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Why Screen Arts and Cultures?

The undergraduate major in Screen Arts & Cultures is an integrated major in screen studies and production.

The primary goal of the Department of Screen Arts & Cultures is to provide students with first-rate instruction in the history, theory, aesthetics, and techniques of moving image media in their historical and emergent forms. A significant element of creative practice in the field, broadly-conceived, is also extremely important both to students' understanding of media and to making their knowledge marketable post-graduation.

The Screen Arts & Cultures (SAC) major intertwines studies and production, with studies occupying approximately two-thirds of a student's coursework and creative, hands-on practice the other one-third. Our department is uniquely situated to help SAC students explore the intersection of intellectual study and creative practice in the media arts. In contrast to a film school or art school model, the SAC major offers a well-conceived integration of critical studies and creative production in moving image media within a large world-class university.

Student Testimonials

Alexander Holmes

Alex Holmes is a senior from Grosse Pointe, Michigan majoring in Screen Arts and Cultures. When not in class or doing homework, Alex is the Digital Director for SHEI Magazine, a student-run fashion and culture publication on campus. He also works as a photographer and videographer for Rackham Graduate School during the school year.

His projects have won awards for ‘best documentary’ and ‘best experimental film’ at the Lightworks Student Film Festival. His documentary, Key of B, was selected as one of 10 finalists from 80 submissions in WDIV’s Film Challenge Detroit 2015.

For the past two summers, Alex has interned at Doner Advertising and Commowealth//McCann in the Digital and Broadcast Production departments. Upon graduation he hopes to work in the digital media/publishing industry or the new Hollywood being led by Netflix and Amazon.

“Filmmaking is very social for me. The best thing about being a student at the University of Michigan is that there are plenty of stories waiting to be told. When I meet students around campus doing interesting things, it makes me want to document and explore their work. It’s a privilege to be in a position where I have the tools to collaborate with many talented students and tell a story about them from my perspective I appreciate the SAC faculty for creating a positive and supportive environment. Additionally, my fellow SAC students constantly inspire me to grow the footprint of my work.”

Emily Browning

Emily Browning is a junior majoring in Screen Arts and Cultures. She is a member of M-agination films, the women’s varsity water polo team, and the Ross School of Business sales track program. Emily is from Orange County, California, and has been involved with film production since high school.

Emily did not start her college career certain that filmmaking would be something that she would want to pursue as a career. After taking the art of film course, she decided to declare as a SAC major. Since then she has produced a number of films through U of M, and outside as well. Her short “You Can’t Sit With Us,” produced through the new media practices course in the Fall of 2014, received runner-up for best comedy at the Lightworks Student Film Festival. She currently is completing her dramatic narrative II film, while also writing her first draft of a feature screenplay. Emily aspires to become a TV or film producer and has made steps in getting there by getting the opportunity to intern at production companies in LA over summer.

“The faculty in the Screen Arts and cultures department has provided a path to making my dreams a reality. The University has been instrumental in integrating me to the business community getting and providing crucial advice on next steps.  The SAC department is an awesome secret “pearl” at University of Michigan. I am proud to be a Screens Arts major and hope that I leave my mark in this growing department. “

Kristen Batko

Kristen is a senior Screen Arts & Cultures major with a concentration in screenwriting. She is currently working on an Honors Thesis in television writing, creating both the show bible and the first three episodes of a show taking place in the late-1940s that explores the lives of patients in a psychiatric hospital. She is also one of the co-presidents of FVSA, the Film & Video Student Association. 

A storyteller from a young age, Kristen has always dreamed of bringing her work to life. After graduating she plans on pursuing TV writing and hopes to eventually become a show-runner. She also aims to shed more light on mental illness through her writing. 

"The Screen Arts & Cultures program has taught me so much, not only about writing and production, but also about how our work can help raise the voices of those who are so often quieted. With the rich education it provides and its strong alumni presence in both NYC and LA, Screen Arts & Cultures, through internships and connections, promises a future career in the film industry for for those who seek it. The faculty and students I have worked with are truly amazing, and I am thankful every day that I chose it as my major. "  

Laura Caruso

Laura Caruso is a senior from Canton, Michigan whose majors include Screen Arts and Cultures and Italian. After having transferred from Schoolcraft Community College, she has spent the last two years enjoying the specialized classes the department has to offer, including American Independent Cinema, in which she worked with director John Sayles’ archive.

While Laura enjoys films studies, she is passionate about production and is particularly interested in cinematography. She comments, “I consider myself fortunate to be in a film program that still values working with analog and presents many opportunities to shoot on film and with state-of- the-art digital technology."

In order to connect filmmaking to her love of languages and her desire to see the world, Laura would ultimately like to work as a cinematographer on international co-productions. Currently, she spends some of her free time working at the Donald Hall Collection and filming the Penny Stamps Speaker Series at the Michigan Theater.