Join us for the Inaugural Summer
of the St. John’s College Film Institute

Sunday, June 15–Friday, August 8, 2014
Santa Fe

What is the St. John's College Film Institute?

Great movies are works of visual poetry. As with other forms of poetry, our understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of movies can be deepened and enhanced by learning how to see (and read) them better. Seeing isn’t simply a matter of opening one’s eyes. True seeing is a cultivated skill, like eloquence in speech and reasoning in thought. We can learn to see better by increasing our awareness of and sensitivity to what we are looking at. And because seeing is a form of experiencing the world around us, the better we become at seeing, the richer our experience of the world becomes. In the tradition of St. John’s thoughtful attention to and careful reading of the great books, the St. John’s College Film Institute is dedicated to cultivating the skills necessary to become better readers of great movies. Over the course of the summer we will develop a number of approaches to the study of film, including consideration and discussion of plot, narrative structure, storyline, character development, and such technical aspects of filmmaking as shots, cuts, framing, lighting, sound, editing, camera angle, set design, acting, directing, and screenplay writing.

What kind of classes will we have?

The Film Institute will include three main components:

  • Seminars and tutorials on movies by eight major directors, supplemented by important works of film criticism and theory.
  • Evening screenings of the films under discussion in our seminars and tutorials.
  • Morning lectures, talks, discussions, and workshops with experts and professionals in the filmmaking industry.

What will we watch? What will we read?

A complete schedule of the eight-week seminar and tutorial program is attached below. Each week focuses on the work of a single major director from the history of international cinema between 1922 and 1975. Tutorials are devoted to additional discussions of the films in light of works of criticism, reviews, and analysis written either by the directors themselves or by major critics, film theorists, historians,  and philosophers.

  • The following texts, required for all participants, are available in the college bookstore:
  • The Film Institute Reader (packet of readings available in the bookstore)
  • Paul Schrader, Transcendental Style in Film
  • Jean Renoir, My Life and My Films
  • Ingmar Bergman, The Magic Lantern
  • Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time

How big are the classes? Who will teach them?

The seminars and tutorials will be limited to a maximum of 20 students. All classes will be led by regular St. John’s faculty. No adjunct faculty or teaching assistants will be responsible for any classroom instruction. However, talks, conversations, and workshops, in addition to the regularly scheduled seminars and tutorials, will be led by guest speakers, specialists, and industry professionals on a wide range of topics related to filmmaking and the film industry.

What is the class schedule?

Seminars: Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 3:30–5:30 p.m.
Tutorials: Tuesday/Thursday, 3:45–5:15 p.m.
Evening screenings available throughout the week; additional talks, conversations, and workshops from 10a.m.–noon throughout the summer

How much does it cost? How do I apply?

Tuition for the 8-week program is $4,900. College stipends for current students are available.

A $500 deposit is needed to secure your place, due two weeks after your acceptance. This deposit will go toward cost of tuition. The deadline for the full tuition payment is April 4, 2014.

To apply, please fill out our application form. Once complete, please send this form and your statement to If you prefer, you may also download our standard application, fill it out, and mail to: Film Institute, c/o the Graduate Office, St. John’s College, 1160 Camino de la Cruz Blanca, Santa Fe NM 87505.

The initial call for applications for the St. John’s Film Institute has met with a wonderful response. To accommodate the many requests for additional opportunities to participate, we have started a waiting list of participants for a second section of the Film Institute. This new section will also be open to part-time participants: people interested in taking only the seminar or the tutorial segments of the Institute, or people only able to attend for some portion of the full eight-week course. Pricing will be adjusted accordingly. The application deadline for this new section of the Film Institute is April 11, and the deadline for full tuition is May 1. Contact Zoe Haskell at to apply.

On-campus housing is available. Because the dormitories do not have kitchens, our housing package includes a meal plan. Depending on the meal plan you select, the housing total will be $2356–$2724. Keep in mind that these amounts are subject to minor changes.

Schedule of Seminars and Tutorials

Week One: F. W. Murnau (June 1521)
Films (M, W, F): Nosferatu (1922); The Last Laugh (1924); Sunrise (1927)
Texts (T, Th): Bela Balasz, Theory of the Film (selections)     

Week Two: Carl Theodor Dreyer (June 2228)
Films (M, W, F) The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928); Vampyr (1932); Ordet (1955)     
Texts (T, Th): Plato, "Allegory of the Cave"; Paul Schrader, Transcendental Style in Cinema, pp. 3-13, 111-147

Week Three: Jean Renoir (June 29July 5)
Films (M, W, F): Nana (1926); Rules of the Game (1939)
Texts (T, Th.): Jean Renoir, My Life and My Films (selections)

Week Four: Yasujiro Ozu (July 612)
Films (M, W, F): “I Was Born, but . . .” ” (1932); Late Spring (1949); Tokyo Story (1953)
Texts (T, Th.): Paul Schrader, Transcendental Style in Cinema, pp. 17-55, 151-169

Week Five: John Ford (July 1319)
Films (M, W, F): Stagecoach (1939); The Searchers (1956); The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Texts (T, Th.): essays by Andre Bazin and Robert Warshow

Week Six: Robert Bresson (July 2026)
Films (M, W, F): Diary of a Country Priest (1951); Pickpocket (1959); Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
Texts (T, Th.): Robert Bresson, Notes on the Cinematographer; Paul Schrader, Transcendental Style in Cinema, pp. 59-108

Week Seven: Ingmar Bergman (July 27August 2)
Films (M, W, F): Smiles of a Summer Night (1955); Wild Strawberries (1957); Persona (1966)
Texts (T, Th.): Ingmar Bergman, The Magic Lantern (selections)

Week Eight: Andrei Tarkovsky (August 38)
Films (M, W, F): Andrei Rublev (1966); Mirror (1975)
Texts (T, Th.): Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time (selections)