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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

COM 1101 - Introduction to Communication: Media

This course studies how individuals use media to communicate, and how such media use affects public communication. Students will explore media’s economic, political, and cultural roles; media’s informative, persuasive, and entertainment functions; 1st amendment issues; and key theories.

PHI 2205 - Law, Morality and the Cinema

What is the relationship between our laws and our systems of moral values?  How have our ethical beliefs influenced the creation, development and the functioning of our legal system, our statutes and our court decisions?  This course explores the contributions of philosophers from Plato to legal theorists such as Finnis and Dworkin.  The course will introduce the student to numerous teachings from a host of scholars, philosophers and theorists who have considered ethical theory and its impact on our legal system. The natural law/positive law distinction will be explored, but the course will also consider how our basic rights as set forth in The Bill Of Rights are interpreted by jurists.  Emphasis will be placed on the guarantees of the First Amendment to our Constitution, our trial rights as set forth under various amendments to the Constitution and our due process rights as set forth in the Constitution and Bill Of Rights. Various selected movies will be used as a vehicle for enhancing the discussion of the dynamics existing between the law and our moral beliefs.

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.

FRE 4421 - Histoire du cinéma français

This course introduces students to the history of French cinema. The approach to French cinema used in this class is interdisciplinary and international in scope and concerned with understanding films in terms of style, technology, spectatorship, cultural history, narrative and foreign culture. This course treats film primarily as a unique and powerful twentieth-century art with its own traditions, history, conventions and techniques. Students learn how to understand, analyze, discuss and explain film in the French language.

Special Opportunities

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

Students participate in a job shadowing opportunity.

Multimedia, McDaniel Style

The Cinema department is closely linked to McD-TV, the campus television station, and MGTRadio, 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

  • Hollywood Producer Jim Wilberger '72 receives highest alumni honor

    Jim Wilberger, who is currently executive producer of Hallmark Crown Media and has more than 101 producing credits for movies, mini-series, and television movies, received the Trustee Alumni Award, the highest alumni honor given at McDaniel. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts in 1972 and regularly hosts McDaniel students in Los Angeles for film internships, assists the McDaniel Cinema Department with mentoring programs for current students, speaks on campus, and donates instructional materials to the department.
  • Theatre Arts major in the spotlight for lighting design

    “There is a beauty to stage lighting — it’s a work of art. The time and effort that goes into it is very inspirational,” says Kim Parson, junior Theatre Arts major, who was awarded a 2022 Collier Robert Woods, Jr. Scholarship to support her pursuits in lighting design.
  • Senior Cinema majors showcase original capstone films during Cinema Showcase

    Six senior Cinema majors premiere their original films during the McDaniel Cinema Showcase on May 5 in Decker Auditorium, Lewis Hall of Science. Each film was written, directed, produced, and edited by Cinema majors as their final capstone project.