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Liz Bishop talks about fourth year (King's)

A day in the life

Liz Bishop talks about fourth year (King's)

liz bishop_film studies_profile

It’s definitely a wonderful minor to take, especially if you tend to watch a lot of films—you’ll see them in a completely different light. More people need to take it so it’s taken more seriously. Sometimes film doesn’t get the same credit as other liberal arts.

The culture of film

Originally from Wolfville, N.S., Liz Bishop has lived in Halifax since starting her degree at the University of King’s College. After changing her major a couple of times, Liz took some time off, coming back when she heard Dal offered a Film Studies minor. “I really enjoyed the first course,” Liz says. “Far more than what I’d been studying previously.”

That course was Film Theory: Desire and Cinema, which cemented her interest in pursuing the Film Studies minor. “The professor, Shannon Brownlee, was very passionate about everything she was doing,” Liz explains.

“And I thought the main project was interesting,” she continues. “We had to create an object—but there were no boundaries.” Liz’s project was about the film Chocolat. “It’s set up to really affect you to like chocolate, so I made chocolates and brought them into class, to breach the space between the film and the viewer,” she explains. “Being able to do something other than a paper was neat—it engaged me in a way other classes hadn’t done before.”

In the winter 2011 term, she was able to take two film classes at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD): History and Criticism of Documentary Films and a special topics class on the films of Alfred Hitchcock. “I fell in love with Hitchcock’s films—they’re so well-done, so beautifully made.”

Taking courses at NSCAD meant being “with students in other disciplines, like filmmakers, photographers, and sculptors. It was a unique experience,” she says. “And it was cool to get different perspectives from the arts, not just academia.”

Film courses also opened her eyes to how her major, Sociology and Social Anthropology (SoSA), relates to the Film Studies minor. For one thing, “We watch a lot of documentary films in anthropology courses.”

Also, assignments—such as her paper on Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times—allowed Liz to think about film as a medium for examining culture. “Chaplin was an anthropologist in his own way,” she explains, “He was British, which gave him an objective and comedic perspective on American culture.”

Popular Cinema, also with Dr. Shannon Brownlee, was a “fun course—I found it very interesting. It exposed me to cinema I didn’t know about before, like Hong Kong and Bollywood.”

When she tells people what she’s studying, they often say, “Oh, are you making films?” Liz laughs. “I have to explain I’m studying the films themselves as text instead of how to make them.”