Fall 2020 - CA 130 D200

Fundamentals of Film (4)

Class Number: 8858

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    Prior approval through formal application.



Introduces students to the basic components of filmmaking through lectures, film screenings and creative projects in the various media that combine to form cinema. A laboratory fee is required. Students should be advised that course activities may require additional costs. Students who have completed CA (or FPA) 132, 133, 134 or 230 may not take this course for further credit. Students with credit for FPA 130 may not take this course for further credit.


This course offers a broad-based introduction to the rudiments of film production in preparation for more advanced production courses. We will begin with the question "what is cinema?" and proceed to investigate that question through a series of lectures, discussions, screenings, exercises and assignments. Throughout the course, we will be exploring the creative potential of camera, lighting, editing and directorial strategies with a particular emphasis on challenging preconceived notions of film aesthetic and approaches to film production. The assignments will stress research, constraints-exploitation, pre-production planning and collaboration. Each student will be required to produce a short non-sync-sound film based on an original idea of their own choosing.


  • Silent CinĂ©-Roman 15%
  • Short Non-Sync-Sound Film 25%
  • Filmmaker Journal 15%
  • Collaborative Work on Other Films 10%
  • Weekly Screenings/Presentations of Work in Progress 15%
  • Participation 20%


Required Technology

  • A camera capable of shooting high-resolution moving images
  • A personal computing device (laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone) with high-speed Internet connection, video camera, microphone and headphones suitable for videoconferencing and capable of running the free Zoom application (downloadable at: https://zoom.us/download) as well as any basic NLE application

N.B. If you are unable to meet one or more of the technology requirements, please contact the course instructor for possible alternative arrangements




The Visual Story; 3rd edition, by Bruce Block
ISBN: 9781138014152


Why Art Cannot Be Taught: A Handbook for Art Students; by James Elkins
ISBN: 9780252069505

The Filmmaker's Handbook; by Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus
ISBN: 9780452297289

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).