University of Rochester
News & Events

Jason Middleton Publishes Book on Awkward Moments

Jason Middleton, Director of Film and Media Studies and Assistant Professor of English, has just published his book, Documentary's Awkward Turn: Cringe Comedy and Media Spectatorship (Routledge, 2014).

Documentary’s Awkward Turn contributes a new critical paradigm to the field by presenting an analysis of awkward moments in documentary film and other reality-based media formats. Middlleton examines difficult and disrupted encounters between social actors on the screen, between filmmaker and subject, and between film and spectator.  This book makes visible the ways in which awkwardness connects and subtends a range of transformative textual strategies, political and ethical problematics, and modalities of spectatorship in documentary film and media from the 1970s to the present.  It is available through Routledge

Documentary's Awkward Turn: Cringe Comedy and Media Spectatorship

Middleton Named New FMS Director

We are delighted to announce that Professor Jason Middleton is the new Director of the Film and Media Studies Program.


Gollin Winner Chosen for ArtAwake 2011

Student filmmaker, Derek Murphy '11, has won multiple awards in the Gollin Film Festival. Now, one of those prizewinning films will be featured in this year's ArtAwake event. Stonefly Adults won 3rd prize in the 2010 Gollin Film Festival. ArtAwake seeks to unite the community, from college students to families and young professionals to senior citizens, to facilitate interaction and discussion that will lead to creative solutions for Rochester's unused spaces, for its creative community, and ultimately for the future of its downtown. ArtAwake will create an innovative and interactive festival that repurposes a vacant urban space through the exhibition of local artists, musicians, dancers, videographers, designers, businesses, and technologies. After 3 successful annual festivals, ArtAwake has totaled over 5,000 attendees and has featured over 500 pieces by 300+ artists, performances by 50+ groups, delicious local foods, and a myriad of interactive exhibits. The 4th Annual ArtAwake will take place on Saturday, April 16th 2011 from 3pm - 1am at the Alliance Building on 183 E. Main St. Congratulations, Derek!

Professor Creech presents Research in Progress

Professor Jennifer Creech will be presenting on her research, Scenes from a Marriage: Gender, Voice & Romance in East German Film. Her presentation will be in the Gamble Room in Rush Rhees LIbrary on March 3rd, 2011 at 2:00 pm. For more information, contact the Department of Modern Languages and Culture at 585-275-4251.

Linguistics Professor Carlson Explains Super Bowl Ads

Professor Greg Carlson doesn't just watch, chuckle, cringe at, and rank Super Bowl ads like the rest of us - he teaches them. Since 1994, the University of Rochester linguist has used the annual advertising extravaganza as a teaching tool in his popular language and advertising class. In fact, Carlson is so indebted to the fresh crop of ads during the big game that he only schedules the class during the spring semester. "There is no other time of year when advertising is so much in the news," says Carlson. And, serendipitously, the game falls within the first few weeks of the semester. The class analyzes the advertisers' linguistic tricks. For example, is the wording ambiguous, leading you initially in one direction, then surprising you with a different message? To read the rest of this article, go here.

Printmaker Amos Kennedy Jr. Visits the University of Rochester

The Genesee Center for Arts and Education in partnership with the University of Rochester's Frederick Douglass Institute, Department of Art and Art History, and the Film and Media Studies Program will present a screening and talkback of "Proceed and Be Bold." This film is about printmaker, Amos Kennedy Jr. Letterpress printing may not be well-known to the world, but hanging up your suit and tie to pursue a creative passion is something most people have dreamed about at one point or another. Amos did just that at the age of 40, trading in his computer and comfortable salary for a letter press... and the life of - what he calls - "a humble negro printer". Get to know this provocative artist through a series of FREE movie screenings and talk backs, workshops, and poster exhibits. On Friday, January 14th, "Proceed and Be Bold" will be screened with a talkback with Mr. Kennedy in the Gowen Room in Wilson Commons. This event begins at 5:00 p.m. with a reception to follow in the Art and Music Library in Rush Rhees Library. For more information about this event and others during Mr. Kennedy's visit, check out the Genesee Center for the Arts and Education website here.

Warhol Scholar Douglas Crimp to Complete Memoir

Warhol Scholar Douglas Crimp to Complete Memoir

Professor Douglas Crimp, Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History and Professor of Visual and Cultural Studies, received a grant for $45,000 from The Creative Capital /Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program to complete his memoir, Before Pictures. The book is an account of his first ten years in New York City, 1967-1977. The Creative Capital /Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program awards project-based grants to authors of articles, blogs, books, and alternative media that enhance Warhol's legacy and support contemporary and visual arts. Crimp's memoir received one of this year's highest grants, which range from $3,000 to $45,000. By combining personal stories and critical theory, both past and present, Before Pictures will explore the events in Crimp's life in New York before the "Pictures" show at Artists Space in 1977, for which he became known around the world. Read the full announcement here.

Creech Article Wins Prize

Professor Jennifer Creech has been awarded the Women in German Best Article Prize for "A Few Good Men: Gender, Ideology and Narrative Politics in "The Lives of Others" and "Good Bye, Lenin!" which was published in Women in German Yearbook (2009). One of the categories for the award is that the work must present original new research that makes a significant contribution to the field of feminist German studies. The committee wrote in the prize announcement that "the esssay implies a sophisticated understanding of feminist analysis and contributes to the advancement of feminist theory in German Studies." Congratulations, Professor Creech!

FMS Director Willis Featured In FDI Series

On Thursday, October 7, 2010, Film and Media Studies Director, Sharon Willis will discuss "Keeping It "Real": Media Memory in Kasi Lemmons' TALK TO ME". This discussion seminar will take place in the Hawkins Carlson seminar room at 12:30 p.m. It is part of the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies "Works in Progress" Seminar Series. A copy of Sharon Willis' paper can be requested via e-mail or is available in the Institute. For more information about this or other offerings in the series, contact the Institute at (585)276-5744, or via e-mail: You can also visit the FDI websitehere.

Bernardi Speaks About Film Preservation

Joanne Bernardi, associate professor of Japanese culture and film and media studies, explains how the study of film preservation leads to a better understanding of the social, cultural and historical value of motion pictures and national film cinemas. Bernardi's research and courses include subjects such as Godzilla and Japanese animation. To watch the video, click here. This clip was filmed in the University's new TV studio in Carol Simon Hall.

Filmmaker Presents Tea On The Axis of Evil

On Wednesday, September 22, 2010, filmmaker Jean Marie Offenbacher visited the University of Rochester to present her film, Tea on the Axis of Evil. This award-winning film about "REAL life in Syria" was presented by Offenbacher in Sloan Auditorium in Robert B. Goergen Hall on the River Campus and included a question and answer period following the screening. A reception followed in the Munnerlyn Atrium. This event was co-sponsored by the Department of Religion and Classics, the Program for Visual and Cultural Studies, the Department of Anthropology and the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies.

Gollin Festival Winner Featured

Third prize winner in the 5th Annual Gollin Film Festival, JoHannah Kohl, was featured in a story in The Daily News. You can read the story at The Daily News Online.

Film Lost and Found: The Experience of Pre- and Silent Cinema

Combining the resources of the University of Rochester, George Eastman House, and Eastman School of Music, this project promotes new developments in scholarship about the experience of early twentieth century visual culture, through an understanding of the relationship between films, technology, presentation and historical context. Four days of public events (at each of the three collaborating institutions) will include a demonstration of the original nickelodeon experience; two film programs at George Eastman House's Dryden Theater, one each from the silent (with live musical accompaniment) and early sound periods; and a magic lantern event showcasing pre-cinema viewing practices and material culture of the nineteenth century. Supporting events include a discussion on film music, a demonstration of nitrate film material and discussions on film handling, conservation, and collection cataloging and access by members of the Eastman House Motion Picture Department; and a tour of the Motion Picture Department and the Technology Collection. Event dates: March 18-21, 2010. Click here to read the complete overview of this Humanities Project.

Bernardi Presents at Colloquium Hosted by Beloit College

Professor Joanne Bernardi presented material from her Tourist Japan course at the Bringing Asian Arts and Material Culture Into the Undergraduate Curriculum colloquium at Beloit College. The conference which took place September 25th and 26th was supported by a grant from the Freeman Foundation. Bernardi's course is based on current research for a book on Japan as a tourist destination in the early 20th century. It includes research on home movies, travel films, souvenir and educational films about Japan. To view an abbreviated syllabus and powerpoint presentation, look here. The links can be found under the information for Panel 1.

Middleton Essay in Cinema Journal

Cinema Journal (2010) will publish Professor Jason Middleton's essay, "The Subject of Torture: Regarding the Pain of Americans in Hostel." Middleton is an assistant professor of English.

Creech Article Published

Jennifer Creech, assistant professor of German has published "A Few Good Men: Gender, Ideology and Narrative Politics in The Lives of Others and Goodbye, Lenin!" in Women in German Yearbook 25 (October 2009): 100-26.

Filmmaker Scheffner presents The Halfmoon Files

"There once was a man. This man came into the European war. Germany captured this man. He wishes to return to India. If God has mercy, he will make peace soon. This man will go away from here." Mall Singh's crackling words are heard as he spoke into the phonographic funnel on 11th December 1916 in the city of Wünsdorf, near Berlin. 90 years later, Mall Singh is a number on an old Shellac record in an archive - one amongst hundreds of voices of colonial soldiers of the First World War. The recordings were produced as the result of an unique alliance between the military, the scientific community and the entertainment industry. In his experimental search "The Halfmoon Files", Philip Scheffner follows the traces of these voices to the origin of their recording.

Filmmaker Philip Scheffner presented his award-winning film, The Halfmoon Files, on October 28th. The event included a question and answer period followed by a reception with the filmmaker. Sponsored by the Film and Media Studies Program, the Visual and Cultural Studies Program and the Mellon Foundation. For more on this film, see The Halfmoon Files site.

Jason Middleton Receives Teaching Award

Jason Middleton, assistant professor of English has received the 2009 G. Graydon '58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Nontenured Member of the Faculty. Middleton, known for his dynamic teaching style and the wide-ranging knowledge that he brings to the classroom also programs an annual series of experimental films at the Visual Studies Workshop. Here is the complete announcement about Commencement 2009 Teaching Awards.

Jason Middleton

Douglas Crimp, recipient of Visual AIDS Vanguard Award

On May 11, 2009, Professor Douglas Crimp was presented with the Visual AIDS Vanguard Award. Also honored were Nayland Blake and Hunter Reynolds. The Vanguard Award is presented to individuals who have made a commitment to HIV/AIDS advocacy, education, prevention, and their support of artists with HIV/AIDS. The award is presented as part of Visual AIDS Spring Benefit which takes place at a bowling alley. Founded in 1988, as a response to AIDS and as a way of organizing the art world towards direct action, Visual AIDS has evolved a two-part mission.

1) Through the Frank Moore Archive Project, the largest slide library of work by artists living with HIV and the estates of artists who have died of AIDS, Visual AIDS historicizes artists' contributions while supporting their ability to continue making art and furthering their professional careers.

2) In collaboration with artists and organizations, Visual AIDS produces contemporary art exhibitions, publications, and events to spread the message "AIDS IS NOT OVER." For more information about Visual AIDS, click here.


Crimp is the Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History and a Professor of Visual and Cultural Studies.


Douglas Crimp receives Visual AIDS Vanguard Award

"Film as Object" Featured

Professor Joanne Bernardi's new course, "Film as Object" is the subject of a story in the latest issue of Currents. Titled "The 'Thingness' of Film", the article details the unique collaboration between the University and The George Eastman House. Read the whole story here.

Greg Carlson elected editor of Language

Greg Carlson, professor of linguistics, philosophy, and brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, has been elected the editor of Language, the official journal of the Linguistic Society of America, the largest professional linguistics organization in the world. Carlson's seven-year term began January 11, 2009. Read the full announcement.

UR Professor Talks Film Preservation on WXXI

Professor Joanne Bernardi and Jeff Stoiber of the Selznick School of Film Preservation talk about film preservation with Bob Smith on WXXI's 1370 Connection.

Selznick Graduate Program featured on WHAM TV Morning Show

Professors Joanne Bernardi and Patrick Loughney on the WHAM TV morning show talking about the Selznick Film Preservation program and the collaboration between the University of Rochester and the George Eastman House.

Selznick Graduate Program featured on WHAM TV Morning Show