Iowa State’s new world film studies minor features cinematic history, traditions

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World Languages and Cultures facultyOlga Mesropova, left, and Stacey Weber-Fève

AMES, Iowa – A world film studies minor has been a popular addition to the World Languages and Cultures Department at Iowa State University.

The new minor is available to Iowa State students who want to further their knowledge of world cinema. Film classes have traditionally held high enrollment in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, according to WLC associate professors Olga Mesropova and Stacey Weber-Fève. A student survey about the proposed minor also showed high interest in the program.

"We were already offering many film courses, and it was easy to repackage them and offer a minor," said Weber-Fève. "Thanks to a few recent faculty hires in the department – researchers and teachers with areas of expertise in film – we’ve been able to build a community of film professors and film-loving students."

"This minor provides a structured and focused framework for the academic study of film history and cinematic traditions from a broad range of world regions," added Mesropova.

World Languages and Cultures is an academic unit in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ISU.

Film studies programs are growing on a national level and students can facilitate new opportunities by enrolling in this minor, according to Mesropova. "Students are drawn to this minor because they find it complements their majors such as design, fashion, photography, journalism, education, marketing and advertising," she said. "Film is a universal phenomenon and an art form."

Zhimin Li was the first student to graduate from Iowa State with the world film studies minor in December 2012. Working on a degree in the College of Engineering, Li declared the minor to explore a "new world" of art and stray away from the stereotype that engineers are only interested in mathematics.

"I’m addicted to film," said Li. As an international student, Li also wanted to engage in learning all forms of cultural representation in film. Li plans to continue his passion for film in a career. He has written four screenplays that he hopes will be produced someday.

Courses offered within the minor range from German, French, Chinese and Russian film to creative writing. The aim is to teach students how to appreciate film as an art form and cultural artifact. "We all grew up with movies; it’s a part of who we are," said Weber-Fève. "Now we want students to see these films in a different way."

The world film studies minor is an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural program that includes coursework in history, theory and aesthetics of cinemas of the non-English-speaking world. A minimum of 15 credits must be successfully completed in order to apply the minor. -30-

About Liberal Arts and Sciences The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is a world-class learning and research community. Iowa State’s most academically diverse college, LAS educates students to become global citizens, providing rigorous academic programs in the sciences, humanities and social sciences within a supportive personalized learning environment. College faculty design new materials, unravel biological structures, care for the environment, and explore social and behavioral issues. From fundamental research to technology transfer and artistic expression, the college supports people in Iowa and around the world.

NEWS RELEASE College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Iowa State University

Contacts: Stacey Weber-Fève, World Languages and Cultures, (515) 294-0315, ( Olga Mesropova, World Languages and Cultures, (515) 294-7884, ( Paige Berg, Liberal Arts & Sciences Communication, (515) 294-0461, ( Steve Jones, Liberal Arts & Sciences Communication, (515) 294-0461, (