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Cine-writing: Strategies of Essay Filmmaking - workgroup


Admission requirements

No admission requirements for this course.


The practice of essay filmmaking has expanded and diversified in recent years, allowing more and more people to experiment with this imaginative genre. This course offers participants the opportunity to explore their own film essayistic voices, and experiment with alternative ways of creating and communicating academic knowledge.

In small-scale, interactive seminars, participants will discuss key insights from many theorists and makers, and over the course of the semester produce their own short essay film in response. In collaboration with the seminar tutors, they will analyse interesting methodologies and reflect on their works in progress through peer feedback. In support of the production process, the course includes a practicum on editing techniques by professional essay filmmakers.

The course expands on the content of the main lecture series, but participants are also encouraged to source their own inspirations and attitudes towards the essay film. At the end of the semester, participants will screen their final works during a private, self-organised essay film festival.

Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, the student can:

  • Recognise relevant characteristics and developments of the essay film from a theoretical perspective

  • Find and discuss relevant topics in essay films in relation to the course themes

  • Develop an original concept and script for an essay film, in dialogue with tutors and peers

  • Produce a short film essay based on the original concept


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

The course consists of:

  • Seminar

  • Research

Assessment method


The course is assessed through active participation and the production and completion of an original essay film.


Active participation: 30%

Film essay: 70%


Missed attendance must be compensated with specific reflection reports for each missed session.
The final film essay can be retaken by an updated version, based on tutor feedback.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The reading list will consist of key texts about the essay film. Students will also propose and present a number of texts that they must find themselves.
Required titles:

  • Alter, Nora. The Essay Film after Fact and Fiction. New York: Columbia UP, 2018)

  • Rascaroli, Laura. How the Essay film Thinks (New York: Oxford UP, 2017)

  • Titles from the lecture course The Essay Film in Theory and Practice

Further texts will be announced at the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Rogier Schneemann (


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