The Mediascape Q&A: Stephen Mamber, Professor, Cinema and Media Studies

The Mediascape Q&A is a series of interviews designed to explore the work of UCLA faculty and graduate students beyond the classroom.


Dr. Stephen Mamber

Matthias Stork: Could you tell us about your academic background? Where did you go to school and what first drew you to studying media, specifically film?

Stephen Mamber: I was an undergraduate at Berkley, where I had a double major in Math and Drama because there wasn’t a film program there yet, but I took a class from Ernest Callenbach, who was the editor of Film Quarterly at the time, and that really affected me greatly. And it occurred to me somewhere in my junior year that film might be something to actually be able to study. I came down here to Los Angeles that summer and took a couple of classes from Howard Suber, and that really struck a chord with me. And from then on I knew I wanted to study film. My timing was good, I guess. This was the late ’60s, early ’70s, and I came down here for my master’s degree and fell in with some interesting people. One of my best friends while I was a graduate student was Paul Schrader, who was a year ahead of me. We went to the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film Studies. He was in the first-year group of fellows. It was a different kind of place back then. It was at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills and they took 10 people every year. In the second year, partly through his encouragement, I applied and got in. So I was in the group that included Terry Malick and David Lynch and various other people who turned out to be very talented filmmakers. It was an amazing experience then too because they were bringing in every great filmmaker you could imagine. One week it would be Rossellini and the next week it would be Jack Benny, the week after it’d be Alfred Hitchcock, it was like every major name. So I just thought this was heaven and this was what I wanted to do. Continue reading “The Mediascape Q&A: Stephen Mamber, Professor, Cinema and Media Studies” »

The Mediascape Q&A: Chon Noriega, Professor, Cinema and Media Studies

The Mediascape Q&A is a series of interviews designed to explore the work of UCLA faculty and graduate students beyond the classroom.


Dr. Chon Noriega

Matthias Stork: Since I have not yet had the pleasure to take a class with you, Professor Noriega, could you briefly explain what it is exactly that you do in the department? And additionally, could you illuminate some of your past and current research projects?

Chon Noriega: OK. I’ve been a faculty member in the Cinema and Media Studies program for 20 years now. And for the last 10 years I’ve also been directing the Chicano Studies Research Center, which currently accounts for about half of my time, primarily on the teaching side. I am still a full-time faculty member, in terms of service, in terms of student advising. But on the teaching side, it’s been reduced, although in 2011-12 I agreed to do a startup on our Colloquium. So, I taught five courses that year, and three of them were the Colloquium. The idea for the Colloquium was to create an intellectual commons where the faculty and the graduate students could come together to learn about new research by students, faculty in the program, faculty across the campus, and visiting scholars. But it was also designed as a forum for town halls to discuss programmatic issues related to the M.A. or the Ph.D. curriculum. I’m in the process of assessing this experiment right now, to understand whether we actually accomplished what we set out to do and how it could continue. In terms of my teaching, I try to balance it between doing core courses in the program and then the electives on the graduate side. In the past I’ve also taught undergraduate courses. The one I really like is “The History of African, Asian, and Latin American Cinema.” And I think, with the exception of Teshome Gabriel, I’ve been one of the few people that actually teaches all three regions rather than emphasizing just one of them. Continue reading “The Mediascape Q&A: Chon Noriega, Professor, Cinema and Media Studies” »

The Mediascape Q&A: Allyson Field, Assistant Professor, Cinema and Media Studies

The Mediascape Q&A is a series of interviews designed to explore the work of UCLA faculty and graduate students beyond the classroom.


Dr. Allyson Field (center) with CMS Ph.D. candidate Samantha Sheppard (l) and Dr. Jacqueline Stewart of Northwestern University (r) at an L.A. Rebellion event, December 2011.

Dr. Allyson Field (center) with CMS Ph.D. candidate Samantha Sheppard (l) and Dr. Jacqueline Stewart of Northwestern University (r) at an L.A. Rebellion event, December 2011.

Matthias Stork: All right, here we go. The first question: what first drew you to studying film?

Allyson Field: [Laughs] Oh, wow, OK. I have to think way back. Well, I began studying film as an undergraduate. I was an art history major at Stanford. And Stanford’s one of the very few art history programs that doesn’t have a critical animosity towards film as a medium, and so it seemed very natural for me. I was interested in 20th-century art, mostly painting and theory. And I was interested in limits of representation, and then I started taking film classes with some professors when I was an undergrad, most notably Scott Bukatman when he came to Stanford when I was a junior, and then Pamela Lee and then some classes in the French department with Jean-Marie Apostolidès on political filmmaking in France. And then I ended up writing my senior thesis on Jean-Luc Godard and Guy Debord as political filmmakers. I was really interested in theoretical questions about representation of politics and questions of modernity answered through film, and so I started in art history but I was really gravitating towards film studies. When I graduated, I ended up applying to the University of Amsterdam to work with Thomas Elsaesser, and there I started working more on film. So I guess that’s the trajectory to film through art history. And then it wasn’t really until much later that I realized that looking at or studying film within the context of art history was really uncommon, that it had been a discipline that really emerged out of literary criticism or language departments. I was very privileged to be able to study film with a background in formal analysis but also theory, and that bode well for future studies, I guess. It’s a very different trajectory than I think a lot of people who either come to film from literature or come to film from industrial studies ever encounter. I was studying film as art, focusing on the avant-garde and then that post-’60s experimental filmmaking, but it was really not until much later that I kind of understood film as an industry, or as an object of industrial concern as well. Continue reading “The Mediascape Q&A: Allyson Field, Assistant Professor, Cinema and Media Studies” »