TA15 Film Appreciation Syllabus

Instructor: James Callner MA (off: 408-741-2456)  

Office Hours Tues, Wed 6:15-6:50 . 10 - 11pm. M- Thurs Online via Angel 3-5pm. Office Phone 408-741-2456 Email: jamescallner@sbcglobal.net

Required Book:

American Cinema/American Culture Third Edition

Author: Belton/ Publisher McGraw Hill

Available at the West Valley College bookstore or

Online www.amazon.com

CONTENT AND PURPOSE:  This course explores Hollywood motion pictures as art form, as an industry, and as a system of representation and communication. The course will explore how these films work technically, artistically, and culturally to reinforce and challenge America's national self-image. It also examines the language of film. You will learn the art of filmmaking and its history, as well as the evolution and transformation of the "Hollywood System," and the production of popular genres. Most important, you will learn to become a more active and critical film viewer.

Special Note: students are responsible for dropping. Instructor will NOT drop you. If you choose to drop this class within the drop date period you must do it yourself.



Please refer Angel for Quiz dates. This will be fully explained in class. This will tell you when you have Quizzes. There are FIVE multiple choice/true False Quizzes though-out the semester in this course. All quizzes are 20 questions and worth 20 points. All are open book and open notes. The key to a great grade in this course is to keep up with the viewing of the videos in class each week and reading assignments. Take plenty of notes on the most pertinent information or themes especially in the reading material. Note, Questions in the tests are from the book but the videoĠs correspond to the book chapter and will help you greatly on the Quizzes. The films we watch in class are extremely important for your final project.

READING ASSIGNMENTS: PLEASE CHECK LESSON TAB ON ANGEL for Assigned Quiz Dates. Note: you will be taking the Quiz on Angel. To be explained in class.

Note: American Cinema videoĠs will be shown in class or you can view them at: http://www.learner.org/resources/series67.html?pop=yes&pid=208

Quiz #1

Read Chapter 2 (Classic Hollywood Style: Narration)  - Video Program 1


Read Chapter 4 (The Studio System) _ Video Program 2




Quiz 2

Read Chapter 5 (The Star System) - Video Program 3

Read Chapter 11 (The Western) - Video Program 4


Quiz #3

Read Chapter 8 (American Comedy) - Video Program 5

Read Chapter 9 (War and Cinema) - Video Program 6


Quiz #4 

Read Chapter 10 (Film Noire: Somewhere in the Night) - Video Program 7

Read Chapter 14 (Hollywood in the Age of Television) _ Video Program 8


Quiz #5

Read Chapter 16 (The Film School Generation) - Video Program 9

Read Chapter 17 (Into the Twenty –First Century) - Video Program 10


Review Chapter 3 Classical Hollywood Cinema Style –for the final. Along with all notes on basic film terms.


Final: 30 points

You have two choices. Choose one with Instructor approval.

1. Choose three of the films we have seen in class and review them in a six-page paper (double spaced 12 pt font. Word, PDF, Text formats expectable. Email to jamescallner@sbcgloabl.net OR you may do this review in an arranged 15-20 minutes oral report for the class or on Youtube or another site to submit to the Instructor.

Examples of this special review will be explained in class and in a hand out.

2. Make a film with these restrictions. Instructor must approve ideas and script. It must be from one of the genre's studied in class. E.g. Hollywood style (Narrative), Film Noire, etc or Documentary. It must be no shorter than 10 minutes, no longer than 15 minutes. You must post on You-tube or another site for Instructor viewing. On due date send link to Instructor for evaluation. jamescallner@sbcglobal.net DVD will NOT be accepted. (If you really want to learn this stuff IĠd recommend this choice. Start early!)

***Tests Grading:

This class works ONLY on a points system Not percentages.

Total points in the semester 150 Points

 Test Scores are graded as follows:

Total Possible Points = 20

18 -20 = A

15 - 17 = B

12 -14 = C

9 - 11 = D

8 or less = F

Semester grades are calculated as follows:

Total Possible Points = 130

114 -130 = A

101 -113 = B

88 - 100 = C

75 - 87 = D

74 or less = F

Pass/no pass Option Available. Please let Instructor know at end of course.


SLO_ Student Learning Outcome: Analyze cinema as a literary form and cinema as entertainment by comparing film genres and cinematic techniques.

Assessment: Examinations.


Disability Statement 

West Valley College makes reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities.  Students should notify DESP (Disability & Educational Support Program) located in the Learning Services building (408-741-5085) of any special needs

Student Learning Outcomes based on random calculation of test scores of 10 students. You do NOT have to do anything. This does NOT affect your grade. It is a state requirement