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    CCS Course Review: 3 Credits in 12 Days: A Filmic Experience Done Right

    Stony Brook University held its 16th Annual Film Festival at the Staller Center.  (Yoon Seo Nam / The Statesman)
    Stony Brook University held its 16th Annual Film Festival at the Staller Center. (Yoon Seo Nam / The Statesman)

    The accomplishment of earning three credits in 12 days is a perk of one of Stony Brook’s newest summer courses, CCS 204, where movie-watching is a requirement. Entitled, “The Stony Brook Film Festival: Films and Contexts,” CCS 204 is an interactive course offered by the Cinema and Cultural Studies department, throughout which students are required to attend the film festival while also attending class, doing reading assignments and maintaining a journal about their experience.

    On a typical day, students go to class from 3:30 to 6 p.m. and then attend the festival to watch a total of two short films and two feature length films from 7 to 11:30 p.m. It is also recommended that students attend the festival’s opening and closing night receptions, during which students can meet and mingle with film industry professionals from actors to producers.

    CCS 204 is the brainchild of Jacqueline Reich, the undergraduate program director of Stony Brook’s Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies department, CLCS. CCS 204 was developed by Reich and graduate student Hans Staats after they met with Alan Inkles, Julie Greene and Patrick Kelly, the director, marketing director and director of management at Staller Center, respectively.

    Reich and Staats succeeded in designing and implementing a course that was “equal parts classroom and hands-on,” said Staats.

    Gareth Burghes, a senior majoring in marine science and theater arts, took the course this summer and agrees.

    “The best thing about the class is that you get to meet the filmmakers,” Burghes said. “That’s an opportunity…You only need one link to climb up the chain…It’s easily the most beneficial thing.”

    Burghes, who is also the president of Stony Brook’s Pocket Theater, took CCS 204 to fulfill one of the university’s DEC requirements. Despite his interest in film and his activity in the Stony Brook theater community, Burghes had not taken a CCS course until this summer.  He is glad that he has had the opportunity now, he said.

    “It’s a good environment that doesn’t negate anybody’s point especially with movies where anything could be a point,” Burghes said.

    But here’s the biased, subjective truth: I am a CCS major, a writer for the Statesman and the author of this article. I have taken this course and met these people, and following is my own experience:

    I went to parties and after-parties where I met foreign actors and directors and partook in events from hanging out in hotel rooms listening to universal beats to discussing Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” in pre-dawn hours on cracked lawns with fellow admirers of Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan. I managed to have a classmate’s car and not the classmate and also accidentally insult actors while obtaining business cards. In twelve days, I managed to fall in love with a stranger to the extent that I penned a rough draft of a short film about the emotional stunt. Seeking the community experience of a film festival, I set out to find it, and I did. So, my advice to any of the thousands of Stony Brook students who might be interested in three credits in 12 days, is to take the course and enjoy the cinematic ride – if they can handle it.

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