Art, Performance & Cinema Studies

Art, Performance & Cinema Studies is the only BA at SFU that studies the fine and performing arts, with a focus on visual culture. In the first two years, Art, Performance & Cinema Studies students gain a grounding in the history of visual art, cinema, studio art, and, if they wish, the performing arts. Upper-year courses include critical theory, historical and thematic topics in visual culture, a course in performance studies, interdisciplinary research methods, curating, and a popular internship course.

Art, Performance & Cinema Studies prepares students for careers in the arts. Our alumni include arts writers, arts administrators, curators, film programmers, and practicing artists. The degree also prepares students for a number of graduate degrees. Our alumni have taken MA and PhD degrees in Visual Art, Cultural Studies, Performance Studies, Critical and Curatorial Studies, English, Liberal Studies, Theory, Culture, and Politics, Library Science, and other degrees.

For information about applying to the program, please follow the links at the Future Students section of our site.

Program Information

To discuss Art, Performance & Cinema Studies courses or a major or minor in the area, contact Professor Denise Oleksijczuk, the Art, Performance & Cinema Studies area coordinator.

P: 778.782.3238

To see detailed descriptions of the program options in the Art, Performance & Cinema Studies area, please visit the Academic Calender.

The Comparative Media Arts Journal (CMA Journal)

The CMA Journal is a newly established open-access, student-run, peer-reviewed journal, publishing the best of graduate and postgraduate essays, artworks and experimental content, created and run by MA students.



The parallel comparison between ‘two sides of the hole’ and ‘two sides of cinematic experience. Image: Qiui Wu.

Spring 2018 Catalogue

Dossier: New Approaches in Moving-Image Studies
Compiled by Laura U. Marks

I'm delighted to present the best essays from an especially thrilling semester. Powerful writing, original insights!

David Avelino's "Vision in the Desiring-Machine" beautifully analyzes the disruptive, intense, and queer desiring-image (after Gilles Deleuze and Nick Davis) in Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice, and Derek Jarman's Blue, perceptively accounting for how the film’s materiality takes part in the diffuseness of  desire.

Sarah Bakke, in "This is the Revelatory Costume: Surface, Texture, and Authentic Self," writes with great perception on the performative power of surfaces and interfaces, as well as the power of people to perform their desired selves into being (drawing on Giuliana Bruno and Ilona Hongisto), in Albert and David Maysles’ Grey Gardens and Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine.

Bijan Karim, in "Cinema of Process," offers a manifesto for process cinema (drawing on a forthcoming essay by me), articulately arguing that life is process and film can show it, with a sensitive formal analysis of Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust.

Riley O'Neill's "Liquid, Not Gas: The Tangible Reflections of Guadalcanal Requiem" evocatively analyzes Nam June Paik’s collage-style documentary Guadalcanal Requiem, making this rare work available to readers through sensitive description that focuses on the haptic materiality of the analog video medium.

Will Romines, in "Cinema as Revolution: Innervation, Modernity, and the Senses," wrestles Jonathan Beller's gloomy view of modern cinema to argue that  contemporary cinema can generate collective innervation among its viewers, drawing on Benjamin's concept (via Miriam Hansen), as well as Patricia Pisters' rereading of Eisenstein in terms of mirror-touch synaesthesia.

Hannah Wheatley, in "Anarchy in Comedy: The Work of Eric Andre," is inspired to bring Siegfried Kracauer and Hito Steyerl to The Eric Andre Show, arguing forcefully that the low-res anarchy of Andre's show creatively hastens the fallen world's self-destruction.

Logan Williams, in "Following Her on Instagram: Shifting Paradigms in Hollywood Film Aesthetics," argues that Instagram is leveling Hollywood's playing field and transforming cinematic aesthetics, with a sophisticated media analysis focusing on Sean Baker's The Florida Project.

Qiui Wu, "The Double Projections of Desire and Fear In the Artificial Membrane of Cinema," proposes a fantastically original and compelling "glove theory" of cinema as a virtual epidermal contact that relies on dynamics of desire and fear. Complete with diagrams.

– Laura U. Marks

All rights reserved. Copyright held by the authors and Simon Fraser University.

VIFF 2015 Reviews

Film by SCA Film students and alumni at the Vancouver International Film Festival

Students and alumni of SCA’s BFA in Film are always well represented at VIFF as well as other Canadian and international festivals. 2015 may be SCA Film’s strongest showing yet, including:

- Frank and the Wondercat, feature documentary by alumni Tony Massil and Pablo Alvarez-Mesa.
- Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World, feature documentary by alumnus Charles Wilkinson
- Lifeguard, by alumni Will Ross and Devan Scott
- My Favorite Summer, fiction short by alumna Liz Cairns
- My Good Man's Gone, fiction feature by alumnus Nick Citton
- Never Steady, Never Still, fiction short by alumni Kathleen Hepburn and Tyler Hagan (producer).
- Ocean Falls, documentary short by current students Ryan Ermancora and Jessica Johnson.
- Penny's for Tea, fiction short by alumni Sophie Jarvis and Kane Stewart 

Read more: SFU Filmmakers Shine in Viff Shorts - The Peak

Student Reviews

Ocean Falls Ryan Ermacora and Jessica Johnson (Canada, 2015, 15:00), by Michelle Martin (PDF)
Ocean Falls Ryan Ermacora and Jessica Johnson (Canada, 2015, 15:00), by Robin Dalla-Vicenza (PDF)
Ocean Falls Ryan Ermacora and Jessica Johnson (Canada, 2015, 15:00), by Suzanne Friesen (PDF)

Frank and the Wondercat Tony Massil and Pablo Alvarez­ Mesa (Canada, 2015, 67:00), by Marcella Scaglione (PDF)
Frank and the Wondercat Tony Massil and Pablo Alvarez­ Mesa (Canada, 2015, 67:00), by Ryan Ermacora (PDF)
Never Steady, Never Still Kathleen Hepburn (Canada, 2015, 19:00), by Kellen Jackson (PDF)

Arts and Philosophies of the Fold

Students in FPA 412, Arts and Philosophies of the Fold, used the spider plant as a case study of Leibniz's theory of the monad.



Critical Writing in the Arts

Read the student created blog for FPA 319W in the fall of 2014: FPA319w blog

Spring 2014 Catalogue

Dossier on Media Arts in the Arab World

I am delighted to present the finest among many fine essays from the Fall 2013 course "Media Art in the Arab World." 45 students — scholars, filmmakers, and visual artists — viewed and discussed an enormous range of experimental, documentary, and fiction works by Arab filmmakers and media arts since the 1990s (all of which the SFU library purchased or rented). The students impressed me greatly with their perceptive and original analyses and I hope they will you too.

– Proud professor, Laura U. Marks (

Lindsey Adams' structural analysis of archive films by Rania Stephan, Maha Maamoun, and Raed Yassin
Taylor Beaumont's feminist analysis of Akram Zaatari's Majnounak and Gheith Al-Amine's Once Upon a Sidewalk
Dasha Boichenko identifies a red thread running through Mohamed Soueid's My Heart Beats Only for Her
Adrienne Evans on Mounira El Solh confronting the animal as other in A Double Burger and Two Metamorphoses
Two interpretations of The Dove's Lost Necklace by Nacer Khémir: a mystical analysis by Vladimir Fedulov and a feminist analysis by Jasmine Kwong
Nataliya Fedulova on the intimate performativity of Joana Hadjithomas' and Khalil Joreige's Je Veux Voir
Nicole Kunkel's reflection on the politics of postponed content in Hassan Khan's Blind Ambition
Matthew MacLellan examines the life of the pixel in Rania Stephan's The Three Disappearances of Souad Hosni
Munira Mohamud on the poetics of exile in Elia Suleiman's Homage By Assassination
Louise Rusch on moving beyond clichés of Arabness in Dima El Horr's Every Day Is A Holiday
Cory Woodcock on creative aniconism in the videos of Mounir Fatmi

All rights reserved. Copyright held by the authors and Simon Fraser University.

Spring 2013 Catalogue

Dossier on Film Theory

We publish here some of the best student papers in film theory from Fall 2012. These thinkers have explored psychoanalytic film theory, the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, phenomenology, feminist film theory, coming up with striking analyses of Véra Chytilova's Daisies (1966), Danny Boyle's 127 Hours (2010), Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind (1956), and other films. Congratulations to the writers!

– Laura U. Marks (

Anna Howlett – Negating the Synthesis: Approaching Feminist Film Theory Through Hegelian Dialectics
Jae Woo Kang – Immersing Into the Eye of the Camera
Michael Town – The Lacanian Real in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours
Sepehr Samimi – A Thousand Eyes For Perception, A Deleuzian Analysis of 127 hours
Thanh Nguyen – Masculinity in Melodrama: A Psychoanalytic "Gaze" at Written on the Wind

All rights reserved. Copyright held by the authors and Simon Fraser University.