Students, Walch to design directed study in film

A few months ago, a small group of juniors realized that their senior year schedules would have a gaping hole. Taking Cinema Studies I and II as juniors meant there was no class to take as seniors, as no other class was offered. Drew Foster, Max Grey, Justin Kuritzkes, Charlie Green and Jessica Lee could not handle the prospect of a school day without movies.

“I needed to keep a cinema studies course in my schedule,” Foster said. “I loved it.”

Next year the five students will take a directed study with Head of Performing Arts and Cinema Studies teacher Ted Walch. Over spring break the five students spoke and decided they wanted another course. Walch hopes to do more films from the French New Wave and Italian Neo-Realism genres since students in the current class only watch one or two films in each genre.

He also would like to take a serious look at new Mexican and Spanish  cinema films by directors such as Pedro Almodovar so half of the class would be much more contemporary.

Foster expressed an interest in focusing on directors and watching the life “canons” of certain directors. The directed study will meet twice a week instead of the four and a double that Cinema Studies I-II has. As a result, students will watch films outside of class — as one reads books outside of English class — and then discuss them in class. Every student may also get to teach a class on something they feel passionate about.

“We can call this a trial balloon to see if Cinema Studies III would work,” Walch said.
Foster said he hoped the class would be a directed study next year and maybe the year after but that it would soon become a class at the school.

Walch is hesitant to say that Cinema Studies III will be a class at the Upper School, as the Faculty Academic Committee requires each department to drop a class if they want to add one. However, Walch said that the department has a couple “moribund” classes that they could drop.