Skip to main
Cinema class


Audiences are inundated by Hollywood films with awesome stunts and visual effects, great costumes, and mega-star talent—all wrapped around weak, forgettable stories and characters devoid of passion, ingenuity, and humanity. That’s why our goal at McDaniel Cinema remains as elegant as it is simple: Solid stories, smartly told.

Degree Types
Major , Minor
Complementary Programs
Distinctive Requirements
Capstone, Internship
Professional Preparation
Connections in Hollywood

Students with Professor Jonathan Slade

In the field of Cinema, technology is transitory. Every year brings new high-tech systems and software, new video formats and distribution platforms. The only cinematic tools that don’t become obsolete: the human brain and the human heart.

Audiences are inundated by Hollywood films with awesome stunts and visual effects, great costumes, and mega-star talent, all wrapped around weak, forgettable stories and characters devoid of passion, ingenuity, and humanity.

Our goal at McDaniel Cinema: Solid stories, smartly told.

Cinema With A Difference

We don’t embrace the typical button-pushing, widget-obsessed method to producing media. Instead, we take a holistic approach that emphasizes mastery of three key liberal arts-based areas that have always been at the core of great cinema:

  • Writing: A mastery of the process and formatting of strong cinematic stories.
  • Critical Analysis: Understanding the broader context of cinema in terms of history and theory by studying iconic filmmakers, key thinkers, genres, and movements.
  • Production: The ability to complete a cinematic project – regardless of medium or venue – from casting through effective and dramatic shooting and editing.

Designed for You

At McDaniel Cinema, we want to prepare the next wave of creative thinkers and storytellers, people who communicate powerful ideas using images and sound—graduating talented and well-rounded citizens of the world who have something exciting and meaningful to say, and who can use their mastery of cinematic storytelling to work in all facets of the media industry. That’s you.

The Future is Bright

Students from McDaniel’s Communication & Cinema department have found internships or career placements at places like:

  • ASPIDA 360 (marketing)
  • Horizon Health (public relations)
  • Johns Hopkins University (public information)
  • Maryland Office of Tourism (social networking)
  • News 12 New Jersey
  • Under Armour
  • WBAL-TV (Production assistant)

Distinctive Courses

CIN 2201 - Television Production

This course focuses on the pre-production, production, and post-production aspects of television. Specific emphasis is on lighting, filming, editing, and writing. Students are included in the creation of a weekly television show.

CIN 3302 - Fiction Into Film

The process by which film adapts literary works. The course considers adaptations from short fiction, novels, and dramatic literature; exploring the formal traits unique to each individual genre, the formal traits shared by more than one genre, and the capacity of film adaptation to retain and transform narrative content. Students will write critical essays and a film script adapted from a piece of short fiction. The course includes a weekly three-hour film viewing session.

CIN 4901 - Cinema Capstone

This Capstone experience requires each student to write, direct, edit, produce, promote, and publicly screen an original 20-30 minute digital feature (fiction or documentary) which showcases the cinematic storytelling skills acquired in the major.

Special Opportunities

As a Cinema student, you’ll find plenty of academic and extracurricular activities to meet your needs.

McDaniel Theatre Arts department's production of the musical thriller, "Carrie," directed by 1987 alumnus Josh Selzer.

Cinema-Theatre Arts Dual Major

A natural fit for students who love performance and storytelling in all their varied forms.

Students participate in a job shadowing opportunity.

Multimedia, McDaniel Style

The Cinema department is closely linked to McD-TV, the campus television station, and WMCR, the campus radio station. For those interested in media and broadcasting, both venues give you the opportunity to gain experience and enhance your skills.

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

Senior Capstone A Documentart

Cinema major Luke Fisher talks about his senior capstone — his documentary on exploring the human elements associated with deforestation in the rain forest of Peru as the culmination of his Cinema training at McDaniel

 Hollywood Insider Jonathan Slade, Cinema Prof in front of Hollywood sign.

Professor Spotlight Jonathan Slade Professor

Professor Slade has earned six Emmy awards, specializes in media literacy and micro-budget American independent cinema, and is committed to promoting a rigorous, multi-faceted approach to cinema that includes film history, critical analysis, screenwriting, and production whether he’s teaching television production, cell phone cinema, or environmental film.

McDaniel College Cinema student Luke Fisher in the Peruvian rain forest

McDaniel in the News: 2016 Cinema grad wins Global Impact award

Luke Fisher's big win at the Global Impact Film Festival in D.C. reinforced the importance of McDaniel College's entrepreneurial storytelling course, The Forest Online.

News from the Cinema Program

  • Cinema majors premiere original capstone films during McDaniel Cinema Showcase

    The McDaniel Cinema Showcase highlights fiction and documentary digital features written, directed, produced and edited by Cinema majors at McDaniel as portfolios of their work.

  • Cinema Showcase features eight original capstone films by McDaniel seniors

    Eight senior Cinema majors premiered more than their original films during the McDaniel Cinema Showcase on May 6. Their capstone creations showcased a piece of themselves on the big screen in Decker Auditorium, Lewis Hall of Science. Each film was written, directed, produced, and edited by a Cinema major as a portfolio of their work.

  • Cinema professor wins Emmy award for documentary

    Jonathan Slade '88, professor of Communication & Cinema, received his seventh Emmy award for his two-hour 2019 documentary, “Made Possible By Viewers Like You: 50 Years of Maryland Public Television” at the 62nd National Capital Chesapeake Bay ceremony on Aug. 8. The program, which debuted on Maryland Public Television in August 2019, won for outstanding arts/entertainment special during the virtual event in Washington, D.C.