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Unit information: Experimental Film in 2021/22

Unit name Experimental Film
Unit code FATV20016
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Mr. Piazza
Open unit status Not open

FATV10001 Filmmaking Fundamentals



School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit explores the aesthetic forms and thematic concerns of experimental film. Experimental film spans a wide range of practices from artists' moving image to expanded cinema to found footage to installation-based film-performance. It tends to abandon an emphasis on narrative, instead focusing on film as a medium with its own distinctive aesthetic, material, philosophical or political powers.

Experimental films and ideas they have generated have played a vital role in the history of cinema, offering a space for filmmakers and artists to explore ideas of what cinema can be, how it creates its effects, and how it can challenge and disrupt established norms. This unit examines such issues through the study of: key experimental filmmakers, such as Maya Deren and Michael Snow; different forms that experimental film has taken, such as credit sequences and gallery installations; different ways in which experimental film engages with key film concepts, such as realism, ideology and spectatorship; and the interrelation of experimental film with other artistic forms, such as poetry, performance and painting.

The unit develops its exploration of experimental film around a practical project where students make a short film or related screen work informed by the various potentials of experimental film.


  1. To explore and understand the aesthetic, material, cultural, conceptual, and political potential of experimental film;
  2. To situate experimental film in wider contexts of culture, art and society;
  3. To employ the aesthetic, material, cultural, conceptual, and political aspects of experimental film;
  4. To create an experimental film, from concept to final film;
  5. To demonstrate through writing a research-focused understanding of relationships between theories and practices of experimental film.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of experimental film as an aesthetic, cultural, conceptual, and political form;
  2. Engage in a detailed and informed fashion with the theoretical contexts of experimental film forms and practices;
  3. Identity and employ key elements of experimental film;
  4. Articulate an understanding of the aesthetic, cultural, conceptual, and political aspects of a filmmaking project and translate this into practice;
  5. Communicate an understanding of how aesthetic/formal decisions relate to experimental film’s theoretical, aesthetic and/or historical contexts.

Teaching Information

Weekly seminar/workshop, lecture, and screening.

Assessment Information

100% Practical Portfolio, equivalent to 4000 words


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. FATV20016).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.