Film Studies

Film Studies at the University of Paderborn

The Department for Media Studies in Paderborn is one of the few university departments in Germany which offers film studies as an independent discipline in exchange with, but distinct from media studies. Consideration and reflection upon the specific materiality of film and its effects on perception are one of its main focuses, as well as engagement with cinema as public sphere. The department has a cinema seminar room, projection equipment and a 16mm editing table for viewing and research purposes as well as filmmaking practice. Three archives within the department (one for educational films, one for experimental films, one for home movies) provide access to film prints and enable regular in-class 16mm and super 8 projections.


General aims:

Film Studies discuss the specificity of the medium in relation to cinema as an economic institution, its importance and historicity as a mass medium, its commercial as well as independent forms of production and distribution. Film studies are taught as cinema studies. Apart from examining authors and genres, reception contexts, perceptual dimensions, ideological formations, formal analysis, socio-historical and aesthetic evaluation of films, we are interested in theoretical frameworks for the social significance of film and cinema.

Main Focuses:

Film (including television film) on different material carriers and in different transmission modes (such as celluloid, magnetic tape, DVD or download) forms an aesthetic entity as well as it is significant as a form of communication. Film studies examine these dimensions in relation to and exchange with allied disciplines (such as sociology, art history, semiotics) and analyze interdependencies between technological and social processes.

In order to allow students to develop a faculty for appreciating media differences, courses are often developed in close co-operation with the independent student cinema initiative LICHTBLICK e.V., which offers regular 35mm screenings in the local movie theater. In addition to DVD and Video, 16mm archival and rental prints are shown in regular classroom screenings.


The facilities of film and media studies together provide tools and instruction to complement courses in theory with (semi-)professional film equipment for close analysis, practical work or the examination and diagnosis of various states of physicality and forms of deteriorations of film material. This hands-on experience enables students to develop sensitivity for characteristic qualities of film as medium in its material and aesthetic particularity.


Course offerings include:
•    Introduction to film studies
•    Social conditions and cultural history of genres and film styles
•    Classical and modern film theory
•    Feminist film theory
•    History of film and film historiography
•    Television theories
Excursions to film festivals (such as Duisburger Filmwoche, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Il Cinema Ritrovato/Bologna and Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin) are offered every term.