FTVM Spends the Summer Publishing, Presenting, and Winning Accolades!
Professor Johannes von Moltke
As part of his summer research travel, Professor Johannes von Moltke attended two conferences at which he presented his work: in June, he joined the long-postponed 13th Tel Aviv International Colloquium on Cinema and Television Studies, devoted to “Blind Spots of the Cinematic.” His plenary lecture, which drew from a course on migration cinema that he teaches for FTVM, was entitled “Hiding in Plain Sight: Blind Spots in European Refugee Films.” And in July, he traveled to Innsbruck, Austria, for a conference on “Pop and Populism in Entertainment Magazines Around 1933,” where together with Kerstin Barndt he presented original research on the journal Filmwelt. Johannes also spent some of his summer reading three brilliant dissertations that candidates defended both in person and virtually in Zurich, Ann Arbor, and Berlin. Now he looks forward to working as interim chair with everyone in FTVM to keep things running smoothly until Colin Gunckel takes over in January.
Professor Caryl Flinn
On April 28, 2023, Professor Caryl Flinn gave a talk to the Musicology Dept. at Princeton University on popular American music in the 1970s in relation to west coast “pop” culture and east coast ideas of “camp.”
Despite extensive sales and popularity in the 1970s, Karen and Richard Carpenter were widely treated as a campy joke. In "Music, Camp, and the Case of The Carpenters," Caryl Flinn examines camp features initially tied to their act and considers how Todd Haynes’s underground film Superstar --that focused on Karen’s struggle with anorexia using Barbie dolls -- helped inaugurate a more affectionate and appreciative understanding of camp.
Professors Caryl Flinn and Daniel Herbert
Screening American Independent Film presents films chronologically, addressing works from across more than a century (1915-2020), emphasizing the breadth and long duration of American independent cinema.
Written by leading international scholars and emerging talents in film studies, this volume is the first of its kind. Paying particular attention to issues of diversity and inclusion for both the participating scholars and the content and themes within the selected films, Screening American Independent Film is an essential resource for anyone teaching or studying American cinema.
Professors Caryl Flinn and Daniel Herbert both conributed a chapter to this anthology -- Chapter 24: Choose Me (1984) and Chapter 32: My Own Private Idaho (1991), respectively. FTVM alum and current visiting lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh Nathan Koob also contributed a chapter -- Chapter 18: Pink Flamingos (1972).
Professor Matthew Solomon
On Aug. 23, 2023, Professor Matthew Solomon was an invited panelist for the CRLT session, “New Frontiers: Advancing Learning through Emerging Technologies,” which was part of the recent New Faculty Orientation at the Michigan Union. Solomon spoke about teaching with VR and audiovisual essays.
Associate Professor Hollis Griffin
Associate Professor Hollis Griffin edited the recently published anthology Television Studies in Queer Times (Routledge, May 2023).
This timely collection of accessible essays interrogates queer television at the start of the twenty- first century. Gathering a range of well-known scholars, the book takes on the relationship between sexual identity, desire, and television, breaking new ground in a context where existing critical vocabularies and research paradigms used to study television no longer hold sway in the ways they used to. The anthology sets out to confound conventional categories used to organize queer television scholarship, like “programming,” “industry,” “audience,” “genre,” and “activism.” Instead, the anthology offers four interpretive frames – historicity, temporal play, ideological limitation and industrial contextualization – in the interest of creating new queer tools for studying digital television in the contemporary age.
Grffin also gave two talks in Australia related to the work he is doing on trauma, spectatorship, and pedagogy. His first talk, "Theorizing the Activated Spectator: Media Reception and the Afterlives of Trauma" was part of the Gender/Sexuality/Culture Interdisciplinary Research Seminar for 2023, hosted by the Gender Studies programme at the University of Melbourne. His second talk, "Memory, Trauma, and Michael Jacksson," was part of the Gender and Cultural Studies Seminar Series at the University of Sydney.
Assistant Professor Yvette Granata
Assistant Professor Yvette Granata received a Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention Award in the category of New Animation Arts for her VR film, I Took A Lethal Dose of Herbs (2023) this July. Prix Ars Electronica, the world's longest running and most prestigious Media Arts festival, will hand out the official awards at the annual Ars Electronica Exhibition in Linz, Austria, in the fall, from September 6-11. The jury selection for the New Animation Arts award includes an overview of the best international works of the year at the intersection of technology, art, animation, and culture. On Granata's VR piece, the jury writes -- "Set against the white picket bigotry of Post-Trump’s America, this critical fabulation highlights oppressive policies based on faith not fact. Dangerously experimenting on yourself because you are unable or unwilling to bear a child? Witches were burnt for less than this. This sad tale is as old as time."
Earlier in the summer, I Took a Lethal Dose of Herbs premiered in France at the Annecy International Animation Festival in competition in the VR category in June. The Annecy Festival, formerly the animation section of the Cannes Film Festival, became its own festival in 1960 and is one of the oldest and biggest festivals dedicated to animation, one of four festivals supported by the International Animated Film Association.
Granata's VR film subsequently played from August 10-August 27 in Australia at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) in the XR program.
Production Faculty Oliver Thornton
Production Faculty Oliver Thornton spent his summer producing a new digital streaming series for PBS Books and Detroit Public Television called Visions of America - All Stories, All People, All Places. The series is produced in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and travels to different historical sites throughout the country for conversations that dive into great but sometimes hidden stories that resonate with where we are at as a nation today.
Thornton also spent three days on Mackinac Island filming a new documentary about the history of Ryba's Fudge Shops.
Lecturer Vincent Longo and Librarian Phil Hallman
This past spring, Lecturer Vincent Longo and Phil Hallman, Film Studies Field Librarian and Curator of the Screen Arts Mavericks and Makers Collection, ran a workshop at the Library of Congress. As part of the Radio Preservation Task Force Conference, their workshop presented how their soon-to-be released digital archive of letters written to Orson Welles following his infamous 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast can be used to teach a range of topics (from media literacy to the history of technology) across all grade levels, from middle school to graduate school. Participants then had an opportunity to explore the database and share how they might imagine using it in their teaching. Longo and Hallman were joined by A. Brad Schwartz (FTVM Alum ‘13 and current Princeton University PhD Candidate in American History), author of several books including Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News.
Lecturer Vincent Longo
Over the summer, Lecturer Vincent Longo mentored and collaborated with four community college students as a part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity’s Community College Summer Fellowship Program: two from Henry Ford College in Dearborn, one from Grand Rapids Community College, and one from Washtenaw Community College. The program supports students as they work forty hours per week for ten weeks, during which they primarily collaborate on faculty research. Longo mentored students in primary source research, and had them lead various projects connected to his scholarship and creative work. One mentee, Adam Flachsmann (Washtenaw Community College), won a UROP Blue Ribbon Excellence award for his final project, “Jewish Stardom in Hollywood Through the 'Banjo Eyes' of Eddie Cantor." Another mentee, Hassan Berry (Henry Ford College), built a 3D model of the Great Hall set from Citizen Kane (1941) that will be integrated into Longo and Prof. Matthew Solomon’s VR Citizen Kane project.
During the program, Longo also supplied mentorship and feedback on creating competitive applications for admission to the University of Michigan and advice for achieving academic success while maintaining work/life balance.
PhD Candidate Joshua Schulze
In June, PhD Candidate Joshua Schulze participated remotely in a conference held at King’s College London called “Images at Work: Labour and the Moving Image." Shultze presented a paper from a dissertation chapter about the production of Sundown (1941) called "Painted Sandals and Blistered Feet: The production of Sundown (1941) and the racialized labor of Hollywood extras." His paper drew from archival work at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research and argued that the harsh treatment of the film’s African American extras was actively defended by the studio as a consequence of the intensified climate of labor and resource availability during the Second World War.