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Hands-On Skills and a Summer of Film


Taking a film course was at the top of the to-do list for Brian Burns ’17 his first year at Hamilton College, although he didn’t know what he wanted to major in. He enrolled in intro to film; it forever changed how he views film as an art form.

Burns became a double major in cinema and media studies and English. As a rising junior he spent a summer working on a research project with his most influential teacher at Hamilton, Scott MacDonald, visiting professor of art history. “He finds connections between films that are amazing,” Burns says.

For his summer research he looked at films with long production periods, in particular the Up Series by director Michael Apted, which begin in 1964 with a documentary about 14 children and continues to follow them with periodic releases.

Burns says his cinema and media major gives him hands-on experience that complements his work in English. He thinks the double major will increase his options when it comes to grad school or a career in media or journalism, which are all options he is considering. He loves the interdisciplinary nature of cinema and media studies. He’s taken, for instance, computer science, as part of his major.

“It’s great how broad the cinema new media studies curriculum is,” says Burns, who won the College Theatre Department Book Prize in Playwriting his sophomore year.

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