Spring 2024 - CA 131 D100

Filmmaking I (4)

Class Number: 6372

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Liz Cairns
    Office Hours: I will hold regular office hours on Wednesday (2:00pm-4:00pm) of each week and by appointment only
  • Prerequisites:

    CA (or FPA) 130 and prior approval.



An introductory course in film production, emphasizing creative use of the medium. Each student is expected to conceive, direct and edit a short film, as well as participate in the making of class exercises and other students' films. A laboratory fee is required. Students should be advised that film production will probably incur significant costs in addition to lab fees. Students with credit for FPA 131 may not take this course for further credit.


This course builds upon the foundations of filmmaking learned in CA 130. Students will continue to explore and experiment with various filmmaking approaches and techniques. The course will include film screenings, discussions, and hands-on exercises with various filmmaking tools, such as: camera, sound, lighting, and editing software. Additionally, this course will encourage students to explore the capacities of film as a creative and artistic medium by challenging pre-conceived notions of what constitutes cinema.


— Students will explore filmmaking through a series of film studies that encourage play, risk and practice.
— Students will build on their knowledge of cinematography, lighting, sound and editing.
— Students will engage with diverse types of cinema and expand their conception of what cinema can be.
— Students will strengthen communication skills through discussion and critique.


  • Personal Myth Film 20%
  • Sync Sound Film Proposal + Debrief 20%
  • Sync Sound Film 30%
  • Practical + Written Exam 10%
  • Participation/Engagement 20%


Content Warnings

Some of the films we watch together will be challenging. Some films may contain images, sounds, or scenes that some viewers may find disturbing. These include scenes, images, or sounds that contain nudity, violence, strong languages, scenes of a sexual nature, racist or sexist portrayals of a certain race/ethnic group, and so forth. I will do my best to provide content warnings at the start of each course and I encourage you to reach out if you would like to discuss triggers with me. With that said, you always have the option to excuse yourself from a film, or step out before it begins. If you have specific concerns, please reach out to me directly by email or during my office hours. 



Students are encouraged to purchase:

– A hard drive to store their projects after the course is over.

– A set of headphones (ideally a closed, over-ear set with a flat frequency response).


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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