Ten years ago, the English Department at UPRM had one fledgling film studies course supplemented by film-related course content here and there and the inevitable film content in modern language courses. Ten years later and the English Dept. offers a film studies certificate and is at the apex of a budding DIY-Media and independent film-making scene that is dreaming big despite humble beginnings. As an alumnus of that fledgling course, I’m curious, and I hope you are as well, about how this all came about and about what Digital Humanities thinking can contribute to take this momentum to the next level. In this session, I’d like to introduce Professor Mary Leonard, who spearheaded this movement – an academic and community-building project that has DH written all over it. Bear in mind, we might ask you as many questions as you ask us – and you better ask Mary lots of questions!
On the subject, from Dr. Mary Leonard:
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the idea of how one can nurture a local film culture, perhaps we could call it a film ecosystem since it’s not just about watching films or about making them. So how about using the word ecosystem since it’s all about doing everything at the same time: to create a complete, balanced, and fertile environment that contributes to developing filmmakers and a film audience and simultaneously fomenting a creative/intellectual environment and a viable economic structure conducive to making film. The overall goal is to develop a complete film culture that is interesting, idiosyncratic, and appropriate for this particular place where we live, and above all sustainable and productive over time.