New York Cinema History Site Workshop


NFLM 3046/CRN 7198

Instructor: Melissa Friedline (School of Media Studies)

Bachelor’s Program for Adults and Transfer Students

Fridays 4:00 - 5:50 pm (offered in Spring 2015)


Explores the deep history of early American film industry and craft in the boroughs of New York City. This workshop focuses on the remaining and invisible traces of the Vitagraph Film Studios that were built around 1907 in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, NY.  By engaging in a researched curatorial project of early silent film production in the neighborhood, students create critical juxtapositions of the era’s dominant cultural values, US film industry history, and changing Brooklyn demographics against the present­day Midwood community.   Considerations of place and questions of preservation from an economic, political and social lens are considered.  Area experts and film preservationists visit (including guests from Urban Memory Project, City Lore, the Vitaphone Project, the Museum of Modern Art, and the New York Public Library) as students additionally research archives and collect oral histories in the neighborhood.  The culmination of the workshop is a 1) student-curated and produced public screening of Vitagraph films for the Midwood community with workshop participants providing commentary and context and, 2) the production of a Midwood film history walking tour mobile app designed by workshop participants.  Class meetings held first 5 weeks on campus and remaining production weeks off-site. Most class sessions will meet at Brooklyn location.


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