. We will focus on “minor” filmmaking cities —with a special emphasis on Vancouver — that are located on the periphery of hegemonic production sites like Hollywood and, increasingly, Beijing. We will study the aesthetics of representing (or disguising) a city on screen; the impact of film production on a city’s cultural and economic life; as well as the transnational flows that result from a city’s participation in global film production.  The course will address a central challenge faced by minor film cultures in their push towards transnationalization: how to balance between the preservation of local cultural character with the aspiration for global relevance.

Course Assessment

  • Attendance & Participation 20%
  • Academic Literature Review 40%
  • Final Research Project  40%

Assignment Description

Attendance & Participation: The attendance and participation grade reflects the punctuality and regularity of your class attendance, your degree of preparedness and involvement during class discussion, and your contribution to the learning environment.

Academic Literature Review:  A 4-5 page literature review of scholarly literature on three different critical approaches to studying filmmaking. More details will be given in class.

Final Research Project: A final project that involves both original and secondary research. It can take the form of (1) an academic research paper; (2) a creative project with a 2-3 page artist statement; (3) a professional project with a 2-3 page industry pitch. More details will be given in class.

Selected Course readings: (Subject to change. Final reading list will be available by Fall, 2017)

  • Françcoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih, Minor Transnationalism (excerpts)
  • George Melnyk, Film & The City: The Urban Imaginary in Canadian Cinema (excerpts)
  • Fraçois Penz and Andong Lu, eds, Urban Cinematics: Understanding Urban Phenomena Through The Moving Image (excerpts)
  • Mike Gasher, Hollywood North: The Feature Film Industry In British Columbia (excerpts)
  • Rachel Walls, ed, World Film Locations: Vancouver (excerpts)
  • Serra Tinic, “Hollywood Elsewhere: The Runaway Locations Industry and Transnational Production Cultures.”
  • Michael Curtin, ‘Media Capital: Towards The Study of Spatial Flows”
  • Vanessa Mathews, “Set Appeal: Film Space and Urban Redevelopment”
  • Audrey Yue, “Film-Induced Domestic Tourism in Singapore: The Case of Krrish”
  • Deborah Jones and Karen Smith, Middle-earth Meets New Zealand: “Authenticity and Location in the Making of The Lord of the Rings*
  • Helen Hok-Sze Leung, ““Hollywood North, Asiawood West: Vancouver as a Transpacific Film Location.”