Applications now open: Social Transformation Certificate Program--deadline 8 January, 2024
Film as a Vehicle for Contributing to the Betterment of Society

Independent Sections
7 weeks
Weekly Study
Mar 22-May 9
Register By
March 27, 2023

"Film is the art form to create social change. You see something that excites you or enrages you while watching something outside of yourself, and that spurs you to become more engaged. Cinema has the ability to change someone’s perspective."

--Brittany Dobish, Artistic Director of The Nightlight Cinema, Akron, Ohio

Beyond providing entertainment, films are also an important means of cultural communication and have the capacity to serve as a vehicle for the betterment of society. When audiences experience a film, they may awaken to a range of varying emotions and develop an enlightened awareness of differing human experiences. But what framework has been created by the filmmakers of the past and present, and how have the ideologies presented in their films influenced the direction of social change?

In a 2018 statement from the Bahá’í International Community, it is noted that “Humanity has employed countless conceptual models throughout its history, their various elements contributing to progress in some instances and hindering it in others. But regardless of what has come before, it is clear that the transformational change required today calls for new vantage points from which to explore challenges, assess realities, and imagine solutions. We must therefore be prepared to assess – and if necessary, revise – the assumptions that have shaped the current international order and structures of society.”

In this course we will explore the potential that film has to shape cultural attitudes and contribute to social change while also examining some of the common underlying assumptions made by content creators that have influenced that change, both positively and negatively.

What will you learn?
You will learn
To explore the language of cinema, how films influence us and what we learn from them.
To recognize the subliminal impact of films and the role they play in shaping public consciousness.
To recognize the presence of propaganda in film and its influence in society.
To explore the underlying assumptions content creators make about the types of films that should be made (ie the concept of our human nature, audience expectations, etc.).
To recognize messages in non-Baha’i produced films that support the Baha’i perspective.
To explore examples of Baha’i produced media (individual initiative films vs films commissioned by the institutions).
To compare and contrast common standards and practices in Hollywood with the particular aspects of Baha’i produced art, such as production environments, approach to film content and form and the role of review (ie. accuracy, research, biography, etc.).
To envision the future of media.
To identify what emerging filmmakers can keep in mind to break away from the common assumptions and practices made by those that came before them.
To build the capacity to engage in public discourse around the above themes.
Meet Your Faculty
Anne Perry, PhD
Professor, The Art Institute of Dallas

After two interdisciplinary MA degrees, I pursued my PhD in Aesthetic Studies, with a focus on both art and religion. I teach writing, humanities, and film and art appreciation at the Art Institute of Dallas and two community colleges, as well as serving as an instructor for the Wilmette Institute.... See Faculty Bio

Christina Wright, MPhil
Cinema Studies Instructor and Screenwriter

I hold a Master of Philosophy in Film Theory & History from Trinity College Dublin, a Bachelors in Drama from San Francisco State University and an Associates in Speech Communications from Foothill College. I also earned certificates in Social Emotional Arts from UCLArts&Healing, Character Development Education from University of San... See Faculty Bio

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