The Art of Film
Fine Arts as Global Perspective - HNRS 2113

Instructor(s): Jonatha Kottler

Course Description

Film expresses the gamut of human expression and experience. Goofy buddy comedies, biopics of famous writers or musicians, painfully honest documentaries, swashbuckling adventures, superhero epics, or trite-but-enjoyable romantic comedies, film reflects who we are, what we value and aspire to, what we may never become. Yet as the audience we may never consciously appreciate or even notice the larger ideas of a film because we are caught up in it. The goal of this course is to pull our eyes from the screen’s spectacle and apply our minds to what a film is actually saying. To achieve this goal we will take a three-part approach: (1) we will cover the history of film as a medium to see its dual identity as popular culture and art (2) we will study screenplays and the films they become to see how words on a page come alive on screen and (3) we will write short screenplays and then shoot and edit them, culminating in the Honors College Short Film Festival where our peers will be able to see our on-screen efforts.


Five Screenplays: with Essays, William Goldman Cinematic Storytelling, Jennifer Van Sijll
Save the Cat, Blake Snyder
Graphic Storytelling, Will Eisner

Articles on Learn focusing on craft elements, social responsibility, influence of film.

Pulp Fiction
The Princess Bride
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Citizen Kane
The Bicycle Thief
Fight Club
And clips from many other selected films.


2 three-page reaction papers Oral presentation
6 mini film assignments
Short screenplay (3-5 minutes) Final short film

About the Instructor(s): Jonatha Kottler

Jona (rhymes with "Donna") is a graduate of UNM Honors and began teaching here in 2003. She has a BA in English, an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John's College, and is a candidate in the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She lived abroad in Amsterdam, NL and Edinburgh, Scotland where she published fiction and non-fiction works in NY Magazine, The Guardian, and on Audible. She is a huge nerd who has written seven short films and co-created the comic book series The Wonderverse. She knows a whole lot about Batman, and the MCU.