Film Studies Initiative in Ethiopia, AAU, FJC.

This is a response to your request on the draft preparation of a presentable curriculum that could be used for the film study program in FJC, Addis Ababa University.  This draft curriculum could be presented to concerned bodies both at AAU as well as Global Film Expression (GFE). I hope that the following course offerings could be part and parcel of the draft document to be submitted to GFE as a response to their initiative.

Please be informed that the Bachelor of (Fine) Arts degree program at FJC, AAU is a 3-year program, while the MFA at the graduate level requires two years to complete. Thus, the following course items are suggested, both for the undergraduate and the graduate programs, by taking this background into consideration.

Generally speaking, the program type in the undergraduate division will be Director’s track. However, the graduate film studies will be Scholarship-criticism track.

Note that some curriculum models, mainly from notable universities in the USA, were consulted and/or customized as benchmarking. In addition, the Director’s track emulates, Herbert Zettl’s Sight, Sound and Motion whereas Movies and Methods by Marshall Cohen was used as guide to design the curriculum for the Scholarship-curriculum track.

Almost all courses are 3 credit hours, except thesis project.


A. Director’s track

The following core courses can be offered to new enrolling students in the undergraduate film study program over a three years academic period.

  1. Introduction to Film Studies
  2. Scriptwriting I – Basic Level
  3.  Film Directing
  4.  Documentary Film
  5.  Cinematography or Videography I – Basic
  6.  Introduction to Media/ Communication Studies
  7.  Film History
  8.  Basic Television and Film Production
  9.  Principles and Applications of Lighting – Intermediate
  10.  Third World Cinema or African Cinema (and social change)
  11.  Media Aesthetics
  12.  Advanced TV and video/film production
  13.  (Media) Production Management
  14.   Film Sound Aesthetics:  Principles and Applications
  15.  Scriptwriting II –  Advanced level
  16.  Advanced Film Directing
  17.  Cinematography – Advanced
  18.  Film Editing: Theoretical insights/principles
  19.  Film/Digital video editing: Practical Applications
  20.   Film sound Recording: practical
  21.  Thesis Project can be film production, short screenplay or senior research essay

B. Scholarship-criticism track

The following core courses are suggested as major course offering at the graduate level. Note that most of them are seminars while others are projects.

  1. Scriptwriting II
  2. Film Analysis
  3. Cinematography II
  4. Film Directing – project
  5. Cinema Sound
  6. African Cinema or Third World Cinema
  7. Scriptwriting III – Workshop
  8. Cinematography III
  9. Advanced Film History
  10. Contemporary Film Theory and Criticism – Seminar
  11.  Advanced Film Directing – Workshop on Directing Actors
  12.  Film Practicum – Project
  13.  Film Editing
  14.  (Advanced ) Writing Film Criticism – Seminar
  15.  Production, Distribution and Exhibition – Project
  16.  Narrative Studies
  17.  Thesis

C. Addendum

The following courses are also worth consideration:

  • Structural Analysis
  • Film Form
  • Introduction to (Applied) Media Aesthetics
  • Aesthetic Field of Light: Purpose and Function
  • Cinematographic Properties
  • (Introduction to) Visual Literacy
  • Editing Techniques – Continuity and Montage
  • Film and Society

D. Electives

The following elective courses could be offered if the nature of the film study program is going to be inter-disciplinary.

  • Introduction to Visual Arts: Painting and Sculpture
  • Dramatic Writing: Comparative Approach – TV, Stage, Radio
  • Art History
  • Introduction to Music Art
  • Broadcast Media – TV and Radio
  • Introduction to Multi-media
  • Graphics
  • Architecture and Design