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Steve Mamber

Professor Emeritus
Research Professor

Stephen Mamber is a research professor in the Cinema and Media Studies Program of the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media. His digital media courses include the seminars Issues in Electronic Culture, Computer Applications for Film Studies and Videogame Theory. His film courses include classes on narrative theory, visual analysis, and directors and genres, among others.

Mamber’s most recent work is Frederick Wiseman: A Journal.

Mamber is the author of the free app ClipNotes, for iPad and Windows 10, and the free Mac version, ClipNoter. Useful for individual study, teaching or presentation, ClipNotes and ClipNoter provide a way to help retrieve pre-selected segments of any film or video and show them together with your descriptions while the segments are showing.

Mamber’s Who Shot Liberty Valance? is available as a free iPad app in the iOS App Store. The app is an experimental study of the classic 1962 John Ford film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and advances an argument about new ways to consider it. The app includes opportunities to simultaneously explore selected key segments, as well as some magnified views, 3D models and diagrams. Annotated selections from 50 years of scholarly writing about the film are also included.

Mamber’s third app, 7 Thursdays: Looking at Brief Encounter, is also available in the iOS App Store. This is the next in a series looking at films with unusual time structures (Liberty Valance is the first). This is an experimental study of the great 1946 David Lean film and invites new ways to consider it. The app includes opportunities to simultaneously explore selected key segments, as well as a week-by-week accounting of how space is used in the repeated scenes in the tea room set, using 3-D models and clips from the film. References to time and some scholarship about the film are also presented.

Mamber’s fourth app (and the next in this series looking at films with unusual time structures), is The Seventh Race: Kubrick at the Starting Gate, completed in July 2018 and also available in the iOS App Store. It is a study of the 1955 Stanley Kubrick film The Killing. Like the others in this series, the app includes a variety of ways to explore the film’s complex construction, as well as much commentary and scholarship, along with some charts and 3D maps. And if you don’t know how Lenny Bruce, Rodney Dangerfield, and Frank Sinatra have connections to this film, here’s your chance to find out.

Mamber has been active in the digital media arena for several decades. He started out writing a variety of tools and applications, principally exploring the possibilities of using digital media for film analysis, and has gone on to design multimedia applications and web sites. He has been a visiting research scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Center in New York and has served as a National IBM Consulting Scholar. His work has been supported by a MacArthur Foundation grant and by the Intel Research Council. 

His publications include Cinema Verite in America: Studies in Uncontrolled Documentary (MIT Press), as well as numerous articles and chapters on film and new media subjects. He has also been the editor of Cinema magazine, and is a recipient of an Associated Press Golden Mike Award for his film criticism on Pacifica Radio. 

Mamber’s current activities outside the classroom include developing video database applications; experimenting with single-board microcontroller Arduino and other electronic devices for use in multimedia projects; and creating video-related apps for iOS devices and other platforms. 

In addition to teaching at UCLA TFT, Mamber has taught at Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Literature, Communication, and Culture; in the Interactive Media Program at the University of Southern California, and at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He has also been an adjunct faculty member at the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver and taught several online courses there.

Mamber received his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, where he double majored in mathematics and dramatic art. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. Additionally, he was a Fellow at the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film Studies and is a founding member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

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