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June 29, 1998

UCSC announces a new department of film and video

By Barbara McKenna

UCSC's film and video program has been named an independent department, the second program in the Division of the Arts to receive this status in recent months.

Film and video was previously affiliated with the Theater Arts Department. The program's first step toward independence came last year when, for the first time, students were able to earn a degree in film and video, rather than study the subject as a concentration within the theater arts major. With this latest step, the program attains the autonomy to set its budget and make independent administrative and curricular decisions.

Film and video is one of the campus's fastest growing majors: The five-member faculty teach an average of 600 students each quarter and the campus's Planning and Budget unit expects these numbers to double within the next five years. This year some 60 students graduated with a B.A. in film and video and an estimated 80 students are expected to earn the degree in 1998-99.

"The reasons to create a film and video department were compelling," said Edward Houghton, dean of the Division of the Arts, which oversees the new department. "The program's tremendous growth in recent years and its distinct curriculum presented convincing arguments for creating an autonomous program."

"It's something of a cliche to say that film has become the art form of the 20th century, but it's true nonetheless," said Eli Hollander, a professor of film and video and chair of the department. "This is a distinct discipline and we are quite excited at the potential this new status gives the program. To begin with, we're looking forward to expanding our curriculum and fostering interdisciplinary collaborations with other departments."

Houghton also noted that a new 391-seat film and video classroom will open in the fall, which will support expanded activity by the new department. The new space, outfitted with advanced screening equipment, will make it possible to offer large classes, special lectures and screenings, and film series.

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